“A SMALL BIG GESTURE DURING A JOURNEY CAN SAVE A LIFE”
During my time in Cambodia, there was a particular moment when I felt completely disconnected from material reality. It took me a simple moment, looking a child in the eyes on the street, to realize that I have spent all my time in the past years in vain, suffocated by the futility and superficiality that the system proposes. That’s how I decided I wanted to do something to help less fortunate children compared to their peers in the West. . Travelling on a low budget I could not afford to donate money, also because I was a bit doubtful about the use that would be made of it. After several searches on the internet I found what I was looking for. I went to theANGKOR HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN in Siem Reap, which I deliberately chose to visit to make my contribution to a good cause: blood donation. A gesture that costs nothing but gives a sense of satisfaction to a worthy cause.
THE HISTORY OF THE HOSPITAL
Under the power of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, health facilities have been destroyed and many of Cambodia’s professional doctors have been killed amongst the two million dead, others have fled to the West. Today, after decades of conflict, Cambodia is still struggling to rebuild the infrastructure of the health system with their workforce.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER KENRO IZU
This hospital has a special history: more than 20 years ago, the acclaimed Japanese photographer Kenro Izu visited Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. The infant mortality rate for malnutrition was at 50%. Izuwas deeply moved by the sick children he encountered during his photo travels and by the limited health care. He is committed to building a children’s hospital in Siem Reap in order to provide better quality health care. When the doors of AHC were officially opened in 1999, the hospital consisted of only three Cambodian doctors and ten nurses, numerous medical volunteers from around the world and one hospital bed. From the beginning, AHC functioned as a teaching hospital, training medical personnel with an emphasis on empowerment and self-sufficiency. While the clinic began with only one outpatient ward, it quickly expanded its capacity and range of services to meet the needs of the hundreds of children who would arrive every day. From 2000 to 2005, AHC added an emergency room, a surgical unit, a dental clinic, an eye clinic and other units, becoming one of the few paediatric hospitals in the country that offers such special services. In 2007 the hospital trained nearly 1,500 Cambodian doctors, nurses and health workers in paediatrics and treated nearly half a million children.
THE HOSPITAL BECOMES AN INDEPENDENT ORGANISATION
The vision of Kenro Izu was realized in 2013, when AHC officially became an independent organization run locally, firmly rooted in Siem Reap and led by an experienced Cambodian team. After the transition, the hospital expanded further, positioning itself at the forefront of paediatric health care in Cambodia by opening the country’s first neonatal intensive care unit, treating its first cancer patients. I consider myself as a photographer enthusiast and could not help but be struck by this story.
la reception of the hospital
the kit they gave me after the donation
The hospital treats Cambodian children free of charge, also bearing the travel costs of families who do not have great financial resources. In fact, the aim is that all Cambodian children have access to care. The structure is really avant-garde, with its exclusively new and sterilized material and in addition to being strictly clean and it is surprisingly very modern. Cambodia is one of the countries with the highest infant mortality rate in South East Asia (it is estimated that 1 in 29 children die before the age of 5), so the presence of a clinic like AHC is essential to say the least. Giving blood is a gesture that costs nothing except an hour of your time, but it can save young lives. The time for donations is from 8:00 to 16:00. In my case, I preferred to go there in the afternoon.
THE DONATION OF BLOOD
For me it was the first donation, the property is within walking distance of Pub Street beating heart of Siem Reap. When I arrived I was asked to fill out a form concerning my state of health, a withdrawal to ensure that the levels were stable and finally the pressure control. After verifying that everything was in order, I was able to proceed with the donation and as you can imagine, they made me lay down on a bed; I want to clarify, once again that the material used is completely new and sterilized (think they opened the kit before my eyes). . I still remember that moment with the needle stuck in my arm, I spent my time watching television with a film that told the history of the hospital. Within a few minutes the donation was over. The blood donated was replaced by a can of coke, cookies and a t-shirt.
If you are going to take a trip to Cambodia, after seeing the beautiful temples of Angkor Wat please donate your blood to this hospital! A small gesture worth a lot to a country like Cambodia.
ADDRESS: Tep Vong (Achamean) Road & Oum Chhay Street, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap, Cambodia
OPENING HOURS:From Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 16.00