Kampuchea House (Australia) Inc.
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History

As can be seen in the photos below, the original facility which housed the children in Dom Dek was a group of wooden Cambodian-style houses on concrete posts. Dom Dek is a village in the Sotnikum district, about 40 km from Siem Reap. This is an extremely poor area and it was decided initially that it would be the perfect site to assist orphaned and abandoned children where there was most need.

This operation was run very successfully for 9 years. The children lived in family groupings of 6, each grouping made up of either boys or girls of varying ages.  A house mother was responsible for the running of each of the five houses, making the situation as similar as possible to that of a traditional Khmer family.

All meals and activities were undertaken in the Community Centre, with the house mothers responsible for food preparation and the children helping with small chores. The facility had its own independent water supply provided by water run-off from the rooves of the houses into rain water tanks. There were also two toilet and bathroom blocks, a small library, a computer room, a large play area and volley ball court, and secure fencing.

The children attended the local primary school until they were ready to start Year 10, at which stage they moved to the rented accommodation above the KH offices in Siem Reap, once again with its own house mother to oversee the running of the house, prepare meals etc, while they attended the local high school.

August 17, 2007
Land purchased at Sala Kor Koh near Dom Dek

Land

August 20, 2007
House 1 and House 2 commenced

Houses_1_and_2

December 25, 2007
House 1 and House 2 completed

Houses_1_and_2_completed

February, 2008
Toilet and shower block completed

Toilet & Shower Block

March 07, 2008
The first 11 children moved on site

First Children

May 2008
Solar powered water filtration system completed

Water Filtration

August 2008
Westbourne Mia Mia Community Centre completed

WMMCC

November 15, 2008
Children’s first holiday in Sihanoukville

Sihanhoukville 2008

December 2008

Front security fence funded by SMEC Foundation

Front Fence

January 2009
House 3 and library underneath completed

House 3

February 2009
Underground gray water system constructed

Gray Water

January 2010
Tiling of Westbourne Community Centre floor

Tiling

February 2010
Side security fence funded by Balwyn Rotary Club

Side Fence

July 2011
House 4 completed with computer room, library and study area underneath

August 2011
House 5 completed with sick room, staff accommodation and general area underneath.

November 2013

Orphanage1
Entrance

Orphanage2
House 1

Orphanage3
House 2

Orphanage4
New Toilet/Shower Block

Orphanage5
House 3

Orphanage6
Community Centre

Orphanage7
Playing Field

Orphanage8
Toilet/Shower Block

Orphanage9
House 4

Orphanage10
House 5

September 2016

In 2016 the decision was taken to move all the remaining children in the Dom Dek facility to attend primary school in Siem Reap.

* see the article “Major Changes at Kampuchea House” under the NEWS section

A house was rented for this purpose, quite close to the office and the older children’s accommodation.

There were several reasons for this decision:

  • due to the Cambodian government policy regarding the operation of orphanages, the Committee decided it would be imprudent to take on new children. As a consequence the number of children resident at SKK was dwindling.
  • this policy meant that there were now far fewer younger children in proportion to the number of older children. The number of children at SKK had been vastly reduced as the older children moved into Siem Reap and no more younger children were taken in. This would have necessitated the closing down of some of the houses at the SKK facility, and made the running of the operation there too costly.
  • the level of teaching at the local primary school in the Sotnikum district had greatly deteriorated over the years. The younger children would have access to far better education in Siem Reap, as well as being closer to the older children and, in some cases, siblings.

Consequently, in September 2016 the structure at SKK was closed and the remaining children, and those up to Year 9, were moved to a new house in Siem Reap. (shown below)

They are still looked after by two house mothers and are driven to the local primary and secondary schools. The house has a large pergola structure and garden, both of which are useful for visits by our school sponsors and guests. The children are happy to be closer to the extended KH family and are rapidly integrating into the city lifestyle, with many more opportunities for visits to museums and excursions available. Those who have relatives are still able to visit them during important holidays and religious festivals.