Cambodia has suffered many decades of civil war, foreign invasions, and failed elections. The 1970s saw the Khmer Rouge, under the leadership Pol Pot, fight a five-year war to oust Japanese occupiers, only to perpetrate severe crimes against the people of Cambodia. A subsequent ten-year occupation by the Vietnamese resulted in a thirteen-year long civil war.
A series of failed democratic elections since 1993 has helped to ease the suffering of Cambodians, although they remain very impoverished. Since the 1980s they have been subjected to a process of disenfranchisement, through the exploitation of natural resources by local and foreign corporations. Out of a population of 13 million, nearly one third of adults are illiterate, and three quarters live below the poverty line on less than $2 a day.
The people of Cambodia are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in Cambodia  through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
In conjunction with partner organisations, ActionAid has worked with communities in Cambodia since 1993 to improve access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities. With the help of Buddhist monks, it has invested in the training of health workers and the provision of health services. It also invests in the improvement of education facilities, and it has championed the need for poor people to know their rights, and to come together to fight for them.
ActionAid supports micro-finance companies that make small loans and credit available to business start-ups. It also works with community organisations to ensure equitable management of Cambodia's natural resources. At times of natural disaster ActionAid has been on hand to provide emergency relief.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to affect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Cambodia  today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child in Cambodia through the following trusted agencies: