Monday, 25 November 2013

Visiting the orphanage

Siem Reap is one of those places that can get you hooked. I've just returned from there. My third trip, in case you're wondering, which is nothing compared to my friends who just made their 7th trip.

When they got home, the first thing they did was to secure tickets for the next one in 2014.  Booking tickets a year in advance saves them quite a bit of money. Every bit that they save will mean they can contribute more to help the poor.

They've help improved the lives of improvished farmers by building wells and patching their homes, as well as buying rice and provisions. This time, we pooled together some money to buy new bunk beds and mattresses for the orphans at Savong Orphan Centre.

He's got a new bed to sleep on!
Some of the children here were abandoned or came from families that were too poor to bring them up. Some were rescued from abusive homes. If not for the centre, they all faced a bleak future.

But all you see at the centre are happy faces. Togged in old clothes brought by donors from all over the world, it amuses me to see boys dressed in marathon finisher tees or Brazil football club jerseys and girls wearing frocks and cardigans in the sweltering heat.
They are the most well behaved kids I've seen. During my trips there, I've never seen them bicker or fight. It is amazing to see 50 kids of all ages co-existing happily while eating, playing or studying. Even the handful of dogs living there wander happily in and out of the classrooms without getting in anyone's way.

The students from Xin Min Secondary School (Singapore) were also there to volunteer their time and services. This is their 7th year and they did such a great job in teaching and entertaining the kids with their games and songs, we heard nothing but laughter all afternoon.
Well meaning friends have cautioned me about giving away my time and money to orphanages in Cambodia. As with all things, it is our responsibility to assess and do our due diligence. So far, we're happy with the way this centre is managed. It is officially registered with the government of Cambodia and supported by an international team that contributes time, money and expertise.

Here is a good article written by Phil Cadwell, CEO of Savong Foundation. In Defense of the Cambodian Orphanage.

Today Savong Orphan Center (SOC) is home to over fifty disadvantaged children providing food, shelter, education and medicine in an adult-supervised setting. Children are taught discipline in their daily routines, each having to attend classes, clean up after themselves, and be respectful of adults and visitors.


JY69 said...

That's really nice!!! Glad to see help going to places that really need it!

Malar said...

You're just so impressive person Ting! Not everyone who have time would like to spent time with orphanage! ;)

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