Cambodians are proud of their culture and their ancient past, but at the same time they are still recovering from the tragedies of their more recent history. The near-total destruction by the Khmer Rouge of the nation’s educated workforce and infrastructure during the period 1975–1979 left Cambodia with a serious need for trained and educated people. Important development challenges remain: Maternal mortality remains high, infectious diseases are serious concerns, lack of adequate nutrition stunts the country’s growth, and the health and education systems are underfunded. However, Cambodia is achieving rapid economic growth and transforming in remarkable ways. After decades of conflict, the majority of Cambodians are optimistic about the future.
The Royal Government of Cambodia first invited Peace Corps to open a program in Cambodia in late 1992, and a country agreement was signed in 1994. However, the political situation was found to be too unstable for Volunteers to enter the country at that time. In 2004, talks about establishing Peace Corps Cambodia resumed, and Peace Corps welcomed their first group of Volunteers in Cambodia in 2007. Since then, 433 Volunteers have served in 16 of Cambodia’s 24 provinces. Peace Corps currently has two technical projects in Cambodia - English Teaching and Teacher Training, and Community Health Education.