Orphanages – A Caution

We encounter many organizations calling themselves “Orphanages” throughout SE Asia. In many cases, these are at best a poor choice for caring for children, and at worst a place where children are held apart from their parents and their culture and used primarily for the benefit of the “Orphanage Director.”

A recent study by Columbia University found that nearly 80% of children living in so called orphanages in Cambodia have at least one living parent. Yes, the parents may be so poor that they are unable to care for their children, but that does not mean that an “orphanage” is an appropriate choice for getting assistance. In fact, UNICEF labels “orphanages” as the last choice among alternatives.

One of the organizations we highly admire in Cambodia is Friends International. Here is a video they published recently — titled “Don’t Create More Orphans.” If you are considering supporting an orphanage in SE Asia, please watch this brief, two-minute video first.

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Don’t Create More Orphans
And, just to further emphasize that point, here is video from a recent New York Times feature on Cambodia’s scam orphanages.
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Cambodia’s Scam Orphanges
And here is another video about “Orphanage Tourism.”
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Orphanage Tourism