We are a group of people who live and work in Cambodia, and who are increasingly concerned by the boom in Cambodian orphanages, most of which should not exist. We have seen the number of orphanages increase as a direct result of the boom in tourism (RGC 2011). We recognize that most travelers, donors, and volunteers are unaware that they are fueling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good. We care passionately about child rights, and are angered by the increasing abuse of those rights in Cambodia, not least through the establishment and practices of orphanages.
We envision a Cambodia where every child grows up in a family environment, cared for by parents, kin, or neighbors whom they know and trust, who can offer them the long-term, unconditional love and support they need, as is their right. We hope for a Cambodia where all children can go to school like any other kid, live and play in a normal community, nurtured and protected by their society. Our vision sees the end of orphanage tourism; where children are no longer treated like zoo animals, where adults cannot exploit children as profit generating attractions, and where travelers are better informed about child rights and responsible tourism.
To provide a resource for tourists, visitors, and those seeking to volunteer in Cambodia, so that they are better able to make informed and responsible decisions about whether to support orphanages, and to understand the consequences of their decisions. More than anything, we want to help channel the good intentions of travelers and donors towards initiatives that provide more positive support for children, and promote family based care, reducing the separation of children and their communities.