Cambodia: giving back
Date: 2014-07-08
Author: Poppy Osprey, Adv.Dip(BotMed) Adv.Dip(Nut) Adv.Dip(Nat)
Access: Public

Healthcare practitioner Poppy Osprey has always believed in healing through nature. So when she heard of the devastation amongst Cambodia’s Jairai tribe, it became her mission to raise awareness amongst her healthcare peers.

“I first became involved with charity work in Cambodia through my friend James Ricketson. As a film maker, James had been going to Cambodia for the last 20 years, documenting a young street child who is now the mother of six children herself at the age of 27. The documentary has been 15 years in the making. He has also documented the plight of young children working on the rubbish tips.

Through James and his connections, I became aware of the plight of the Jairai tribe.


The Jairai have unfortunately had their land taken away and turned into palm oil and rubber plantations. This tribe have little existing farm lands, little money and are on the brink of extinction. The tribes people have a history of being self sufficient and were previously able to combat malaria with the use of their own indigenous medicines, but the trees they relied on have now been cut down.

My experience was one of horror for what we do as humans in pursuit of a dollar. These people will slowly be wiped out as no one cares for them.

To reach the Jairai tribe, you must take a 13 hour bus trip then a five hour trip through the now defunct jungle (rubber plantations). An interpreter also has to accompany us as they do not speak Thai, they have their own language.

One of the species of protozoan parasite that cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum, is rife there and kills within 24 hours. Dengue, tuberculosis, and a myriad of other developed problems also exist.

After seeing the health concerns affecting the Jairai people, I thought it would be a good idea to ask healthcare companies for their help, and also to give them alternative medicines which would be better for them.

I have always been interested in how the body works, and why we become sick and how to cure. I have always believed that instead of using pharmaceutical drugs, there may be alternatives provided by nature.

On my two week trip to see the Jairai, I was able to take various BioCeuticals supplements which were donated to help support their wellbeing. My mission now is to gather a group of doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals to donate one week of their time to go into the field and help those who are less fortunate, especially the Jairai who are no longer able to live off the land. They do not have access to hospitals, doctors or dental services.

Big pharmaceutical companies have been going into the community but the price of their medicines are too expensive for the Jairai to afford; most of the tribes people exist on AUD$300 per year, so antimalarial drugs are not affordable for them.”

Are you a healthcare practitioner who is interesting in donating your time to help the Jairai tribe? Email Poppy Osprey at [email protected]