Introduction / History
"According to legend, hundreds of years ago a crocodile caught the daughter of the king. The citizens went after the crocodile, but could not catch it. Because they were afraid to go back, they settled in different villages. They were called Khmer Khac which later changed to Khmer Keh. Some also went to the Thai border, where they are known as the Khmer Surin.
They speak their own dialect of Khmer, which is blended with Lao. Apart from their dialect and darker skin there is little difference from other Khmer. They relate and intermarry with the rest of the Khmer population." (From Peoples of Cambodia)
Where are they located?
The Kher Keh people live in eight villages in the northeastern part of Cambodia.
What are their lives like?
The Khmer Koh people have not raised vegetables or fruits in the past, only rice. That left them dependent on rice and meat from their pigs and chickens, and the frogs and fish they catch. They also depend on the food they can find in the forest. Change is slowly coming through a development program encouraging vegetable gardens so they can have healthier food.
Their wooden houses are built on stilts, with low roofs. The women usually dress with a sarong and a shirt or blouse, men
with trousers or a kroma. They used to weave and make their own cloths, but now they buy their clothes in the district capital. Some now also have motorbikes and even mobile phones.
There are schools in their villages, but some children cannot go to school because of distance or family work needs. Their education is very basic. Reading is difficult for them. (From Peoples of Cambodia)
What are their beliefs?
"The Khmer Keh are mostly animistic with Buddhist influence. Once a year, there is a ceremony where the spirit medium performs special dances to receive the spirits. The followers come to offer things like eggs, chicken, alcohol, money, or material
for skirts. When they are sick they either go to the spirit medium, who will tell them the cause of the sickness and what they must offer, or they go to the traditional healer." (From Peoples of Cambodia)
What are their needs?
"The Khmer Keh are very dependent on rice planting for survival. Those who do not harvest enough to feed their families must borrow rice at high interest rates.
There has not been much exposure to the outside world, but the district is beginning to
open up as accessibility gets better. This type of outside contact is new and the Khmer Keh are vulnerable to any kind of influence. In some villages there are groups of believers. The leaders are simple people with servant hearts, but they have very little training." (From Peoples of Cambodia)
* Pray that the believers can grow and mature in their faith and understanding of the Word of God.
* Pray for spiritual openness among this people group.
* Pray for Khmer believers to reach out to the Khmer Koh people in such a way that they will understand that Jesus is for all nations.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to flourish among the Khmer Koh people of Cambodia.
Text source: Keith Carey