We are a small, grass-roots organisation designed to create social inclusion for vulnerable families in the village. We are an Incorporated Association under the Victorian Consumer Affairs framework and registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. We operate in accordance with financial reporting and other accountability standards required of an Australian registered charity.
The centre was co-founded by a friend who had resided in the village for many years and has now moved on for family reasons. When he left, Sothea took over from him as Centre Director. Sothea’s empathy, tact, trustworthiness and work ethic saw him quickly accepted as a respectable authority figure in the village. As well as managing the day-to-day running of the centre, he takes the very best of care transporting our 15 children to and from the public school. He is well loved by all and has some great visions for the centre in the future. Classes in the Community Learning Centre are provided by Sokhean, a local teacher. Sokhean applies expert teaching methods and strategy to inspire and engage what can be a challenging student base.
We operate in partnership with the village leader and have the cooperation of the area police. We employ two women to care for the children and a 24-hour security/maintenance man. Our main support model is collective sponsorship alongside various fundraising events in Australia and one-off donations.
We have an arrangement for exclusive and long-term use of the land at the current site. With the help of some marvelous friends in the beginning we raised funds to build the small Community Learning Centre, two toilets, a bathing and washing area, a community kitchen, and a small office. We now also have a chicken house, a garden and a water tank and well.
We place the control of the centre in the hands of the village and local staff. In doing so we ensure shared ownership of making sure the centre is a productive addition to the community. Read more about this under “responsible in-country volunteering” in the “support us” tab.
There are many not-for-profit institutions in Cambodia which care for at-risk children. So why support us?
Our children go home at the end of the day. Their primary carers are within the family unit.
We believe there is never a good reason to institutionalise children by putting them in orphanages. Most Cambodian children do in fact have a community to live in. The village community is a vital aspect of South-East Asian culture and there are many different versions of the family unit. Some of our own students reside with families in the village other than their birth families because their parents are lost to them. These arrangements are reached among the families and the village.
There are no longer orphanages in Australia, and this is for good reasons.