The Ishikawa Ken Cambodia Friendship Association donated $500 last week to the Future Light Orphanage at a ceremony in Dangkao district.
The orphanage provides services for 287 children living without one or both parents. The children are taught English and Khmer, basic computer skills and trades such as sewing, weaving, and tailoring.
It was founded in 1993 by Phaly Nuon, who fled to the Site 2 Refugee Camp along the Thai-Cambodian border during the Pol Pot era. About 91 children were originally brought from the camp, where their parents had been killed. The rest are from rural areas where often they have been abandoned by their parents.
“Thai soldiers would shoot anyone who tried to look for food,” Phaly Nuon said of the refugee camp. “I saw so many children die of hunger and starvation.”
One hundred fifty children live at the complex, where their meals and housing are provided for. The rest stay in the surrounding countryside with friends or foster parents due to a lack of funding.
Many of the orphans have been able to find jobs after leaving the orphanage, said Nguon Sophal, a computer teacher at the orphanage. Most leave when they are 16 to 18 years old.
Among the major donors to Future Light are Japan Relief for Cambodia and American Assistance for Cambodia, NGOs run by Bernard Krisher, publisher of The Cambodia Daily.