Remarks by Ms. Veena Reddy, USAID Cambodia Acting Mission Director, Physical Rehabilitation Center Handover Ceremony

Friday, December 14, 2018
Remarks by Ms. Veena Reddy, USAID Cambodia Acting Mission Director, Physical Rehabilitation Center Handover Ceremony

(as prepared for delivery)


  • Your Excellency Hach Hean, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation
  • Mr. Chour Ratanak, Executive Director, People with Disabilities Foundation 
  • Mr. Keo Rithy, Executive Director, Veterans International Cambodia
  • Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

Good morning! 

Let me start by thanking Veterans International Cambodia and the People with Disabilities Foundation for allowing me to be with you today to mark this achievement - the handover of physical rehabilitation centers in Prey Veng, Kratie, and Kien Khleang.

This handover is the key to long-term sustainability.

It is in line with USAID’s vision of helping partner countries become self-reliant, helping partner countries move beyond the need for external assistance.

The Kien Khleang facility has displayed impressive standards, efficiency, and the professionalism of its expert technicians and caregivers. 

It is clear that many Cambodians benefit every day from these vital services, and should continue to benefit. 

Today though, between 500,000 and 700,000 Cambodians still live with physical disabilities; many will encounter a host of challenges that most able-bodied people never experience. These include social stigma and discrimination and other human rights violations. 

The Royal Government of Cambodia, a number of development partners, and organizations like VIC have made a concerted effort to address these challenges. 

People with disabilities need not be the most vulnerable members of society; the good work of physical rehabilitation can change their lives, making them productive members of their communities. USAID is proud of its support to civil society organizations in this sector.

Through our long-standing partnership with Veterans International Cambodia, USAID provided more the $24 million, to rebuild and support these rehabilitation centers.  

In those 26 years, Veterans International trained hundreds of Cambodian technicians, caregivers, and staff.

Those staff have provided quality physiotherapy, prosthetics, orthotics, and assistive devices, helping 35,000 Cambodians.

Those thousands of Cambodians, from across the country, gained mobility, access to all kinds of services including education. They are more independent and participate meaningfully in Cambodian society.

That transformation of people’s lives is an important mission, it is noble work, and it is work that we know will continue with strong Government support.  This support includes the production of wheelchairs, prosthetics, orthotics, as well as rehabilitation services such as physical therapy, medical treatment, and counseling.

We know that the dedication and commitment of the Kien Khleang, Prey Veng, and Kratie staff will continue under the leadership of the People with Disabilities Foundation.

Our thanks go to Keo Rithy and his 71 staff at Veterans International Cambodia for the services they have provided to Cambodia, and for making this handover of the centers possible.

I would also like to recognize the People with Disabilities Foundation which will continue providing high quality rehabilitation services at the three centers, supporting Cambodians in need.  

Just as important - let’s also recognize the Royal Government of Cambodia, for its commitment, to provide the People with Disabilities Foundation with the financial and human resources necessary to manage the centers, and to provide quality physical rehabilitation services.

And let me close by saying “congratulations” to all who made this event possible.  We wish you all great success in the years ahead.

Thank you.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: April 10, 2019

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