Posted by Julia:
We are back in Phnom Penh, due to the fact both of us are feeling “a little off form” today due to the “food poisoning” we haven’t done much. We had planned to visit the temple and maybe check out the Russian market, instead we have had an afternoon of chilling out. Here are a few pics:
While eating my lunch in a cosy roadside cafe (while Megan slept) I watched life go by in the city. I watched the tuk tuk and moto drivers waiting for their next ride, I watched the homeless kids playing in the street and tourists wandering around fending off kids trying to sell them books or sunglasses. I really like Cambodia but it is probably the hardest place I have visited so far because the poverty is so bad.
I learnt today that one in eight children in Cambodia die before their 5th birthday, mostly due to preventable causes and that 34% of the population live on less than $1USD a day. It breaks my heart seeing children forced to work long hours (mostly selling stuff to tourists) or worse, living in the street, begging and playing with rubbish.
I find the poverty so frustrating; I feel I need to do something to help but I don’t know where to start. I feel so helpless and even a bit guilty of the fact that my life is so rich compared to these people (rich as in – I have a good future, I have money, I have freedom and I am happy).
Many organisations advise tourists not to give money/sweets directly to the kids as it encourages them to beg instead of going to school. We have been giving the kids (in non-touristy areas) little gifts of toothbrushes, soaps and combs that I have been collecting from the hotels we stay at. We have both been giving to the various charity donation boxes while travelling.
If you read this and compelled to do something to help…. here is a link to a website of a charity that I like the look of: www.helpthecambodianchildren.org. If you have some spare $ perhaps you might like to make a once off donation (or even a monthly donation). Any donation (even if it is small) will make a big difference to these kids as an education will give them hope for a better future.
OR if you know some children who are under 15 perhaps you could encourage them to be pen pals with some of
the kids in Cambodia: ww.helpthecambodianchildren.org/?q=penpals.
OK that is enough from me. This is a bit of a depressing post I know – I promise the next one will be more
upbeat! : )