There was a recent story on 60 Minutes that looked at Cambodian orphanages and there was a focus on a couple of orphanages with poor conditions and allegations that they were not operating in the best interests of the children who were living in squalid conditions, without adequate clothing or food, and with no apparent security or adult supervision.
Kampuchea House is of a completely different standard to those represented in the story and anyone who has visited us can certainly attest to that.
At KH we have children who have no parents/relatives or their parents/relatives are unknown to them; children whose previous environment was unsafe to their physical well-being; children who may have one parent who is deceased and the remaining parent has no interest in them and, in many cases, is impossible to locate.
We consult at a local level in the first instance with the village chief to assess the child’s situation. We bring in a representative from the Department of Social Affairs to sign off on our actions once a decision has been reached to take a child into care.
We certainly believe that the best place for children is with their parents. However in some cases where the child is subjected to physical or sexual abuse, we are happy to take that child into our care and protection if there is no other suitable alternative.
We strive to create a family-like environment for our children by having full-time house mothers care for small groups of children. We provide our children with nutritional meals with plenty of rice, veggies, fruit, protein etc. They attend the local school and are well integrated into the local community. Their hygiene, such as brushing teeth, hand washing etc. is excellent. They have regular medical and dental check-ups. We provide outings to the temples, other cultural places, picnics etc., as well as holidays to the beach or other towns in Cambodia.
Sadly there are people or organisations which use children for their own benefit when claiming to do the opposite. 60 Minutes have told one side of the story. The other side of the story is less sensational, but has given children who had no-one to care for them a chance to have a better life and created many opportunities they would otherwise never have had.
The Australian committee of KH are all volunteers – we are passionate about doing the right thing by our children. All donations go to supporting the running of KH in Cambodia and our expenditure is completely transparent.
We thank each and every one of you for your support and trust this will continue in the future.