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U.S. Peace Corps starts first Cambodian mission
February 5, 2007 / 11:54 AM / 11 years ago

U.S. Peace Corps starts first Cambodian mission

KAMPONG SIEM, Cambodia (Reuters) - The U.S. Peace Corps has started its first mission to Cambodia, sending volunteers to teach English in the war-scarred southeast Asian nation still recovering from the Khmer Rouge “Killing Fields”.

<p>American teachers arrive at Phnom Penh international airport February 2, 2007. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea</p>

An advance group of 30 volunteers from San Francisco got their first taste of the local way of life shortly after arrival with a blessing by a Buddhist monk.

They plan to teach secondary school children English, which is seen as a vital means to getting job in an impoverished country that now attracts more than one million foreign visitors a year.

“English is becoming more important for Cambodia because the country is opening up to tourism,” said volunteer Nathalie Galiotto, at the start of a nine week stint with a Cambodian family in the eastern province of Kampong Cham.

“More people are coming to the country now and they use English to communicate with tourists.”

Cambodia receives $600 million a year in aid, although 36 percent of its 13 million people continue to live on $1 a day or less.

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