A group of citizens recently joined together to raise funds, clothes, stationary and toys in Hong Kong to be sent to an organization in Siem Reap before taking a holiday to see Angkor Wat.
Together the Hong Kong residents gathered nearly 150 kilograms of clothes, toys, pens, and books, along with $1,600, which they hoped to send to 34 orphanages through the Working for Children organization.
“So many donations,” said Lingli Minji, who found the organization through an Internet search ahead of a trip and helped gather the donations. “We had to use the post office to send them in boxes. It is 150 kilograms, which we could not bring with our carry-on suitcases.”
Once in Cambodia, the group rented a bus to drive children to visit Angkor Wat and other temples, something the orphans had not had a chance to do before.
Minji said she and the others felt pity for the orphans, who lack opportunities and enough food to eat, compared to children in Hong Kong. She also admonished the Cambodian government for failing to provide for the children and their education, “because they are the future for their country.”
“This should be organized systematically, because they are very peaceful kids and we are getting worried about their education in the future,” she said. “They are so talented, but we don’t know what is going to happen in their future.”
Minji and her group were not the first from Hong Kong to lend aid to Cambodia. In mid-2007 and early 2008, a group of students from Hong Kong University helped students in Battambang province by digging wells for villagers.
Lingli Zhan, a Hong Kong-French citizen who also raised funds for the Working for Children orphanages, said she planned to raise money and stationary supplies for Cambodian children every year.
“When we were there, we gave them envelopes with addresses in France so that we could keep in touch with those kids,” she said.
Siem Reap Governor Sou Phearin told VOA Khmer he strongly supported the spirit and goodwill of the Hong Kong donors.
Education for all Cambodian children, including orphans, was a priority for the provincial authority and the national government, he said.