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One of the aspects of Heifer’s work around the world that doesn’t always get mentioned is peace building. Heifer was there after World War II delivering heifers to Japan and Germany. We even took chicks to Korea during their war in the 1950s. More recently we’ve helped war widows in Kosovo, and mended relations between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda.

We’ve also helped bring peace to Cambodia. I was there last year and nearly everyone I spoke to had an amazing story about how they survived the bloody regime of the Khmer Rouge. I say nearly everyone because I spoke with a few former Khmer Rouge soldiers, too.

Ly Ty and Seng Sam fought on opposite sides of the war. They now work together as part of a Heifer self-help group in Chrey Krem, a tiny village in western Cambodia. Sitting with these two men and former enemies was one experience I will never forget.

Listen to their story below or read the entire story here.

The two men really do love each other like brothers. And that’s the thing about Cambodia that has stayed with me in the year since I left: the feeling of peace and of a collective acceptance with the past was overwhelming. Never did I think that a country could forgive and forget such horrible wrongs. But, at least in Chrey Krem village, they have.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.