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  Volume I Issue II    Perspective    November,1998

Orphanage in Cambodia

   My name is Youkimny Chan. I was born in Cambodia, but I now live in the United States since I became an American citizen. In 1975, I lost my entire family to the Cambodian Civil War and I became an orphan when I was 11 years old. I recently visited Cambodia from August 21 through September 18 of this year, I toured many interesting places in various provinces. One particular place that captured my heart and soul was the Children's Orphanage Center in Phnom Penh. At the Center, I witnessed the poverty and the unmet needs among those deprived orphans. The Orphanage Center was established in the early in the early 1980's after the Cambodian Civil War when many children were left without parents. It has continued its operation to the present day. Among the children who now live there are those who are either unwanted or their parents were too poor to care for them. Some infants have been adopted and taken to various countries. However, many children are not adoptable because of their age or disabilities.



    I had the opportunity to speak with the administrator and assistant administrator of the Orphanage. I learned from them that the Orphanage gets some of its funding from the Cambodian Government, non-profit organizations, and tourists. However, these sources do not generate enough funds to care for the children properly, maintain the buildings, and to adequately pay the staff. Many times the staff goes two or three months without pay. They come to work out of their dedication, compassion, and love for the children. The administrators also informed me that they are receiving many children on a daily basis and are continually over-crowded. Sometimes they simply do not know where to place the children. They have never turned a child away because they know that an abandoned child will not survive on the street. At the Orphanage, I saw children with many different problems: severe physical and mental disabilities, children with HIV, full-blown AIDS, Down's Syndrome, hepatitis B, and many others. Many of these children do not receive proper care and medication due to under-staffing and under-funding.

    As I walked through the building, I was moved by the fact that children were reaching their hands out to me for attention. I learned from one of the administrators that because of the shortage of staff personnel, adequate attention given to each child is very limited.

    I plan to visit Cambodia and the Orphanage Center again in the near future. It is my desire to raise some funds to assist them in purchasing food; such as baby formula, rice, etc. On my recent visit, I delivered toys, clothing, baby formula, rice, and money donated from friends and family here in the United States. If you are interested in helping these children, please contact me at (562) 420-6134 or write to me at

Youkimny Chan
3150 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach,CA. 90808

Youkimny Chan

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