Lou McGrath in Cambodia
6
Mar
2018

Fact-finding trip to Cambodia

Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath is in Cambodia today at the start of a two-week fact-finding trip to the southeast Asian nation.

Cambodia has a special place in the history of Find A Better Way. It was during a 2007 visit to the country that our founder Sir Bobby Charlton first encountered the vast and complex problems that unexploded ordinance inflict on post-conflict societies.

After seeing first-hand the problems local Cambodians were struggling with, and the slow progress that was being made decades after the last bullet had been fired, the football legend said to himself on the plane ride home, “we have to find a better way.”

Eleven years later, Find A Better Way is an established charity with a track record of funding innovative technologies for helping landmine blast survivors, their families, and their wider communities.

To support post-conflict communities more directly Find A Better Way began opening Sir Bobby Charlton Centres in 2017. The first centre was opened in Amman, Jordan in August to provide physiotherapy and mental health therapy for refugees from the conflicts in Syrian and Iraq.

With plans for new centres underway, Lou has taken his current fact-finding trip with the express purpose of finding a location in Cambodia for the second Sir Bobby Charlton Centre, and local charity partner to help administer it.

Lou explained, “It was the people of Cambodia who first inspired Sir Bobby with the idea that grew into the charity we have today. Establishing a centre here would bring the Find A Better Way story full circle.

“The long process of demining is well underway in Cambodia, but removing the last landmine only allows communities to begin the rebuilding process. To help with that recovery, we hope to find a local charity partner to help us administer the new centre in an focused, sustainable way.”

One of Lou’s first stops on his itinerary was to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority. There he met with several government officials, and presented a Manchester United shirt signed by Sir Bobby to director  Mao Bunnhath (pictured).

Soon Lou will be headed into more rural areas of Cambodia. We will provide additional updates during the next two weeks.