If anyone is visiting Siem Reap, please take time out of your day to visit the Acodo orphanage. It is a 2 minute tuk tuk from the night market/centre of town.
It really is a must see, every evening the children put on a performance of traditional Khmer dancing at around 6.30pm. There is a sign by the stage which says ‘The charity performance is the children’s life’. They make the costumes themselves and you can tell they love the performance.
After the show, they all come and talk to you, they want to know your name, where you’re from etc. The little ones all want cuddles and hold your hands, they play high fives and make jokes with you - they are amazing children really inspiriational.
It is a big pull on the heart strings but I am so glad I went. The sad thing was, there was about 10 people there all together watching the show… this is nothing compared to the ping pong shows in Bangkok which get full night after night, if only people could realise the importance of supporting the children!
Anyone interested in volunteering can do so here. There is a website to find out more, just google ‘Acodo orphanage, Siem Reap’.
I hope you will all go and visit if you’re in Siem Reap!
Thanks for the info, I’m going to be there in December so will def go see it/them.
I would encourage people not to go, or to at least do some research into ‘orphanage tourism’ before making up their minds; you could start here: http://goodintents.org/orphanages/hug-an-orphan-vacations-2.
Do you really think somewhere that’s supposed to be looking after what are no doubt vulnerable children and giving them a better chance in life, but instead makes them do a ‘traditional’ performance for camera-wielding foreign tourists every night, really has their best interests at heart?
I know it might seem like a nice thing to do and it can make you feel good to be giving money to what you imagine is a worthy cause, but think of the longer term impacts and whether you’re actually helping or exacerbating an unpleasant situation.
If nothing else, I don’t think you should describe an orphanage as a ‘must see’ attraction, alongside places such as Angkor Wat.
Excuse me, I didn’t get my camera out once and neither did my friends I was with. It was not advertised anywere we heard about it from a friend who had volunteered there in the past. I would never encourage people to go and ‘wield their cameras’ at orphans. I was only trying to raise awareness of a legitimate orphanage. I can’t believe you would try to turn what I’ve said into something negative!
I thought I was doing a good thing I really won’t bother next time
No need to get so offended; this may well be a legitimate place but there are lots of unregistered orphanages in Cambodia and across the developing world. In many cases the children aren’t even orphans, they’ll often have at least one parent still living but their families get more money by sending their children to these institutions rather than struggling to look after them at home. You must have seen children being led around Siem Reap to advertise their ‘orphanages’ to tourists; is this really helping them?
Please don’t let my post put you off supporting charities in the future - I was just raising the point that it’s important to do research, and things like this make me particularly uncomfortable. There’s a lot of information online about the problem if you want to read into it more, so believe me it isn’t just me turning what you wrote into ‘something negative’ because I have nothing better to do.
And you may not have taken photos but plenty of people do, so that they can show people back home the cute orphans they went and saved. I wasn’t referring to you specifically, but people who do this in general ... and trust me it happens; my friend volunteered at a home for Kenyan street children and everyday tourists would show up to spend an hour playing with the children and taking numerous photos with them, before disappearing back to their holiday resorts and never returning. She ended up very disillusioned about the whole thing, and after hearing her stories, seeing the ‘orphans’ in Siem Reap and reading more about the whole issue, so have I.
I see your point now - but this was the exact premisis behind me posting this in the first place. Whilst in Siem Reap we saw alot of child labour and fake orphanages getting their children to hand out leaflets, hence why I posted the name of a legitimate place, so that people who did not do research would at least have the name of this one. We were disgusted by some of the cons that go on regarding children so I was just trying to make a difference.