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Srey Neang: a prosthesis so she can return to school

Health Rehabilitation

Srey Neang's leg was amputated after she was injured by an explosive device at the age of four.

Srey Neang Saisok, aged 13, is in year 8 of her school in the village of Ta Theav in central Cambodia.

Srey Neang Saisok, aged 13, is in year 8 of her school in the village of Ta Theav in central Cambodia. | © Stephen Rae / HI

After being fitted with a prosthesis by HI, the young girl now cycles to school every day and dreams of becoming a doctor.


An explosive device hidden in her uncle’s backyard

A bicycle hurtles along the sandy road that cuts through the banana farms. Every day, Srey Neang puts on her uniform and pedals to her school in the village of Ta Theav, in the center of Cambodia.

"If HI hadn't helped me by providing me with a prosthesis, I would never have been able to go. I wouldn't have been able to study", she explains.

At the age of four, Srey Neang stepped on an explosive device in her uncle's backyard. She remembers having a snack with her cousin and brother and then deciding to go upstairs to see her cousin's cat:  

"As I was climbing the stairs, my leg was blown off in an explosion. I remember my brother running towards me and trying to carry me, but I don't know what happened after that, who took me to hospital". 

Srey Neang’s mother told us that her daughter spent more than a month in hospital after the amputation.

A courageous young girl supporting her family

Srey Neang is the eldest child of a family living in Kampong Thom province. Her parents, who do a lot of jobs, often have to go away and work in other regions. Srey Neang and her four brothers and sisters are regularly looked after by their grandmother.
A young girl fitted with a prothesis is playing football with her sibblings in front of her small house
The young girl works hard, helping her brothers and sisters and taking care of their home. Watering plants, chopping wood, pumping water from the well, washing up... These daily chores require a lot of bending over and straightening up again, which is not always easy for somebody with a prosthesis.

Srey Neang enjoys reading and playing soccer with her family on their little patch of land. But her greatest pleasure is going to school to study alongside her classmates. When she grows up, she would like to become a doctor so that she can take care of others and, above all, "help her loved ones if they fall ill", she explains.

After three decades of conflict, Cambodia is still facing massive contamination from explosive remnants of war. The country needs help to continue its collective efforts to clear explosive ordnance. This year, as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty, Cambodia was elected by the 164 States Parties to chair and host the 5th Review Conference of the Mine Ban Convention, the Siem Reap-Angkor Summit on a Mine-Free World, in November in the cultural province of Siem Reap. Cambodia has pledged to be totally mine-free by 2025.
Date published: 04/07/24


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