Cambodia is not only known for being one of poorest countries in South-East Asia and for the decades of civil war, but now it is known for something that will hinder the countries development for years; corruption.
Corruption is present from high level officials down to school teachers. Though some corruption is out of necessity (Teachers not earning enough money to support themselves and their families) a lot of it is all about making extra money.
One type of corruption that we want to make you aware of is “orphanage” corruption.
Many organisations that are called “orphanages” or called “non-profit organisations” are a scam to take money and time from good intentioned tourists and volunteers wanting to help Cambodia.
We are not trying to scare you away from helping Cambodia, but we want to help you make the right decision on where to volunteer.
Some signs that a director or organisation is corrupt are quite obvious:
- Analyse the director: Watch the way the children and the staff interact with him/her. It is important for NGO’s and any place of work and living, that the person in charge has a good relationship with everyone else.
- See how the children behave: Are they happy? Do they look clean? Do they look healthy? Many organisations keep the children looking dirty, sick and sad so that you will pity them and give money. Some organisations just don’t care about their children. This is not right.
- Do the children work? Many organisations send their children out to the streets to give flyers and other organisations make their children dance every single night to raise funds. It may not seem like it, but this is child labour and exploitation.
- The UN guidelines for alternative care state that “Children must be treated with dignity and respect at all times and must benefit from effective protection from abuse, neglect and all forms of exploitation”.
- The last way, is to ask about the children’s family and if they have parents. If they say yes, inquire to why they the children are in the organisation, do you have siblings, do they ever go and visit their families. Some organisations give money to the parents of the children so that they can keep them and some organisations after promising to help their children and return them soon, never allow the child to see his/her parents again.
CDO Children and Development Organisation
At CDO, we know it can be hard to trust a small, local organisation, but you are are very welcome to ask us any question and we will answer you as soon as possible and also update our available information. We genuinely want to create a brighter future for the children of CDO and the surrounding community in Cambodia.
We stand against corruption in Cambodia.