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Cambodia forum

Angor Association for the Disabled is a GEM!

Posted by garychrist on 10/3/2007 at 23:30

As a supporter and volunteer of Angkor Association for the Disabled since 2004 I am posting these comments regarding travelation's post of 17/2/07

I was absolutely shocked at reading travelation report on Angkor Association for the Disabled. I am asking everyone to disregard her slanderous and very misleading post. I was there when she was "volunteering" and I have a completely different view of the TRUTH.

According to the terms af this messageboard, I believe her post should be immediatly removed for defamatory comments. Comments that are pure slander. To say Sovantha, the extremely hard working director of AAD was MIA (missing in action) is enough to remove her blatently false post.

I live with the AAD organization for months at a time, and I see alot of volunteers come, serve, and go, many return. I will say I have never seen a volunteer like travelation. This Singaporean seems more than confused as to what a volunteers role is. Consistently waking up at 11:00 am then start complaining that we did not have something immediatly for her to do shows me that SHE wanted to be served, instead of having a servents heart.

I will not give credence to all her LONG winded rant about AAD, but I will defend the Truth in this regard: As I said Sovantha was never MIA, just the opposite. We were in Phnom Penh making several business meetings with high level administrators to release a container of humanitarian supplies from customs. This was a several day chore that took four trips from Siem Reap to PP. We now have the container at AAD, THANK GOD!

And there would be no theatre troupe if not for AAD (a registered NGO) housing and feeding them. The terms of the contract between the AAD and the manager are absolutely none of this "volunteers" business.

No organization is without faults, and I've volunteered at several, from Habitat for Humanity to Operation Orphan Rescue, and a few smaller ones, including hurricane relief in the US. But thank God for all of them because even with their faults, they are doing great services, with the help of true servent volunteers. Likewise, blabbermouths like travelation can destroy the good morale and reputation with slander, gossip and destructive behavior, in the guise of a "volunteer".

One other note, I have checked up on several of her claims, and I come to the conclusion that her words are nothing but inflamatory rant based on a very immature mentality. Besides the proper route to discuss complaints is a written notification to the offender, not putting false claims on the internet! This lady is an attention seeker, not a servent.

If you would like I can provide testimony from many real volunteers to AAD that will counter travelations BS.

AAD is doing wonders here in Cambodia, the eco-farm/commune looks like it is going to happen real soon. The demining machine of AAD will soon be tested, the woodworking shop is on line, and ten more disabled folks have housing since travelation stayed there. As well as the sewing shop, English classes, community outreach...

If AAD were ANYTHING like travelation described it as. I would immediatly pull my support and leave the premises. I love being there because I love to serve people that have done a great deal to help themselves. Sovantha is a living example of the AAD mission. From a zero to a hero is the only truthful line in travelations post.


Thank You,
a grateful servent to a wonderful organization
Gary Christ,
Technical advisor/missionary to AAD

PS I've been serving in Cambodia since 2001, I know what a volunteer is.

#1 garychrist has been a member since 10/3/2007. Posts: 2

Posted by garychrist on 11/3/2007 at 10:11

I made a typo in the spelling of my favorite NGO in Siem Reap. The correct spelling is ANGKOR ASSOCIATION FOR THE DISABLED. Their website is

Thank you for this interesting and informative website, very well done!

#2 garychrist has been a member since 10/3/2007. Posts: 2

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Posted by TonyL on 13/3/2007 at 10:55

I feel that Garychrist (Technical Avisor/ missionary to AAD - whatever that may mean) has "playes the man" but failed to answer most of the allegations raised by Travelation. Why avoid discussion of the distribution of funds for the Angkor performances; why no answer to the accusation about the discrepancy in the price of the car purchase or the "employment of the driver" to just cite a couple of points.
Any organisation - 1st or 4th world - that purports to be a charity should have a) a Board of Directors who are independently appointed b) the Board should appoint the Director and not vice versa, and the Director be fully accountable to the Board c) there should be a full set of annual accounts, independently audited and available to anybody upon reasonable request.
I have come across a number of "charities" in Australia, usually directed at various disabilities which have as their main beneficiary the person who launched the "charity". The AAD has many of the characteristics of those organisations - a small amount goes to "the cause" but a much larger amount goes to "administration" i.e. the organisers pocket. According to GaryChrists response much is "going to happen" at AAD but little seems to have actually happened.
I therefore suggest that you DO NOT PULL Travelations letter. I would also support GaryChrists right to reply. With both letters on file at least any future volunteers can weigh both sides and make an informed decision about giving up their time and energy.
For myself, having read both letters, my gut response would be to give AAD a miss without much more convincing evidence of its "charitable" efforts.

#3 TonyL has been a member since 19/12/2006. Posts: 46

Posted by BobinCambodia on 8/5/2007 at 18:02

Many local run non-profits seem to miss the idea of not for profit. They understate what they get out of it so it sounds like they work for next to nothing and then take a bit for themselves that they don't tell people about. The easiest way to find out is to look at the accounting. If a non-profit is unwilling to show any of its cashflow then it makes you wonder. I am not saying they need to disclose how much each staff makes but a basic how much went in last year and where that money went. If they don't keep records then I figure its best not to give to them.

I went to the AAD website and the need for money and why they need money was everywhere but how much they have gotten, how much things cost, and how much they hope to raise were all missing. I knew AAD pretty well before I decided it wasn't transparent as I think a non-profit should be. I would put it in the catagory of a man who started a non-profit to raise money for his personal projects. It lacks the oversite and structure that a good non-profit should have. The way it was run (it may have gotten better) would not meet the standard of a non-profit in the west. His projects were always a bit funny when you know the real prices in Cambodia.

I hope to see some proof that AAD is running smooth. The question isn't was the volunteer hard working or is Sovantha, the question is who oversees the money and how does a donor know that it is going to where they are told.

Look forward to seeing that fears are unfounded.

#4 BobinCambodia has been a member since 8/5/2007. Posts: 1

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