Life in mine-strewn Cambodia was always nomadic for Pen Luong, his wife Sok Norn and their four children. Unable to afford their own land, the family moved from place to place seeking labour. Eventually, Pen Luong took on a job as a solider Trapeang Tay, which enabled the couple to purchase a cheap plot of land for the first time.
But the family’s stability was short-lived when Pen Luong discovered landmines buried under the trees. The land they had sought for so long was part of a minefield. Pen Luong abandoned his crops and returned to work as a solider.
"I was so scared" he says “I didn’t want to use the land anymore."
The HALO Trust arrived in Trapeang Tay Chas in December 2014. In less than 12 weeks, deminers had cleared 14201 m² of land and destroyed 12 anti-personnel mines. Since the land was made safe, Pen Luong has left his post as a solider and returned to farming full-time, planting rice and cassava. He hopes to plant a second cassava crop new season.