The Kingdom of Cambodia (IPA: [kæmˈbəʊdɪə], formerly known as Kampuchea (IPA: [ˌkæmpuˈtʃiːə], Image:Cambodia5.png, transliterated: Preăh Réachéanachâkr Kâmpŭchea) is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of over 13 million people. Phnom Penh is the capital city. Cambodia is the successor state of the once powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.
A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or "Khmer," the latter of which strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes.
The country borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong river (colloquial Khmer: Tonle Thom or "the great river") and the Tonlé Sap ("the fresh water lake"), an important source of fish. Much of Cambodia sits near sea level, and consequently the Tonle Sap River reverses its water flow in the wet season, carrying water from the Mekong back into the Tonlé Sap Lake and surrounding flood plain.
Cambodia's main industries are garments and tourism. In 2006, foreign visitors had surpassed the 1.7 million mark. In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial water, and once commercial extraction begins in 2009 or early 2010, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a situation concerning several of the more deprived areas in Cambodia:
- Severe flood routinely damage most parts of the province.
- The poor irrigation system does not provide sufficient water for the dry rice season.
- Although each family has a small plot of land for farming, not enough food is produced for the whole year.
- Due to the luck of marketing there is no alternative form of occupation for income generation.
- There are poor infrastructures throughout the country.
- According to 2002. Cambodia ranks 130th out of 173 in the human development and is considered one of the poorest countries in the world.
- 32.3% of adults cannot read or write.
- 43% females age 15 and older are illiterate
- 20% males age 15 and older are illiterate.
- 42% of Cambodian woman and 21% of men above age 15 have never attended school.
- 15% of Cambodian children never go to school.
- 50% of children do not reach grade 5 of the primary education.
- Only 17% for boys and girls enroll in secondary education.
- In rural Cambodia only 4.2 % and 1.7% enroll in upper secondary level, the last three years of Cambodia's basic education.
- Pre-school servicees are unavailable to over 90% of child population.
- Less than 5% of primary school teachers have completed high school.