Opening Ceremony of the National Resource and Training Center in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Your Excellency Yim Rech Lenh, Secretary of State of Ministry Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Honorable Members of Parliament, Mr. Bun Sambo, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here with you at this auspicious occasion to celebrate the opening of the new building of the National Resource and Training Center.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the kind support of all the people who were involved in the establishment and the construction of this new center.
I offer you all my warmest congratulations on this remarkable achievement.

The Nippon Foundation was established in 1962 by my late father Ryoichi Sasakawa. Ever since, it has engaged in humanitarian activities in such areas as basic human needs and human resources development.

Under the philosophy, “The World is one family: All mankind are brothers and sisters,” our activities transcend politics, ideology, religions, ethnicities, and national boundaries. We have worked so far in more than 90 countries around the world.

In recent years, we have placed a geographical emphasis on Asia and have concentrated our efforts in such areas as public health, poverty alleviation, agricultural development, assistance to the disabled, and education at all level.

Our ties with Cambodia first started in 1992 when we received an urgent telephone call from a good friend of mine, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, who was the Special Representative of the United Nations Transnational Authority in Cambodia at that time.

Mr. Akashi called me asking us to support the construction of a radio broadcasting station for the purpose of achieving democratic elections in this country.

Since then, we have supported a wide range of projects in Cambodia, including the provision of medical supplies for elimination of leprosy, the construction of 100 elementary schools in rural areas, scholarships for students who aspire to be school teachers, and five-years of assistance to the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, in order to train engineers to produce artificial limbs for disabled people in the country.

As you can see, we are committed to contributing to the development of your nation by assisting disadvantaged people and helping them to find ways and means to support themselves.

In this way, it gives us great pleasure to be able to help Mr. Boun Mao, one of the outstanding leaders among the visually impaired in Asia, to realize his noble ideas.
Through his leadership, we are bringing dreams and hopes for the future to the visually impaired people in this country.

So many people have extended their goodwill and support in the construction of this center.

To start with, I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Bun Sambo, Advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, for his generous cooperation.

I am also deeply grateful to be able to celebrate this occasion with Mr. Lawrence Campbell. Mr. Campbell has always encouraged Mr. Mao whenever he faced difficulties and helped Mr. Mao become a top-caliber leader the visually impaired.

The people of Marubeni Thailand kindly volunteered to search out a suitable location for this facility and also negotiated with the landowners on our behalf. Nissei Cambodia undertook the role of designing and constructing this beautiful building at low cost, fulfilling the needs of the Association of the Blind to the maximum extent.

Mr. Hidekazu Misaka, who supervised on-site construction, provided detailed technical advice based on his extensive expertise and knowledge.

I would also like to mention the efforts provided by Marubeni Software & Technology Thailand in the procurement and the installation of computers.

Let me also thank the members of the Association’s advisory board, Ms. Liz Cross and Mr. Roger Biggs, who provided their valuable input in the development of this building’s grand design.

In this way, the goodwill of many people has led to the completion of this magnificent project.

I trust that Mr. Mao will, with this his mind, continue to make a significant contribution towards nurturing the self-support of the visually impaired people in this country.

I would like to ask all of you who have gathered here for your continued support to the Center, as well as to the prosperity of the Association of the Blind in Cambodia.