Well, to be honest, it's complicated and personal! The team behind Three Birds One Stone has a background or passionate interest in social work, environmental science, midwifery and maternal health, education and psychology so it was only natural for us to get together to solve the world's problems! The seed was planted after travelling to Cambodia in 2016 and participating in programs centred around maternity care and the treatment of cataracts in rural villages. Many nights spent around campfires (our office) discussing the complex and interconnected issues in Cambodia led us to say "we can DO something" and Three Birds One Stone was born.
Cambodia has a complex set of issues that stem primarily from poverty and the effects of trauma and turmoil resulting from years of civil unrest and war. Although these issues are not unique to the people of Cambodia, we have become emotionally invested in this beautiful country and its people!
'WHY CAMBODIA?' WE HEAR YOU ASK
The sex trade is very prominent in Cambodia where there are estimated to be 34,000 sex workers. The sex trade is a complex issue with individuals from poor, regional communities often being sold and forced to work. Others are lured to jobs away from their homes only to find themeselves isolated and faced with an altogether different job than they were promised. Complicating matters are the young age of some workers, rates of STIs, low condom use and increased drug use amongst sex workers.
Every three hours a Cambodian woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth complications, often from treatable or preventable causes. During 2015, 590 Cambodian women died during childbirth, compared to 19 in Australia. Furthermore, in 2015 there were 5000 recorded neonatal deaths.
Many Cambodians live on less than $5 a day. Low incomes are compounded by health issues stemming from poor sanitation, no access to clean water, lack of nutritious food, malarial outbreaks and untreated diseases.
For many Cambodians, the struggle to survive and provide for their families is a daily challenge.
Cambodia's landmine legacy is one of the worst in the world. Despite intensive efforts to clear the county of the estimated 4 to 6 million landmines, explosive remnants of war are responsible for the highest rate of amputees per capita in the world. Approximately 40,000 Cambodians have lost a limb due to these landmines, and a further 15 people per month are either killed or injured.
Almost 4 million Cambodians do not have access to safe drinking water and almost 8 million don't have access to a sanitary toilet. With open defecation widespread and communities relying on standing water and wells, outbreaks of waterborne diseases are common.
Access to education can be limited for those living in remote and rural areas and after floods during the wet season. Attendance can also be low due to reasons such as the need to earn income, limited access to feminine hygiene products during menstruation and the need to care for a sick or younger family member. Girls are particularly vulnerable because the education of girls is often seen as less important than that of boys.