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Cambodia suffers from one of the worst landmine problems in the world with old, hidden explosives scattered throughout the country and some 40,000 amputees living disadvantaged lives – a legacy of over 3 decades of war.

APOPO and its landmine-detecting HeroRATs work alongside local partner the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to conduct a humanitarian landmine clearance project in the northern Siem Reap province.

The project targets the most mine-affected villages in order to return safe productive land back to communities where it makes the biggest impact. The local rural population is dependent on agriculture. Mine clearance will return much-needed safe land back to the communities as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, not only saving countless lives, but allowing communities to improve their livelihoods by enabling them to get back onto prime agricultural land to plant crops, raise livestock and expand their farms.

APOPO recruits and trains men and women from the mine-affected areas so that the local communities are part of the clearance process.

NGO DESCRIPTION

APOPO is a global non-profit organization that trains African giant pouched rats (fondly nicknamed ‘HeroRATs’) to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis in economically challenged countries. APOPO is headquartered in Tanzania and clears landmines in Mozambique, Angola and Cambodia, and soon in Zimbabwe. APOPO also detects tuberculosis in Tanzania and Mozambique and shortly in Ethiopia.

Over 60 countries are contaminated with hidden landmines and other explosive remnants of war that cause tragic accidents and hamper communities from developing their productive land.

Meanwhile, slow and inaccurate detection methods make tuberculosis the world’s most deadly infectious disease. 10 million new people contract TB every year, 3 million go undiagnosed, and 1.8 million die from the disease.

The highly developed sense of smell and light weight of our African giant pouched rats, nicknamed ‘HeroRATs’, make them ideal detectors of landmines and tuberculosis.

Detecting tuberculosis remains one of today’s biggest challenges facing medical professionals. APOPO’s TB detection rats can check 100 samples for tuberculosis in 20 minutes. The same task would take a lab technician up to 4 days.

www.apopo.org

BIOGRAPHY

Simon Guillemin grew up on the coast of Brittany in Northern France. At the age of 23, he undertook a yearlong world trip through 15 countries to examine the issue of children’s global living conditions. It was in the images and words that this project took shape and what animates him still today: photography resolutely turned towards documenting the human condition.

Through a constant search for meaning in this work and a strong focus on the aesthetics of the image, Simon tries to give voice to subjects that makes the heart or the mind vibrate and to captivate the audience, or even cause the viewer to reflect on his own condition.

At the end of 2015, Simon joined Studio Hans Lucas, a creative production studio dedicated to photography, digital storytelling and reportage.

www.simonguillemin.com

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