In a small Orphanage outside Siem Reap we work with an artist to teach the children how to create art.
These pieces were created by our travellers, the teacher and children on our June 2016 tour.
These are available for purchase to support the orphanage. Find more information about the project and the artist below…
80% of the sales price goes to the Orphanage (which is not government supported but funded by tour guides) and 20% goes to the artist/teacher.
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Cham – Our Cambodian Tour Leader tells us more about the orphanage…
What is so special about this orphanage?
The orphanage is one of the unique ones that I’ve ever seen before.
All the children are being treated like those with parents. They go to school stately, both public school and private school (English class) and they don’t have to walk because Mr.Sok, the founder, bought a car to take them everyday to school. They eat at the same time, and they don’t have to keep their plates, spoons and chopsticks with them unlike other orphanages where children have to look after their own stuffs and clean their own plates after having meal. This orphanage treats the kids like one family, they work so well together and are very organized.
Where the children come from?
Most of the children come from the streets and some come from single parents. There are cases where single parents, either men or women, whenever they meet a foreigner, they just get married and immigrated to live outside Cambodia without bringing the children with them, so they end up in orphanages.
What made Mr Sok open an orphanage?
Mr.sok, who is the principal, is an orphan as well. His parents died during the pol pot regime. So he is well aware of the feeling of being homeless and hungry and that’s what made him opened this orphanage to help as many kids as possible.
Where do they get the funding for the orphanage?
No organization or source of income that funds the orphanage on a continuous basis. Mr. Sok supports the orphanage by himself from his work as Tour Guide in Sieam Reap and there are volunteers who visit the orphanage and teach the children ‘English’ there. So whenever the volunteers wish to work in the orphanage, they will rent the room from Mr. Sok, and that’s how he gets the money to support the orphanage to keep going.
What did he think of the project?
It was his first time meeting Pheakdey, the artist, and he loves the concept of Hands on Journeys. That will not only build the skills for the children at the orphanage but also support the orphanage to make it a better place for the children.
Why do we take travellers there?
It’s about giving our time. Part of the tour funds are used to provide the painting tools and hire Pheakdey to teach the children painting classes. While at the village, the travellers get to interact with the children and learn of their style of living, assist towards their future and above all, give them hope.
Cham tells us more about Pheakdey, our talented teacher..
Pheakdey lost his parents at a very young age (They died in the landmine by memory and he doesn’t remember much of them). He was brought up in an orphanage and that involved him sharing room with other children and lived as one family.
Two years ago while he was driving his old scooter to work, he ran into an accident with a Tuk Tuk, and it was a serious one that made him lose his right arm. Three years ago, he met this beautiful lady who he got got married to and now he has a son who is 6 months old, but because of their living condition the son’s health is currently not so good.
When did he start painting? Why painting? How did he train himself?
When the accident happened, after losing his right arm, he couldn’t work properly and became disabled which give him lot of difficult time to live. The reason that he chose painting as his job is because he loves to paint and it’s the only job that he can do to follow his passion as he couldn’t use his strength to work and earn money any other way anymore. Besides that, after a huge tragedy that turned his life round, he told himself that he didn’t want to end his life as he has his beautiful wife and also because he believes that his faith is in his hand.
Furthermore, he didn’t want anyone to look down on him and his family. Because of this strong faith and the courage, he had tried his best to live and make do with what he has. In his own words ‘I lost one of my arm but my brain is still functioning and I don’t want to open my hand to beg money from others, that’s why I ended up becoming the temple painter’
What is his current status now, why is he still struggling?
This is the low season now, so there aren’t many tourists visiting the temple like before, so his business is not doing well, however he is not giving up. He started doing the oil paintings on a small tray to sell them at Night market and this will enable him to feed his family every day.
It was his first time teaching at the orphanage. Did he enjoy it?
‘I used to live in orphanage so I was so glad to go back to a place called ‘orphanage’ where I used to live and now I will be able to let these children start believing in themselves and transform them’. Having overseas travellers who appreciate his skills and hiring him as a teacher to teach the children – a dream he never thought of.
Is this something he would love to keep doing?
110% as he felt a strong connection there. He loves the children and wants them to enjoy their childhood life before they begin the next chapter of their lives i.e While living at the orphanage himself, he never had the chance of having so much fun when he was young.
Does he like the concept of Hands on journeys?
He loves the concept of empowering that allows him to use his skill and earn from that. It’ll keep him happy and being able to provide to his family. He calls the founder of Hands on journeys ‘Sister’ because he has a lot of respect for her. He is looking forward for the next group to come.