Humanitarian Group Launches New Website To Spread Awareness of Dangers of Orphanage Tourism

CAMBODIA, November 16, 2012 – A group of humanitarians who live and work in Cambodia has banded together to raise awareness about the negative impact of orphanage tourism and launched a new website dedicated to the cause, Orphanages: Not the Solutionhttp://www.orphanages.no/.

The purpose of the website is to educate people about what orphanage tourism is and the devastating affect is having on the children of Cambodia, many of whom are not even orphans. Most governments and child care professionals regard the institutionalization of children in orphanages as the very last resort. Unfortunately, in Cambodia it is increasingly becoming the first, mainly due to the increased demand from travelers and donors for more and more orphanages. Others are nothing more than money-making scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting tourists.

“The fact is, most travelers, donors, and volunteers are completely unaware that they are fueling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good,” comments the group spokesperson. Media Note: Because many of the most profiteering Cambodian orphanages have close ties with the government (some of those who have spoken out about this in the past have been threatened) the group prefers to remain anonymous for now.

The group’s spokesperson goes on to say, “Few of these people that are trying to help are actually qualified to work with traumatized or vulnerable children, so what we end up with is an even more dire situation than we started with. What we want to do through www.Orphanages.no is to help channel the good intentions of travelers and donors towards initiatives that provide more positive support for children, and support family based care, reducing the separation of children and their communities.”

In addition to educational materials, the http://www.orphanages.no/ website also contains a number of helpful resources for tourists, visitors and those interested in participating in volunteer work in Cambodia. The goal is to provide enough information that these individuals and groups are better able to make informed and responsible decisions about whether to support orphanages, and to understand the consequences of their decisions.

“We really want to get the word out about this important cause, and let well-intentioned people know that there are better alternatives and avenues through which they can help,” the group explains. “We encourage visitors to become educated about orphanage tourism, and to help us continue to raise awareness by sharing the information they learn here with others. The goal is to stop fueling the orphanage industry and find ways to support vulnerable children and their families, not split them up. The children of Cambodia, and around the world, deserve better.”

To learn more about this group, the important cause it represents, and how you can contribute please visit http://www.orphanages.no/ or email orphanages.no@gmail.com.

5 thoughts on “Humanitarian Group Launches New Website To Spread Awareness of Dangers of Orphanage Tourism

  1. The only challenge is that it seems to be an anonymous group with no way to contact them. But I am otherwise impressed and wholeheartedly agree.

    The biggest hurdle is to educate and inform the masses descending upon Cambodia who don’t really understand why visiting orphanages or spending a couple days volunteering is not always the most beneficial way to “give back.”

  2. Additionally, visitors need more specific ways to get involved and help out: something more clearly spelled out than what is currently on the website. This is a hurdle I have been mulling over as to how to address because it means making sure the opportunities and activities are well-managed.

  3. As a parent of 2 adopted Cambodian children, I agree with the intent of this warning for the casual tourist in Cambodia. My family visited Cambodia this last January, and during our visit we did visit a orphanage and school that we support year round and we also have sponsored children there for 8 years. This orphanage is run by a US NGO and has a native Cambodian staff. We were very impressed with the facility and school and my teen boys spent most of their time playing basketball with the older kids and talking in English with the High Schooler’s who had a ton of questions about life in America, music, TV shows, and computer stuff. My older son had his Ipod and showed them how it worked and they played angry birds which all the kids knew about, but had never seen.

    Cambodia has announced recently that they are very close to opening up international adoptions again, in line with the Hague Convention Rules. The ministry in charge is working very closely with the US state department to meet all requirements, so that adoption to the US will be reinstated. Those of us who have already adopted from Cambodia between 1990 and 2001 are happy that Cambodia has gone through the steps to meet the International rules to open Cambodia up and have it be done right this time.
    International adoption has a place if it is done correctly and lawfully.

  4. I lived and worked in Cambodia for 7 years, and was involved in this project in an earlier incarnation. I’m really proud of how it turned it, and proud of the information contained therein

    I strongly believe however, that for the site to be effective, orphanages.no needs to have an interactive space (that closely emulates your blog) so that people can share experiences, ideas, and information.

    I also strongly believe (as your readers have already identified) that the site should be more transparent about who created it, who supports it, and who subscribes to the ideas contained therein. To that extent, I think the site should not only list its creators, writers, financial supporters, etc – but it should also give a space to all those who support the creators to sign our own names – to act as an online ‘petition’ to end the further proliferation of orphanages

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