Cupar’s life-saving links with Cambodia

The Cambodian girls are pictured with the US Olympic athletes.

The Cambodian girls are pictured with the US Olympic athletes.

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The lives of two Cambodian girls, rescued from the human trafficking trade, have been turned around thanks to Cupar-based football business AMsportstours.

While undertaking a sports tour of the north west area of Cambodia, managing director Austin MacPhee, who also runs AMsoccer, came across the SALT charity which rescues children from a life of abuse, gives them safe accommodation, and helps get their lives back on track through sports and leadership training.

Explaining the link up Austin said: “AMSports now assists with providing scholarships for girls, running football tours to Cambodia with all profits going to SALT, and also introducing donors to the charity.

“Women’s football was never accepted in Cambodia until SALT drove it forward and my contact there Sam Schweingruber is now the national team coach with all players coming from the charity.”

Two of the girls involved, Srey Poe and Nipha, now have bright futures thanks to SALT and AMSports.

Austin went on: “One month ago Srey Poe and Nipha took an eight hour bus trip over the Cambodia/Thai border to Bangkok before flying out of south east Asia for the first time.

“Their destination was Cupar and since they arrived the girls have enjoyed an action-packed time.

“They have taken part in coaching sessions with AMsoccer, assisted coaches, learned English, and were recently guests at the Olympic football in Glasgow where they met the USA gold-medal winning team.”

Austin said both he and Sam Schweingruber hope that this trip will be the first of many for children being helped by SALT.

“We are now working to create a pathway to employment for their girls when their time with the charity ends. We hope to create jobs through sports tours to Cambodia or sporting and academic scholarships in the USA.”

Austin said he was particularly grateful to North East Fife MSP Roderick Campbell who helped the girls get visas to leave Cambodia.

Mr Campbell said: “I am delighted that Austin was able to provide these Cambodian girls with this wonderful opportunity.

“I know that he worked very hard on this project, and that it took a lot of time, patience and effort to see it through to the end.

“As a member of the proposed Cross-Party Group on Human Trafficking in the Parliament, I was naturally interested in Austin’s proposal, considering the work that SALT Academy does in Cambodia.

“I was happy to support Austin’s proposal, and I sincerely hope that the girls who came to Scotland enjoyed their visit and will take a lot out of their experiences here.”

For more information on SALT visit the website www.saltacademy.net