News Archive
May 1, 2017 - The 100 Yen Campaign to Abolish Landmines in Cambodia
A visit to Cambodia in 1998 inspired a group of Peace Boat participants to start the "100 Yen Campaign," when they learned that it cost a mere 100 yen to clear one square metre of land from landmines. Between 2015 and 2016, funds raised by this campaign were used to clear the landmines from Sna Pha Ek Village and build a new elementary school for the residents there. The Sna Pha Ek Village, surrounded by jungle in the northern part of Cambodia, was a major battleground during the Cambodian civil war, and as a result the area was left riddled with landmines. In 2015, the Peace Boat Mine Abolition Campaign (P-MAC) received a request from the village for assistance with building a new elementary school.

P-MAC provided funds raised by the 100 Yen Campaign to assist with the removal of landmines from about 70,000 square metres of land, which was carried out by the local organization Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC). The subsequent year, an elementary school was successfully built on the cleared land. Previously, the only school in the village had no more than two small classrooms, which meant that several children had nowhere to sit during lessons, and some children in the village were unable to attend school due to the lack of space. Since November 1, 2016, when the new school year began, 228 children have attended the new elementary school. Now all children in the village can safely enjoy a proper education.

Sna Pha Ek Village was only recently established in 2005, after many poor migrants from across the country moved to the area in the hope of using the land for agricultural purposes. The area had previously housed military bases from 1986 to 1989, during the Cambodian civil war. It was only after people had migrated to the area that the landmines were discovered. Nevertheless, the villagers expressed that "for us, this village symbolizes hope." They were able to cultivate the land and make a livelihood for their families. P-MAC has been promoting the removal of landmines in Sna Pha Ek Village since 2010, so that its residents can cultivate farmland and live in safety.

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