Landmine survivor’s technical work

Chun Vanny was 24-years-old when he was forcibly recruited by the government army to fight against the last strongholds of the Khmer Rouge.

During an attack in the forest, he suddenly got scared. While trying to retrace his steps, his foot hit a landmine. He lost his right leg.

In 1991, he discovered Handicap International and was sent to their center in Kampong Cham to receive a prosthetic leg. Over time, Chun was trained to make prostheses by Handicap International. In December 1992, he earned an ortho-prosthetist degree and has since spent about 20 years as a technician in Handicap International's Kampong Cham Center. He is married with one child. Here, he explains his work:

My role at the Kampong Cham rehabilitation center is to produce prosthesis – artificial limbs and orthosis – splints. I also adapt wheelchairs for children and adults who have complex support needs. 

Producing prosthesis starts with individual assessment, once we know what people need, I bring them for the casting process. Casting involves making a plaster cast which corresponds to the form of the stump, which I use for the molding process. When the mold has hardened, I adapt it for each person. Then I cover the mold with pelite (a spongy plastic), which forms the cushioning liner which goes between the prosthetic socket and the stump. I make the socket from hard plastic and we assemble different parts to complete the fabrication of the prosthesis. The client then tests it.

The clients, who visit and use the rehabilitation center services, have different types of impairments. The majority of them are survivors of mine accidents, and more often traffic accidents. I really enjoy my work. I can help these victims of mines, which is even more important for me as I am a survivor of a mine accident myself.

The reason I continue my job is to help them. Without prosthesis, these people will face difficulties moving and in their daily work. I am happy to perform this work to help them.”

Read testimonies from landmine victims and Handicap International beneficiaries such as Chun here.