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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry steps in after orphanage violence

Ministry steps in after orphanage violence

SIEM REAP - Social services personnel were called to intervene after violence broke out at one of Siem Reap's most prominent orphanages.

The Sunrise Children's Villages orphanage erupted in chaos when a group of boys, angered over the firing of a staff member and new night curfews attempted to take control of the facility, threatening orphanage staff with sticks and trying to batter down doors with hammers and axes last weekend, according to the head of the facility, Geraldine Cox.

Cox, who oversees the orphanage from Sunrise's offices in Phnom Penh, told the Post that trouble began when the Siem Reap staff member was investigated for being too lax in discipline and allowing some boys to leave the orphanage at night, allegedly to participate in gang activity.

"When that person was fired, some children began rebelling and blamed me," Cox said. "I had to seek the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs to remove these children to enable Sunrise to operate normally."

Cox said that she was advised to temporarily sleep in a hotel away from the orphanage for fear of violent reprisals from some of the children at the facility, which is operated by the Australia Cambodia Foundation Inc.

"Not all orphanages can always have all success stories," Cox said. "We certainly have had more than our share of successes, but we also have to accept that some of the children that come from troubled backgrounds are simply beyond help."

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