Helping Cambodia

In 2012, more than 2.8 million of people visited Cambodia and the temples of Angkor Wat attracted around 1.6 million of foreign visitors. Many of these travelers are confronted with the sad realities of poverty, such as children selling paintings at the temples instead of going to school or disabled people begging for money, and feel the need to help. Siem Reap is famous for its amazing Angkor Wat Archaeological Park but the beauty fades away if you know that Siem Reap province has a high level of poverty. More than 36% of its population is living below the poverty line surviving on less than 40 cents a day.

Helping Cambodia 1

Causes and results of this high poverty are:

  • The people are unable to grow enough crops due to the shortage of land, bad quality of soils and inefficient use of farming techniques. Because of this the Cambodian population lacks not only nutrition but also a decent income to provide for their daily living. Many people living on the countryside don't have the possibility to support their children, which causes an increase in the amount of orphanages and child centers.
  • No or low education due to the lack of funding, schools and resources.
  • A lack of vocational or technical training.
  • Inaccessibility to health care due to the lack of money and remoteness. Especially in the rural areas the accessibility to hospitals and medical help is very low or not available.
  • No infrastructure makes is hard to travel and transport the necessities.
  • Disabled people and victims of landmine accidents cannot support themselves and their families.
  • People's afflictions caused by the preventable death of their relatives and by their own illnesses.

During your journey to Cambodia, you might want to help poor people but it is often difficult to support them in the right way. It's crucial to have access to information about projects and NGOs that are trustworthy and have a good reputation in caring and helping effectively. Tourists stay in Siem Reap only 3-4 days on average and with the information being dispersed everywhere in town it is hard to choose how and which project to support.

ConCERT (Connecting Communities, Environment & Responsible Tourism) can lead you to the right project that meets your interest. This award winning organization is a mediator between people who wish to help and a group of helpful and trustworthy organizations. Their vision is a Cambodia free of poverty.

ConCERT works together with many NGO's and other organizations that have projects to help the people of Cambodia and to reduce poverty. They have a wealth of information about many well-run projects based in Siem Reap.  Before getting involved it is best to pay ConCERT a visit so that they can inform you about the best way you can offer your support.

ConCERT's member organizations cover a wide range of sectors like education, health, childcare, women care and vulnerable people, demining, environmental protection, infrastructure, agriculture, training skills and handcraft.  You will be able to find a project that works in an area that matches your interests.

Helping Cambodia 2

How you can help us?

Visit the ConCERT offices, located only 5 minutes from Pub Street and the Old Market. Alternatively visit ConCERT at The Angkor Bodhi Tree Riverside Café.  Their friendly staff will be pleased to welcome you and to explain you the different ways in which you can help Cambodia.

These possibilities include:

  • Providing resources like materials or equipment, funds or a long term sponsorship.
  • Choosing a project, support it and promote it, while you are in Cambodia and also afterwards when you're back home. Set up fund raising events, build links between your community and them or start a support group in your own neighborhood.
  • Volunteering: Several of their member projects can use some help from volunteers from time to time.  They all have minimum periods so the longer you can commit to, the better.  They offer free information and advice about volunteering, and for a fee, they can arrange a volunteer placement for you that matches up the current needs of our projects with your skills and experience 

If you don't have enough time to volunteer they can tell you about the many other ways you can offer your support during your stay

Contact details

Visit ConCERT between 9h00 and 17h00

Monday to Friday

Phone: +855 63 963 511

Mobile: +855 92 353 211

Email:  info@concertcambodia.org

 www.concertcambodia.org

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Since an inappropriate way of helping can be very harmful to a community, please read below some helpful tips to keep in mind during your stay.

Schools and orphanages:

  • Children are not tourist attractions and there is much debate over whether visitors should be allowed into children's homes & schools
  • As a minimum you should contact schools and orphanages before you visit.  Check if they have proper visiting times with designated staff; do they have robust child protection measures?
  • Be wary of places allowing unrestricted access
  • If you want to support an organisation, ask what they need before buying-they will have a list of priority items

Street children:

  • Think twice before you buy something from street children or give them money. It's more effective to support organizations that work to improve their life conditions and those of their families.

Environment:

  • Water is essential for surviving and living. However, the demand for it is increasing in Siem Reap due to the higher number of visitors and people settling in the town. We should think about ways of saving and re-using water. Eco-tourism projects try to increase the awareness on this very important topic.
  • Dispose of your litter carefully. Efforts are made by the government to clean up the city. So please help us.

Local economy:

  • Buy local products. Like this you will automatically support the economy. Prefer Khmer over imported products. It is better for Cambodia since it creates a sustainable income for the poor people.

 

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