Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Cambodia:
On March 21, 2012, Alexis (GlobalGiving staff) and I visited Cambodian Children’s House of Peace in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Upon arrival, staff and Sathya, Cambodian Children’s House of Peace’s Project Leader, greeted us. We were led to the back of the center and sat on the stage, which on Sundays serves as a place for the children to perform traditional Apsara dance for visitors and tourists.
Signs hung that read “Peace”, since the organizations’ Cambodian name is “Santepheap” which means peace in Cambodian. Sathya shared his background, the beginnings of Santepheap, and its goals for the future. The current program for the kids consists of school in the morning as well as classes available in English, computers, dance, art, and vocational trainings like sewing.
After, the entire staff came to sit with Alexis and me. Each introduced themselves and shared why they came to work at Santepheap. First the “money woman”, also known as their head of finances, shared how it’s not just about the salary… it’s about a job you like. The rest of the staff shared how they were able to learn skills through the job and how to better take care of the kids.
Finally we toured the campus which consisted of: land in the back to be turned into play areas and maybe a garden, a stage and sitting area for the dance performances, the sleeping quarters, office area, and outdoor kitchen. The area reflected a typical Cambodian home. In the background during our visit, the chef and cook assistants were preparing food for the kids when they returned – chopping many vegetables and smashing by hand spices and herbs.
The challenge that Cambodian Children’s House of Peace faces is securing long term funding to stop functioning “hand to mouth” as Sathya explained. They would like to be able to create long-term strategy based on funds for new projects as well as maintain current ones. The new campus is located on a piece of land with much more affordable rent than their previous location.
Cambodian Children’s House of Peace is a local-run for local children organization. The organization was taking care of 33 children, majority of whom were away at school during our visit.
Preparing meals for the day