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The Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang was founded in 1968. During the Khmer Rouge uprising and due to the war, all of the Prefecture’s pastoral activities were brought to an end. With the appointment of Msgr. Enrique Figaredo, SJ (Msgr. Kike) as the Apostolic Prefect in July 2000, all the pastoral activities were resumed. This saw the scope of the Jesuit Mission in Cambodia expand considerably in reach and responsibility. Since then, there has been a strong effort to rebuild the foundations of the social, cultural, and religious framework in the region. The Prefecture now has 28 parishes, manages social projects attending different kinds of needs such as education, support for people with disabilities, agriculture, and socio-economic development, that directly benefit over 50,000 people in the region. Today, more than one-third of Jesuits are solely involved in the ministry of Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang.
The priority of the Prefecture is to restore life after the war in Cambodia, becoming witnesses of the force of love, mercy, and compassion coming from God; stronger than any force of hatred or death. Our projects include:
To accompany the people with disabilities for their social integration
The Welcome Centre of Arrupe is a base for the diocese’s outreach and rehabilitation projects of the people with physical and intellectual disabilities in the Northwest of Cambodia. It assists people with disabilities with their needs in many different ways: wheelchair provision and repair, skills training and scholarships, food and medical assistance, landmine, and cluster bombs campaign.
To increase access to education and health facilities
We have center-based rehabilitation for students with disabilities, welcome centers for vulnerable children, kindergarten, scholarship program,s and provide free medical services to patients who are not able to access or afford health care.
Art and Culture
Traditional dance helps the youth reconnect with their cultural past, and strengthens the mutual trust and communication between the traditional community and the new generation. Ta Hen’s dance group has heeded invitations to perform in numerous places and occasions around Cambodia as well as overseas performance tours in Singapore, Australia, Korea, and Spain. We also set up weaving and handicraft workshops for the local community, where people with a disability receive training and employment.
Our social enterprise projects provide people affected with disabilities or in vulnerable circumstances renewed opportunities to earn incomes and lead financially sustainable lives.
Agriculture and Environment
The agriculture program focuses on the development of agricultural activity and preservation of the environment by using sustainable farming techniques.