This article is the report of a graduation project for the Academy of Industrial DesignEindhoven. From November 1991 through May of 1992, I developed a leg prosthesis forCambodian land mine casualties. The first several months were spent in the Netherlandslearning the basics of development aid and prosthetics, followed by an educational tour toCambodia.I can never adequately thank the people who have helped me in the course of the past sixmonths. Their support made the realization of this project possible. I owe great gratitudeto the following persons:Mr. Ph. Vendeville, my graduation teacher. Without his vision and confidence in me I wouldnever have begun the work.Mr. Ir J.M. van de Wiel, manager Westland orthopedie bv and Mr. L. de Groot, technical manger Westland orthopedie bv. It was through their supervision and stimulating advicethat I was able to take on such a specialized project.Mrs. Brigitte Hogge and Mr. Abde Boueddhi, members of Handicap International. The entireorganization received me very hospitably, giving me everything I could possibly use tostudy the situation in Cambodia. It was almost a holiday.Inne ten Have, Rotterdam, mei 1992
Introduction to Cambodia
As a result of the civil war Cambodia is heavily mined. There is a great need for legprostheses. Western prostheses are not suitable for these patients; the situation isincomparable to Europe. Most prostheses available in Cambodia, however, are based onwestern principles. This study tries to find a solution from the Cambodian point of view. Itis a study project and was not originally expected to be realized. Reactions, however, showthat this could change. Therefore it is the intention to apply for a subsidy to develop thisproject further, so that it might be realized in the future.
Cambodia has been dominated by violence since the end of the sixties. Between 1974 and1979 the country was oppressed by Pol Pot. His regime has had an unimaginably greatinfluence on the standards of the Cambodian people. Only seven people survived the"Museum of Crime", the former center where the Khmer Rouge tortured their opponents.Nobody knows how many were murdered during those years.
All major roads are destroyed. Cambodia has no infrastructure -- the consequence of theAmerican bombings during the Vietnam war. Electricity is only available in certain parts of the capital a few hours a day; petrol is transported through the country by children onbicycles with jerrycans. It's still dangerous in the country; trains ride with two emptywagons in front, so that only the empty wagons are destroyed when the train hits a mine.Traveling on these wagons is for free; naturally these are loaded. The army sits in the back.
Economically the country has been broken apart systematically. There is not any form of infrastructure left; no foundations for development. The effects of the violence in Cambodiaare obvious. Until the sixties it was a fertile country, economically based on rice and rubbercultivation and small scale craftsmanship, such as wood and metal work.