Cambodia will always have a special place in our hearts.

Aiding in the country’s decades-long recovery, we’ve seen strength and resolve replace suffering and silence. It’s easy to forget that just 39 years ago, the Cambodian genocide had claimed over a million lives. Women and their babies starved to death. Men died at forced labor camps. Or they were summarily killed with a pickax to the head. Some people escaped to neighboring countries, where their frail bodies clung to life in crowded hospitals.

The atrocities inflicted upon Cambodians in the late 1970s may seem dispiritingly like the crises you hear about now. Cambodians faced war. They endured genocide. Survivors became refugees. These are words that still fill the news today.

This exposes an underlying truth: The world is a broken place. But to ignore the truth is to prevent healing from happening. Suffering has a compounding effect. Like an illness left untreated, it worsens. When we see injustice in the world or a lack of health care, we act.

Cambodia is proof of what’s possible when good people act.

Where We Began 

Ron Post, founder of Medical Teams International, sits with Cambodian refugees

Ron Post, founder of Medical Teams International, sits with Cambodian refugees.

Cambodia holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where our story begins. In 1979, during the height of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, Medical Teams International – originally known as Northwest Medical Teams – mobilized volunteers to bring healing to hurting Cambodians.

Ron Post, Medical Teams’ founder, was a suburban dad and business owner when he was watching a news report about the Khmer Rouge. The images he saw changed his life. He was struck by footage of a man picking a young girl’s body up from a field. Ron looked over at his own daughter next to him on the couch, then back at the TV. Watching the lifeless body of the girl onscreen, he thought: What if that were my daughter?

Recalling that newscast decades later, Ron said God had spoken to him in that moment and told him to build a medical team. So, he opened his rolodex and made some calls. Soon, volunteer doctors and nurses were in Thailand, treating the sick and injured.

Medical Teams started modestly with the actions of one man and a group of dedicated volunteers. Together, they were inspired to bring healing in a hurting world. Over the years, your support in Cambodia served ailing mothers, trained emergency first responders, fed hungry children, and educated entire families on how to prevent diseases.

Lives Saved

Your love had a compounding effect and helped save thousands of lives.

One of those lives belonged to Mon, a young mother. She had just given birth when she started bleeding uncontrollably. Her life was saved when nurses wrapped her in a specially made garment that stopped the bleeding. This quick action gave doctors enough time to transport Mon to a larger hospital, where doctors could save her life.

Mon, with her healthy baby, was saved during childbirth

Mon, with her healthy baby, was saved during childbirth.

Amazing stories like this continue to take place across Cambodia. Because of you, more pregnant women than ever are giving birth in health facilities.

Medical Teams transitioned out of Cambodia in 2017 and began working in other countries afflicted by the same brokenness that Cambodia faced in 1979. Our work was handed off to local organizations that will continue Medical Teams’ vision.  The fact that Cambodia emerged from one of the worst genocides of the 20th century is a testament to what’s possible all over the world.

As we care for refugees in Lebanon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda, we remember Cambodia. These communities and people face many of the same obstacles Cambodia did during its years of recovery. Remember, this transformation happens in multiple ways. You can help!

Pray: Pray for those we serve, for our volunteer teams, and for partners working in the field.

Donate: Your gift today brings life-saving care to vulnerable families and has a lasting impact on people’s lives.

Volunteer: No matter your background or skillset, you can put your time and energy to use helping to provide urgent health care to the world’s hurting people.