Travelogue

Children of Angkor

I engaged Mr Phansy Ros as our tour guide to the Temples of Angkor and around Siem Reap area. I would recommend his service to anyone who is visiting Siem Reap with similar objectives like mine:

1) avoid text book reading type of tour. I don’t like to join tour but private tour guide can make your visit a better experience and better use of time.

2) tour against the traffic with less tourist ‘heads’ in my pictures

3) have the opportunity to extend helping hands to rural children with insufficient fund

Angkor Children (5)

Pause for a moment and stare into her eyes before reading on …

Angkor Children (8)

Learn more about the (English School – Angkor Rural Children Education Project) setup by Phansy Ros and funded by some donors like you. I got to know Phansy’s project before departing to Siem Reap, and Christine and I decided to give our two cents worth to assist within our capacity.

First thing I can help is to promote the goodwill of Phansy so that you can also ‘travel for charity’. Please do not mistaken this as visiting orphanage as tourist attraction. These less advantage kids are not zoo animals for us to ‘see’, but for us to care for.

Angkor Children (6)

The school started with the young teacher who use his own house as classroom to teach rural children English. The teacher was on the left with yellow color jersey and Phansy was on the right.

Phansy Ros and Teacher

The local government school offers free education but English is not part of the syllabus. Now the Phansy school project has grown to more than 90 children after 3 years in operation. In order to sustain the expenses (now solely come from Phansy and few donors), you could make a difference.

Angkor Children (2)

We visited the school on Sunday evening near dusk. The children were playing soccer in the field, happily chasing after the football without any rule (just pure fun). Since it was getting dark, we realize the area has no electricity or water supply. Half of the kids were bare foot walking and traveling in the dark. The school could need some fund to purchase more tables, or have the solor power, or have the washroom. Many of the children have to sit on the dirt to attend their English class.

Angkor Children (3)

If you are visiting Siem Reap, do contact phansyros@yahoo.com to see if you could do some good to the local community. Simple things like unwanted used clothing, English text books for children, fund to build sanitary and teaching facilities etc. may make a difference to the future of these children. If you have some spare time, you can volunteer to teach or offer your skills to help.

The parents of these children are lower income farmers in rural areas. The children were often force to quit school prematurely.

Angkor Children (1)

Many of the kids never use shampoo, or brush their teeth. The school started teaching them basic hygiene (like clipping nails), and more to be done to reduce illness with simple education.

Angkor Children (4)

While I am sitting at the restaurant on Pub Street, I couldn’t help thinking the Heaven and Hell that Phansy was talking about. Then I saw a poster with the slogan “Let the adults earn, and the kids learn”. Education is one effective way to stop poverty. In order to let the children focus on learning, we have to help the adult earn reasonable living so that young children could be students instead of labours.

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6 responses

  1. Agnes

    hi, i’ve contacted Phansy as i’m planning a trip there. In order not to waste my funds on something they already have, or have no need of, can you advise what I should bring for these children?

    February 20, 2012 at 11:26 am

    • Hi Agnes. The best is to contact Phansy what are the shortage items now. One thing for sure was they have enough supply of notebooks and stationeries (from few regional doners). The useful items would be used unwanted clothing that could be distributed to the children, hygiene related products are great. We added some local academic text books on our last visit. The school accepts cash donation too as Phansy is planning to build toilets for the school. Feel free to chat with Phansy to see what is a good way to assist. Appreciate your love and help. cheers.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

  2. Agnes

    Hi, just wondering if you donated cash to Phansy.

    Didnt have a good experience with Phansy. agreed on USD25 per day, but he insisted USD35 at end of the day. he went through our stuff when my dad and i went hiking. Told us he took a wallet as his was old. He has already transferred his items into OUR WALLET when he informed us. at the end of the day.

    He brought us to a over-priced restaurant targetting at tourists, costing USD 39 for a simple lunch. He prob earn a fat commission from it.

    he also hinted for money, and when we agreed to buy materials to improve the school, he insist we give him cash instead of buying the materials with him. dodgy.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    • hi Agnes,
      I regret and sorry for your not so good experiences. We donated some local text books and stationeries, and give him extra tips for the school. We purchased the things with him so we only bought what was really needed.
      I guess it is adviceable not to leave any valuable things in the car or in the hotel. Use a small lock to lockup the zipper if you really have to leave something in the car (in any country).
      Anyway, thank you for sharing your experiences so that we all can take extra precautions. Hope you still have a good adventure at Angkor.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  3. Agnes

    I sincerely hope you’d not advertise for Phansy Ros. This is what the school looks like, he removed all tables, studying materials, whitewashed the walls etc: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.110569929099738.18601.100004401944526&type=3&l=34c1904aa0

    October 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    • Hi Agnes,
      Thanks for sharing and updates. This is not an official school but the acting tuition teacher’s house, so I won’t expect too much to be like a school. Anyway, I heard that they will be moving soon because of the highway construction. The tuitiion school looked better than our last visit (to be honest).
      For visitors to any 3rd world country, my advice is not to visit orphanage and private schools like tourist attraction. Those who wish to assist can approach the association, and contribute your free labour in time or your donation in goods. So do take discretion and own judgement. Cheers.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:39 am

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