Bunthoeun Thong

Bunthoeun Thong
Bunthoeun Thong

My name is Thong Bunthouen and I am 25 year old. I was born in Kompong Thom Province and there are 10 people in my family and I am the third son.

This is my impression of what happened to make me a land mine accident survivor. My family members are farmers, and we earn our living from growing rice and vegetables. One day, my parents and I we went out to the fields and a horrible event happened. I was driving the ox cart and my parents were traveling with me. Suddenly, a mine exploded under the cart. Immediately, I called out to my parents. I was in very terrible pain and fainted. Someone took us to hospital where they told me that we were all injured in the mine explosion. When I became conscious, I found myself in hospital with my parents. I asked myself and my relatives, is this a dream or did this really happen? Then I knew that this terrible event was not a dream but a reality. I was sorry for myself and felt very hopeless about my life, especially when the doctor said my father's leg was badly injured and he would be permanently disabled. My mother was also injured like I was, with shrapnel damage to our bodies. My back, ribs and especially my left shoulder were so badly damaged that I could not do hard work any more and neither could my mother. This was really bad news for farmers like us. Previously, when I had free time from my study, I had always done a lot of work for my family. Now I could no longer help them, like I had in the past. Then I knew that what had happened couldn't be changed.

Bunthoeun, Netha and their son Esai Thong
Bunthoeun, Netha and their son Esai Thong

My family all suffered scorn from some of the people in our village. I also believed that each human being has the freedom to find a job and a right to live. That is why the most important thing for me was to study, so that I could help myself and my family in the future. After high school graduation, I decided to take the entrance exam to major in agriculture at National School of Agriculture, at Prek Liep. When I passed the entrance exam, I won a scholarship and I was really excited, because I had achieved success from all my effort. On the other hand, my family had no money to pay for my expenses. The difficulty was that my family is very poor and had almost no money to support my studies. I faced many difficulties during my university study, and I also felt pity for my parents, who had worked very hard to make money so that I could study. Therefore, I had to be successful in my study, and I hoped that one day, I would be able to teach my family and other farmers my knowledge of agriculture. I also hoped I could find a good job after my graduation.

Then I heard that RTC Cambodia wanted staff who had survived land mine accidents, to work in a confectionery factory. I though this was a good opportunity for me to apply for a job. At that time, I had an interview with Mrs. Marion Fromm, the director of RTC Cambodia. After the interview, she decided to give me a job at RTC Cambodia, as trainee factory manager. She is a good woman, who has given a great opportunity to me and other disabled people, to have jobs. I think that it is really good to create this organization especially to give opportunities to disabled people in Cambodia, so that they can have jobs. Now I'm really happy working with her, and will try my best to help her. In the future, I hope that RTC Cambodia will expand and have a well known reputation for helping the disabled. Mrs. Marion, director of RTC Cambodia, is a clever manager.

We are studying the Bible, and reading the Bible also! I believe my hope for the future will come true. I also think that this will happen from my effort, hard work and struggle, and I now have confidence that my life will get better and better.

After working for RTC Cambodia for 3 years, someone prayed for my shoulder and the Lord Jesus healed it completely. Now I am not disabled any more. After working for 10 years as Factory manager, I was promoted to Deputy Director of the Company, a position I really as so glad and thankful for. I now have a wife and a 4 year old son, so my life has been completely blessed and changed.

Finally, I want to thank every body in RTC Cambodia for helping me. RTC Cambodia gives a future and hope to land mind accident survivors.

Bunthoeun Thong