DIALOGUE. EDUCATION. MEMORIALIZATION.
Where we work. Kdei Karuna is a local non-governmental organization operating in the Kingdom of Cambodia, a vibrant and diverse country located in Southeast Asia. Cambodia is undergoing rapid economic and cultural development, largely pushed by the country's changing demographics in which youth (or people under the age of 30) make up more than 65% of the population. While many of these youth are hungry for the pace of development to quicken, development itself is still hampered by the country's Khmer Rouge past. In between 1975 and 1979, nearly 2 million Cambodians perished. Not included in these estimates are the number of Cambodians that died during the Civil War prior to the Khmer Rouge regime, the 8 years of American bombings in rural Cambodia, and the conflict that ensued the country post-Khmer Rouge that lasted well into the 1990s. Cambodia shows the characteristics of a post-conflict country that is in process of overcoming the legacy of the mass atrocities that occurred under previous regimes. These include among many others (i) social fragmentation; (ii) limited culture and structures for non-violent conflict resolution; and (iii) widespread negative psychosocial effects resulting from experiencing mass violence (including a high prevalence of trauma), with long-lasting consequences for social life. These characteristics indicate that the process of consolidating a lasting peace, including coming to terms with the long-term consequences of mass atrocities, and building effective capacities within the country that help to avoid the recurrence of future conflict is not yet completed.
Kdei Karuna’s vision is to contribute to sustainable peace efforts by enabling individuals to live together with dignity, tolerance, and harmony. As such, Kdei Karuna implements a number of projects that emphasize community-level interventions that evolve based on needs voiced by the communities we work with. Since 2007, Kdei Karuna has developed close working relations with 16 different rural communities in Cambodia, including ethnic minorities such as Khmer Islam, Vietnamese, and Khmer Loeu communities. In addition, Kdei Karuna has a close partnership with Bangkok-based Mahidol University to increase dialogue between Cambodian and Thai university students in order to build stronger ASEAN relations.