Home - a Cambodian story

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu

For every child in need of a family


It is a testament to the good in humanity that we are moved to action by the idea of children in need. A great many people in the world seek to help these kids by setting up orphanages, donating to them, or offering our time as volunteers. I was one of these people. In 2007, my team and I founded the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT) to rescue fourteen children from a corrupt and abusive orphanage in Battambang.

Starting an orphanage seemed like a great idea at the time, but we had some hard lessons to learn. First, we learned that most of the children in our orphanage had surviving parents or family members and were not orphans at all. Then we learned that, despite our best intentions, even a good orphanage was not the right place for a child to grow up. We began to witness troubling behavioural issues in the children due to separation from their families and life in institutional care. This is why CCT transformed into a community development organization. Now we run a range of family support, education, and social enterprise programs to enable Cambodian children to escape poverty, while ensuring the family unit remains intact.

Home is a story that shares many of the lessons we have learned along the way. In this brave and important story, Sao Sreymao uses powerful imagery to take the reader into the world of Po and Ti, two children who find themselves separated from their families and living in an orphanage - a story that will be familiar to millions of children around the world. Andy Gray’s photographs shine a light on the bonds of love found in traditional Cambodian family homes, which - sadly - children in even the best orphanages miss out on. As I am sure the readers of this book will agree, I believe every child deserves a family. There is a better way!

Tara Winkler
Founder and Director
Cambodian Children’s Trust

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