Cambodia has one of the largest disabled populations in the world, including an estimated 40,000 landmine survivors and 50,000 people affected by polio.
To ensure there were sufficient skilled local specialists to provide prosthetics and orthotics services, In 1994 the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) was established by The Cambodia Trust, a UK based charity, with the American Friends Service Committee. The school’s initial aim was to train Cambodians and today we have trained more than 70 Cambodians.
In 1999 the school was accredited by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) for its Category II education. In the same year, CSPO began accepting international students from other developing countries in the region with the wish to help other developing nations who also need qualified professionals.
In 2002 The Cambodia Trust assumed full responsibility for the running of the school. CSPO also became the first Prosthetics and Orthotics school in the world to achieve ISO 9001:2000 certification.
As a regional school, we currently have students from 13 nations: Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), East Timor, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and The Philippines, as well as Cambodia. CSPO is sharing knowledge and skills with other post-conflict and low-income countries.
The Department for International Development (DFID UK Government), Nippon Foundation and Leahy War Victims Fund (USAID) are core funders of CSPO; International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Handicap International (HI) Belgium provide components for students. We are very grateful for their support.
CSPO is making good progress towards true sustainability. Students from outside Cambodia are sponsored by their Governments or other International Organisations such as International Committee of the Red Cross, thereby contributing to the school’s running costs. In addition, former graduates are receiving training to enable us to eventually phase out all expatriate posts, replacing them with local and regional staff – a major step towards the localisation of the school.