Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Visit an Orphanage

Posted by bhaulley on 15/5/2008 at 18:00

Posted from within Vietnam.

I work here in PP for an NGO, and I'd like to suggest to travelers that they visit an orphanage while in Cambodia. I suggest one that I'm familiar with, Cambodian Dump Children Center. That's right, they're dump children, orphans picked up at the city dump, living off trash pickings in one of the poorest countries in the world. You'll love the kids, and it'll change your view of life and position. You can find them on Street 103, about half a mile south of Mao Tse-Tung Blvd. Email me in advance, I'll meet you there. Bruce Haulley,

#1 bhaulley has been a member since 15/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by lennybruce on 10/7/2008 at 23:06


Am looking for just this kind of thing for my next visit, I hope in September. Also do you have a website for your NGO and this orphanage?

I have just put together a website to promote SR and AW and also to see if I can't help the man who was my driver last year get some more business. I am trying to put a lot of emphasis on 'voluntourism' in my links and the blog part. Thnks a lot. Oh, the site I am just got started is


#2 lennybruce has been a member since 6/7/2008. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 38

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Posted by bhaulley on 18/8/2008 at 16:50

I have been very pleased with the response I've had from my message on Travelfish. Many people from around the world have contacted me to visit the Cambodian Dump Children Centre. No one has been disappointed. Your reception will be heartwarming.

Since I am not always available to take people there, here are the directions. South on Monivong Blvd, past Mao Tse Tung, to Street 466. Turn right, and go to Street 103. Turn left, and watch for the sign about 100 meters.

#3 bhaulley has been a member since 15/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by brea on 25/8/2008 at 19:38

I went to the dump site with a charity last week. It is definitively an eye opening experience. and it should not be missed.

#4 brea has been a member since 5/8/2008. Posts: 6

Posted by lennybruce on 25/8/2008 at 23:44

Hi Longtail,

With which charity did you go there?

#5 lennybruce has been a member since 6/7/2008. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 38

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 28/8/2008 at 16:43

I visited an Orphanage that was just on the edge of Angkor Wat. I dont know how many people would see it right on the edge of the grounds of the main Angkor Wat temple. The orphans were playing musical instruments outside which I managed to video. I will try to upload it and post a link.

#6 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464

Posted by bhaulley on 5/4/2009 at 11:07

I am contacted regularly by travelers who notice this announcement, and no one appears disappointed by their visit. Meeting these kids is a heart-warming experience.

By the way, better directions: south on Monivong Blvd (a very big street) to Street 488 (not 466 as in an earlier message), turn right (west), to Street 103 and turn left (south), about 150 metres to a compound with a CDCC sign in front. Unexpected visitors are very welcome.

#7 bhaulley has been a member since 15/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by Suturn on 20/7/2012 at 09:56

Posted from within Vietnam.

I don't see a single good reason why average people should visit an orphanage, in Cambodia as in the rest of the world.
Actually, luckily, there's an association campaigning against this insane habit: here is the FB page

Children are not a tourist attraction, I believe many people go to the orphanages with this intention of "emotional experience" which is completely wrong from how I see it. We cannot use children to feel better with ourselves, to feel charitable, open-hearted or whatever. Another thing I really don't understand is this passion people have for photographing children. I'm trying to reflect about it these days... by which process a Person becomes a (photo) Subject? What's different in foreign children from the ones we see in our home town? Why do we want to photograph the former and not the latter? Isn't it just part of a big illusion of exotism?

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Posted by sayadian on 20/7/2012 at 12:41

Visiting orphanages and 'dump' children bring a sour taste to my mouth as I remember Fletcher's 'charity'.Anybody who wants to know the details should maybe google it.I think he's still in Thailand waiting for extradition to Cambodia? I think if I mention his predilection for the little orphaned girls you might get the idea.
Suturn, you are absolutely right.

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Posted by oscarcat on 20/7/2012 at 20:00

Videos of starving children playing music get likes.

#10 oscarcat has been a member since 11/11/2008. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 66

Posted by sayadian on 1/8/2012 at 03:43
I think this article says it all. Especially the 'do and don't' part.

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Posted by gwapo on 5/8/2012 at 08:32

I have to agree with Suturn. I noticed the posters everywhere educating camera-totting tourists that orphanages are not a tourist attractions.I concur.
I also have to wonder for how long this impoverished nation will be reliant on aid money and grants. Seems like every second foreigner is there on a mission with some NGO group to volunteer,look after orphans or teach English, frequently at their own expense
Meanwhile Khmer politicians and military swan round the country in imported $80k Landcruisers with blatant disregard to their countrymen

#12 gwapo has been a member since 4/6/2011. Posts: 49

Posted by sayadian on 5/8/2012 at 10:33

don't forget the customised Hummers.
Time maybe for Cambodia to stand on its own feet.There is definitely a culture of relying too much on foreigners to sort things out.

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Posted by fondo on 5/8/2012 at 22:21

Just say no to orphanage tourism.

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Posted by enigmatic on 9/8/2012 at 04:06

In defence of orphanage tourism "Fletch the Letch" would probably still be running centres for children today if he wasn't greedy enough to solicit attention from people that actually cared about children. I also don't believe that barangs are any more likely to commit acts of child abuse than entirely locally-run operations.

Streams of funny looking foreigners coming to chat to kids in an alien tongue isn't an ideal substitute for the affections of a couple of doting parents.
But, playing the devil's advocate here, what are the real alternatives in that part of the world? The kids looked after by tourist-targeting NGOs are probably less badly off than those who only have contact with overworked, underpaid staff for whom childcare is a means of subsistence rather than a means of enjoyment, or stern religious teachers determined to instil moral values, or their cousin twice removed who's delighted because now he has some workers to help pay for the education of his own children, people traffickers ,or people who'd prefer their contact with children didn't come under any scrutiny at all.

FWIW I did a brief stop at an orphanage in Cambodia because the driver (a reputable qualified tour guide) suggested it. Essentially it was children making souvenirs which are then sold on to sympathetic tourists. Apparently they get half a day of education too. :-|
I'm sure this is exactly the sort of organisation UNICEF is campaigning against, and I found the whole thing distasteful. But even then, it's possibly less distasteful than the million child postcard peddlers that fight each other to be the first to deliver their aggressive sales pitch; I'm not sure many children in that part of the world lead what could be considered a normal, happy upbringing.

#15 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by sayadian on 9/8/2012 at 11:51

True enough children get a raw deal often in Cambo.I've watched many times from Riverside as the ganger, boss whatever you'd like to call him gathers all 'his' children around him to take the money or send them somewhere else to beg.
On the other hand, look around at the high end cars in Cambodia, I'm sorry but where I come from, and that's in the affluent West, I don't see the numbers of luxury cars that I see in Phnom Penh.So isn't it about time Cambodia put in a taxation system to take care of the vulnerable instead of robbing them of their land.
Maybe I just saw a pig fly.
Still I struggle to see what the children gain from having a stream of foreigners passing by patting them on the head,handing out candy and taking photos.
All I hear is that it was 'a life-changing' experience for the traveller. What does that mean. Anybody like to throw in an interpretation? and is it going to help the kids?

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Posted by gwapo on 10/8/2012 at 07:03

I am in total agreement with you

#17 gwapo has been a member since 4/6/2011. Posts: 49

Posted by Staycambodia on 11/8/2012 at 08:25

Think twice before visiting the orphanage centre.

#18 Staycambodia has been a member since 11/8/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by altmtl on 11/8/2012 at 09:20

I agree, bad idea.

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