Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Man of vision

I was pleased to read today of an award to a man with a vision who helped to create the Cambodia Trust and give life and hope back to thousands of disabled people across the globe, especially in Cambodia. I met Dr Peter Carey (pictured) for the first time in 2003 when he gave a talk at one of my Magic of Cambodia charity days in the UK. I was impressed. The story of kicking-off the Trust was bread and butter to me at that time and Peter and people like Stan Windass deserve more than awards for their selfless efforts to help others. Anyway, here's the story.

Thame charity founder awarded Beacon Prize - ThamesNews.Net, UK
Dr Peter Carey has been awarded the Beacon Prize for Leadership for his work in co-founding the Cambodia Trust and leading its expansion across Cambodia into Timor Leste, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, making a positive impact on the lives of over 30,000 landmine survivors and other disadvantaged disabled people. The prize was awarded at a ceremony in London on November 18, 2008. Peter is just one of six recipients of the 2008 Beacon Prize and joins the ranks of previous Beacon winners such as Sir Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith, who have all been recognised for their charitable work through what has become known as the 'Nobel Prize of the charity world', a phrase first coined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Cambodia Trust has developed rehabilitation services for disadvantaged disabled people in four developing countries and trained local staff to run these services in the long-term. Peter helped to found the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO), where students from Cambodia and other developing countries are trained to internationally-recognised standards to prescribe and fit prosthetic limbs and orthopaedic braces, which are essential for the rehabilitation of people affected by landmines, polio, leprosy and other conditions. Peter has a strong commitment to ensuring that his projects are sustainable and so has placed great emphasis on working in partnership with local government and NGOs. The aim is to build local capacity so that projects can eventually be handed over to local, trained management.

Under Peter's leadership: 122 students have graduated from CSPO, including enough Cambodians to staff all the rehabilitation centres in Cambodia. Around 30,500 limbs and braces are being fitted by CSPO graduates annually, enabling thousands of landmine survivors and other disabled people to gain self-sufficiency. Over 80% of children receiving rehabilitation at the Trust's rehabilitation centres go on to start school once their mobility is improved; over 230 disabled children receive the support they need to attend school every year; around 150 disabled adults a year are assisted to start vocational training or on-the-job training, with 80% accessing work thereafter; 612 adults have received start-up support to establish small businesses; 9 former CSPO students have graduated with Bachelor's degrees, enabling a phasing out of expatriate staff at CSPO as Cambodians qualify as lecturers and leaders.

CSPO has also trained prosthetists from Afghanistan, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Timor Leste, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Martyn Lewis, former Chairman of Beacon, who hosted Tuesday's Prize Ceremony, said: "The impact of Peter's work is truly outstanding, not only because of the sheer numbers of landmine victims and disabled people who have received assistance, but also because of the local capacity he has built through training up professionals and working closely with local people."

Speaking just ahead of the ceremony, Peter said: "I am delighted to win a Beacon Prize and I sincerely hope that it will focus attention what can be a forgotten problem – the physical disabilities that landmine survivors can be left with. A great deal can be done for them and lives can be rebuilt but this requires international support and resources." As well as receiving his award, Peter was inaugurated as a Beacon Fellow, a community of Beacon Prize winners who together champion charitable causes across the globe and nurture a wider culture of giving in the UK.

Below is a blog post on the Cambodia Trust's website from Peter Carey, which explains a bit more:

The Cambodia Trust will soon be celebrating its twentieth birthday. So much has happened in that time yet it still seems just yesterday when when the three Trust co-founders - former diplomat John Pedler, peace facilitator Stan Windass and myself as oddball Oxford historian with a life-long involvement in Southeast Asia - were sitting around the fire in Stan Windass’s house in Adderbury plotting an humanitarian initiative in Cambodia. Just three ordinary people with a determination to do something for one of the most beautiful but tragic countries in the world.

What could such a group do to address such a pressing need as that posed by Cambodia’s landmine victims, the initiative requested of us by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen? The first donations, which came from the public response to our appeal in The Independent Magazine of 3 August 1990 by generous-hearted people like yourselves, enabled us to get started. Like the widow’s mite the £90,000 contributed to that magazine appeal and the £25,000 offered by Clive Marks of the Lord Leigh and Ashdown trusts has multiplied mightily over the past two decades. Now the Trust is one of the world’s leaders in the provision of quality rehabilitation and international-standard teaching in the prosthetic-orthotic field. In Cambodia alone over 20,000 people have been rehabilitated in our clinics. Truly international and counting over 15 nationalities amongst its pupils - The Cambodian School of Prosthetics & Orthotics has prospered mightily inspiring our principal funder, the Nippon Foundation of Japan to support similar initiatives in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Here the hand of fate has pointed at me. After 42 years variously as student, graduate researcher and teaching fellow at Trinity College, I have resigned the safety of Oxford’s most beautiful college for a new life in Jakarta, a country which I last knew in the 1970s as a doctoral student and which is now much in the news given US President elect Barack Obama’s childhood when he was four years a junior high school student in Indonesia’s capital city. No longer an academic, I am now the Trust’s new Project Director in Indonesia for that vast (240 million population) and vibrant country’s first international school of prosthetics and orthotics.

This new school is being established under the auspices of the Indonesian Ministry of Health and is designed to become Indonesia’s premier teaching institution for health professionals in the disability field. One day, its graduates will staff the planned six provincial prosthetics and orthotics schools and may themselves train enough practitioners to address the needs of Indonesia’s estimated 2.5 million amputees. A daunting task for the Trust’s next twenty years and one which proves that all great enterprises come from the heart! Link: Cambodia Trust


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