Recently, on a trip to the Angkor temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I was pleasantly surprised to see posters for a Cello concert. The poster said "Beatocello in concert". Intrigued but without any background information, I ventured to the concert. This story is about the man behind the concert and his mission in Cambodia.
The concert is a one man show put up by Dr. Beat Richner, who dons the enigmatic identity of "Beatocello", a combination of Beat and Cello, to perform classical pieces by Bach and songs composed by himself. The concert, though, is just a fund-raising event, conducted every single saturday, for supporting the Kantha Bopha children's hospital's in Cambodia.
Dr. Richner came to Cambodia in 1974-75, through the Swiss Red Cross to work at the Kantha Bopha hospital, started by King Sihanouk. He was soon forced to leave when the Khmer Rouge took over the country and started its bloody reign - killing an estimated 1.5 million people or 1/5 of the country's total population (estimates range from 850,000 to two million) under its regime [Src: Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_rouge].
In 1991, Dr. Richner returned to Cambodia and was asked by the government to rebuild the Kantha Bopha hospital, which was destroyed during the civil war. This marked the beginning of the passionate doctor's journey to create a chain of highly effective, corruption-free and state-of-the-art children's hospitals in Cambodia. In the 5 hospitals run by Dr. Richner, all the treatment is free so that doctor's do no exploit the poor by charging them exorbitant fees. In fact, if the doctor asks the patient for a future appointment, the hospital even pays the travel bills! Of the huge amount of money needed to run these hospitals, the Cambodian and Swiss governments pay about 20%, with rest raised by private donors through Dr. Richner's untiring efforts. Just the cello concerts raise almost USD 5 million a year for the hospitals !
With a big disdain for WHO's policy, which he says is resulting a passive genocide, Dr. Richner has brought the latest medical equipment to the Kantha Bopha hospitals and has made several significant medical discoveries as well. He says that third world countries too need the first world medical care!
Dr. Beat Richner aka Beatocello, continues his journey to care for the children in his adopted nation. His passion is driving the treatment of over 90% of Cambodia's children today!
I like lurking in the dark alleys of the web and bragging about my latest finds. I believe that technology has the power to bring positive social change and am excited about discovering new ways to use the web for a public movement. In the past, I have volunteered for a number of non-profit organiza.....read more