A visit to an orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Those of you read my previous entries know that I’ve just got back from my Cambodia trip, visiting tourist attractions in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. In the same time I have collected about 20kgs of stationery from my blogger and non-blogger friends together with mine to be donated to the orphanages.

Five bloggers Halimatun Saadiah, Backpacker Busuk or Fatt (thanks for spreading my entry into your blog). Allah sahaja yang dapat membalas derma ikhlas kalian, Farah Hafizah (Anggerik Desa), Dekdaa, Chawanna together with my dear friends Noor Ivana, Nik Jasni and ex-classmate Sophia Nadia have contributed to the collections.

Beautiful children of Cambodia thanking you guys for the wonderful donations.

I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. It was heavy carrying my backpack from Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Lumpur-Phnom Penh-Siem Reap and finally arrived at Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage after a six hours bus ride from the capital city of Cambodia, but I am more than happy to bring everyone together and also give those who cannot physically be in Cambodia with me a chance to participate.
Look at their happy faces. These children deserve a better education.

As I said before, I totally understand "CHILDREN ARE NOT TOURIST ATTRACTION" campaign by ChildSafe Network, to protect children from all forms of abuse.

When traveling in Cambodia, it has become the norm for tourists to be approached by children, requesting that they make a visit to their orphanage before leaving town. Generally, a visit would include a short performance or dance routine by the children, accompanied with a request for a small donation to assist with orphanage running costs. An entire industry has grown out of thousands of tourist visits. It is known as orphanage tourism.

Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage is not doing that. Totally not. All the children are schooling!
 Classroom without wall.

Nonfunctional computer room because of no-electricity supply.

A recent report into Cambodian residential institutions (orphanages) has revealed that tourist visits, despite tourists' best intentions, cause more harm than good. The report shows that orphanage tourism, often conducted by unscrupulous business operators, does more to harm, rather than help child protection, rights and education standards. Further, it is shown that this industry contributes to the separation of Cambodian families.

That is why I did some research before pursuing the donation thingy, hoping for a better purpose in my traveling routine. Before posting the entry, Help The Cambodian Children, I have contacted the director of The Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage, Mr. Chinsoka, known as Sok if my friends and I can donate some stationery for the children. He was very helpful and even explained me in detail and welcome any donations as long as to benefit the children.

Sok was orphaned when he was 10 years old. His father died when he was 3 months old - a victim of Pol Pot's regime. His brother and sister were also killed by the Khmer Rouge. His mother died when he was 10 years old. He then stayed with relatives in the village but they didn't take care of him. There wasn't enough food and he didn't go to school.

So he left the village and joined a monastery.While at the monastery he was able to finish school and get a job. He saved up and bought a motorscooter and was able to earn more money picking tourists up from the airport and taking them to the temples. In 2005 he took the examination to become a tour guide. Three days after taking the examination he met a tourist who would change his life.

An American tourist was so touched by the poverty she saw around Siem Reap, was so sad to see all the orphaned and abandoned children, that when she got back to the US, she raised the money to open the Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage in 2006. She asked Sok to manage it while she works in America to fund it. The home was established in 2007.

Cambodia is one of the worst countries in the world to grow up in. The effects of the Khmer Rouge are still felt today. The general level of knowledge and education is abysmal, largely due to the fact that the Khmer Rouge tried to kill anyone with an education.

Sok's story has touched my heart and in the name of Allah, I am doing this for an honest purpose, helping the unprivileged children. It was not my intention to take advantage on the children or doing any harm to them. To be honest, I really feel that I am doing the right thing because I have directly donated the stationery to the children. I told them that education is the key to success. I'm impressed that they can understand and speak a little bit of English. Thank you so much for the English classes given by many volunteers who have been helping Sok at the home..

There are 33 children who live in Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage at the moment aged between 6 years and 17 years. One of the children went to high school, and another two will be in high school by next year.

Volunteer from China
There were a couple from Australia and a university student from China teaching the children during my visit. That is why I did not managed to carry on with my previous plan to teach them Sumazau and Joget dance.

I spent about an hour to visit the entire home; where they sleep, cook, eat, study and wash their clothes... and from what I saw, apart from clean water and electricity supply, Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage need a proper kitchen, classroom, dining table and sleeping mattress.

If you guys are visiting Sok Cambodian Children's Sanctuary and Orphanage, I am suggesting you to buy pillows, mattresses, blankets, rice or even kitchen supplies. If you are planning to be a volunteer, I hope you have special skills playing with hammer and nails because I believe your help will be needed to repair their tables and chairs in the classroom.
 Transport to school

Basic kitchen supplies

 Cooking on a wood fire

Sok (right) who was not feeling well during my visit still has the energy to be with his helpers preparing lunch for the children.

Huge budget are needed to build a proper classroom, kitchen, bathroom, toilet and dining table. That is only my suggestion, but better if you go there and look yourself. These children deserve a better life... Trust me!
 Thank you gift from the children, gorgeous origami flower.

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Meitzeu said...

Very back to basic Cambodia.

atun's said...


LM,seronok melihat kegembiraan di wajah kanak2 d sana..smg pengorbanan dan susah payah dr LM utk smpai ke sana dan menympaikan sumbangan itu di berkati Allah..thank you gift dr anak2 d sana sgt mnyentuh hati..itu lah cara mereka menghargai sesuatu..walaupun hanya dengan sekuntum bunga origami..

dekdaa said...

Me turut happy tengok gambar ni.
1gambar boleh menggambarkan apa yg tersirat di hati mereka.
Mereka deserve dapat apa yg seperti kita dpt.

dekdaa said...

Ops lupa pulak.. sy ambil gambar tampal di blog saya & saya kreditkan sekali LM... just sharing.. bkn nak curi gambar.

Anonymous said...

tersentuh hati baca post LM ni...

LM the Traveler said...

sekali lagi terima kasih di atas sumbangan dan kepercayaan kalian... semoga kita dapat buat perkara yang sama di lain hari... insyAllah :)

anggerik desa said...

Thanks to LM kerna meympaikan sumbagan bagi pihak saya..amat hargai usaha murni LM..sgt tersenth dgn kedaifan anak2 yatim kat sana...insaf dan bertuah kite yg duduk kat mesia.thanks again!

anggerik desa said...

Thanks to LM kerna meympaikan sumbagan bagi pihak saya..amat hargai usaha murni LM..sgt tersenth dgn kedaifan anak2 yatim kat sana...insaf dan bertuah kite yg duduk kat mesia.thanks again!

anggerik desa said...

terima kasih LM kerna menjadi jambtan kami kat sini...sgt tacing tgk kedaifan anak2 yatim kat sana..moga kite dapt contribute something lagi untuk kanak2 disana....insyaAllah..

LM the Traveler said...

terima kasih juga anggerik desa... tapi blog u macamana nak simpan link?

Anonymous said...

I have read about your visit to the orphanage...
I am getting there next week with my frend and we are really looking forward to that. We are going to spend a few time with the children and Sok that we have already got in touch. Some further suggestion for us?


LM the Traveler said...

hi, paolo. as i said at the end of this entry i am suggesting you to buy pillows, mattresses, blankets, rice or even kitchen supplies for the home. RICE is the best because they really need it. trust me. u will feel guilty for not buying anything for their kitchen.

and the children are all beautiful and friendly. u wont regretting it.

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