Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Orphanages

Some visitors feel visiting an orphanage is a way to make a positive contribution to Cambodia, while others feel that orphanage tours do more harm than good. The largest child protection group in the country has asked that tourists not visit orphanages - the great majority of Cambodian children in orphanages have living parents, but the tourist demand for orphans results in these children being separated from their parents.
 
 
 
 
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Whichever view you hold, orphanages and the aid organisations that support them are a significant feature of the Siem Reap economy. Many are scams, so it's worth doing a bit of research on them beforehand. Some long running orphanages that have a good reputation are:

Cambodian Children's House of Peace
No.004 Phum Mondul 3, Sangkat Slorkram (turn right off of Charle De Gaull Blvd, just after the SOS School). The Cambodian Children's House of Peace (
www.santepheap.orgis an orphanage in Siem Reap responsible for over 30 children. The children of the orphanage put on a traditional Khmer dance show every Sunday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. to highlight traditional Cambodian culture as well as draw attention to the orphanage in general. A snack is served during the show. There is no fixed price for this event but a contribution is appreciated. 

You are still welcome to visit the orphanage at other times but prior arrangement must be made. Remember to wear modest or conservative clothing and be respectful (refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol) when visiting the orphanage. It is an opportunity to converse with young Cambodians. It is also possible to volunteer at the orphanage to help teach the children English. No experience is required other than being fluent in English.

The Sangkheum Center for Children
Chey Village (a few km past the airport on Highway 6).
The Sangkheum Center (
www.sangkheum.org) is devoted to orphaned, abused and neglected Cambodian children. Since 2001, the centre has been providing care, education and training for disadvantaged children aged 2 to 18 years. The children also received additional enrichment classes to supplement their public schooling. Besides donations, the centre also welcomes volunteers in the field of social work, health education, administration, website development and many others.

Children at Sangkheum Center by Steve Jurvetson

 
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