People-in-Country Profile

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Mel in Cambodia


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Mel in Cambodia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,400 Mel-Khaonh Ethnic Religions 2.00 % 0.60 % No No   

Mel in Cambodia

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Introduction / History
The Mel people live in the Northern Kracheh province. They number about 3,000 people in the entire tribe. They live in an area which is down river from the Kroal people along the Krieng River. The Mel mostly live on the most accessible side of the Krieng River with a simple dirt track as their road to the main town of Kracheh some 100 km away. The Mel people are often the "middle men" for the remote jungle tribes and the Khmers who wish to buy their products. The remote tribes of the Kroal and T'moan will gather jungle products like resin and small animals and will sell it to the Mel people who in turn sell it to the Khmers for a profit. There are many comparatively wealthy people among the Mel and those who have military connections bring in Khmer loggers and traffic larger wildlife such as tigers and sun bears.

What are their lives like?
Most of the Mel are rice farmers and they raise cows which are sold to Khmer every year. The cows are left to graze in the jungles during the day and the brought back into the villages at night. The Mel are more assimilated to the Khmer lifestyle than other more remote tribes. The new houses which are built in the Mel areas all reflect Khmer architecture and village layout, and most Mel children no longer speak Mel. There are numerous and large schools among the Mel villages as well as health centers and government offices. Some work has begun on a road into the main Mel village of "Ralouh" which when completed will bring in more and more Khmers, and increase the assimilation to the Khmer lifestyle as well as bring more development to the area.

What are their beliefs?
There are a few Mel Christians in scattered villages and no organized church has been started, though work is continuing. Most Mel will claim to be Buddhist, and in the main town of Ralouh, most probably are, but in the outlying Mel villages there are few if any Buddhists. They all follow the animistic religion of their traditions. In the main villages, when Buddhism replaced Animism, many of the outside pressures have crept in. Karaoke parlors and prostitution are common place in the main village of Ralouh. In the outlying villages, the Mel remain traditional animists. They hold annual sacrifices where they can slaughter several water buffalo or cows as sacrifices, and more regularly for sicknesses or spells they will offer chickens and pigs for sacrifices.

What are their needs?
Though the Mel are in close proximity to the Kroal people, most development has taken place only among the Mel people. Probably because of their assimilation to the Khmer way of life, outsiders find it easier to work among the Mel than the Kroal. The condition of the villages is still much worse than most Khmer villages. Only the main village has access to any well water. Because of remoteness everything is expensive for them including fuel for plows, canned goods and tools.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-06-19
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Country: Cambodia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Kratié province: Kracheh and Sambour districts.
(Source: Ethnologue 2018)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Mel
People Name General: Mel
ROP3 Code: 115223
Joshua Project People ID: 18987
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,400
Population all Countries: 3,400
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
People Name General: Mel
Ethnic Code: AUG03z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Mel-Khaonh (3,400 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): hkn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Christianity2.00 %(Evangelical: 0.60 %)
Ethnic Religions98.00 % 
Other / SmallUnknown 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Mel in Cambodia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mon-Khmer     Asia, Southeast    
      Mel Cambodia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Mel in Cambodia          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Mel-Khaonh  
    All Religions                              

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