Why Siem Reap?
Cambodia is ranked amongst the poorest countries in the world. Destroyed by decades of war, civil unrest and political repression it has finally emerged from a terrible past. It is a nation fraught by social and environmental challenges, many of which are also global problems.
After the Khmer Rouge genocide and Vietnamese occupation, many orphans, disabled and homeless people were left uncared for. Today, The Royal Government of Cambodia would like to help but simply does not have the money to do so.
Siem Reap Province in the north western part of Cambodia is a paradox. Although it is home to Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site drawing millions of tourists every year, it remains one of the poorest provinces in the country. Over half the population live below the poverty line, which means the province is the third poorest in the country. Today many of the locals continue to suffer from poverty, illiteracy, human rights abuses, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Siem Reap was selected by the founders of the charity because poverty and illiteracy was such a major problem in the region. Siem Reap has some of the poorest indicators of education in the country. For example, 24% of all 5-19 year olds are illiterate and 35% of 20-79 year olds have never received any education.