Posts tagged ‘orphanage’
I met Noel a few days ago when I was riding to lakeside to meet a friend. It was late and there was traffic, mostly young people and students going out or going home. Noel was driving in the same direction as me, zooming past me now and again as my bike (my taxi) caught up to him. At the red lights (we were driving along Monivong, one of the few streets in Phnom Penh where the trend is to stop and wait for the light to change) we smiled at each other, a symbol of recognition.
Although many foreigners who live in Phnom Penh do drive their own bikes, it’s not a common site. Some (like me) take moto-taxis, but even seeing foreigners as passengers on a moto is less common of a site than seeing them inside tuk-tuks. Personally, I hate tuk-tuks, I find them slow, noisy and reeking of exhaust.
Noel shares his passion for music with children here by playing his violin in the orphanages. Throughout his repertoire, which is mostly improvised, he encourages children to try out the instrument.
We visited one of the orphanages today. It was in high contrast to the one maintained by The Sharing Foundation. Some of the buildings were in horrid condition, although with a cleanup and some maintenance they could be rendered acceptable (although by American standards they would still be in violation of health and building codes). The walls outside the children’s sleeping area were full of murals and the walls throughout the buildings were painted with bright (albeit soiled) hues of orange, green and blue. Of the 100 children who live at this orphanage most were in school. The few who were home came to listen….
This morning some of the teachers and I visited a project run by The Sharing Foundation 35km outside Phnom Penh city. Started 11 years ago by a retired pediatrician from Massachusetts, the project consists of an orphanage and several schools. The orphanage is home to about 70 children, many of whom have disabilities or HIV. The buildings that house the children (all but one who are younger than 7) are newly constructed structures with an exceptional standard of cleanliness. There is a nanny for every two children; attention is paid to health, sanitation, nutrition, and mental stimulation. The goal is to enable the children to develop into self-sufficient and positive adults who will continue the legacy of helping others. And on all accounts, this orphanage looked like a warm giant family.
Furthermore the orphanage is incorporated into the surrounding community. A farm share project was set up to help the poorer farmers in the village to cultivate land and earn money. About 65 families participate in the project today. In exchange for being given work, the families have to send their children to school (that was set up especially for them). Today the school supports over 100 students in grades 1 and 2.
The foundation also set up English, computer and sewing schools in the village, university sponsorships for exceptional and motivated high school students, and distributed giant rain water collectors with filters to replace the use of water from the arsenic contaminated wells. The funding for all these efforts comes only from private donors. So if you’re looking for an altruistic way to invest your $ how about sponsoring an orphan or village teen through university?