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Raffles reaches out to youth

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Two dancers from Sunrise Children’s Village perform the fishing dance at the Raffles lunch event on December 21.

Staff from the 5-star Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor took the day off from entertaining wealthy tourists on Monday and instead served lunch to orphans and disadvantaged youth from Sunrise Angkor Children’s Village.

The 55 kids from the centre, aged one to 18 chowed down on pork curry, roast chicken, and stir fried noodles followed by Khmer sweets and vanilla cake. Before the feast, the centre’s Sunrise Angkor Performers put on traditional coconut and fishing dances. A successful Japanese musician will actually be flying the dance troupe to Tokyo in August to perform there.

The lunch and performance was part of Raffles’ REACH program supporting local children. Besides lunch, Raffles donated books, clothes, and school equipment to the centre, which is housed in traditional French buildings by the Siem Reap River.

Although not all the children at the Sunrise Children’s Village are orphans, all are lacking strong familial guidance. According to Robert Madsen, Cambodian operations manager for Sunrise Children’s Villages, the centre hopes to fill this absence.

“Our care program means that many of our staff are ‘mothers and fathers’ to our children. We have eight family groups of less than 10 children, who have a parent to help with everything a normal parent would provide,” he said.

Education is also a main focus, with every Sunrise kid that is of age attending local school. Twenty students are now studying English at ACE and over 30 kids are participating in a new computer school at the centre.

Sunrise Angkor Children’s Village is funded and managed by the Australia Cambodia Foundation.

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