STUDENTS at Les Enfants d'Angkor orphanage, in a meeting with orphanage
officials and the Phnom Penh Post on Jan 30, failed to confirm many of the
allegations made in the Post article of Jan 27.
After a meeting with
orphanage representative Kem Chanta on Jan 27, twelve of the students signed a
letter reneging on their previous claims to the Post that they had problems with
money, electricity, water and food, among other allegations.
Post was also given another letter - signed by six of the same twelve orphans -
disassociating themselves with the management letter they had signed just four
hours earlier. They added that all other problems, other than the complete lack
of water and electricity, were correct.
The Post is satisfied the
published claim that the orphanage had no water or electricity for six months
was inaccurate. The water and electricity supply during that time has been
described as intermittent, not unlike other areas of Phnom Penh.
meeting, an idea was proposed that a contract be drafted between the orphans and
the orphanage management, with final approval by the Department of Social
Action. By agreeing on rules and regulations, especially about what money and
rights the orphans should be entitled to, it was considered that future
misunderstandings could be avoided.
Orphan Roeun Kosal said that there
was a problem within the orphanage but more related to personal disputes. There
was nobody properly managing the orphanage, he said, while Kem Chanta agreed she
did not visit every day.
There were nominally two managers, but they were
not officially chosen nor did they fulfill their duties by consensus with the
orphans, he said.
The individual conflict was not between management and
orphans, and it was not a big thing, but "an abstract issue sometimes," he
Chanta alleges Yim Deth, one of the orphans who approached the Post
initially, is waging a vendetta against her because she forced him to leave the
orphanage for disciplinary problems. Deth says he left on his own
The Post was told on Feb 6 that the Social Action Department had
recently visited the orphanage, with the result that new rules and regulations
had been written as well as the appointment of an official manager and the
selection of an orphan to liase with both management and the
It had been claimed that food for the orphans was meager, but
Roeun Kosal said "its not really a big thing... it is not insufficient, it is
understandable but a small matter." Claims made by orphans in the original Post
article that the food allowance was 12,000 riel ($6) a day were confirmed - but
that usually fed 18 people, rather than 20 as reported. It was learned that the
orphans were also supplied with rice, dried fish and prahok.