How it works:
- Situation: from 2005-2017, the number of orphanages increased by 75%. This is due to “businesses” which “rent” children from poor families ($25/month) promising families that children can get free education and food here.
- Set-up: ~80% of the children are not orphans and are poorly treated. Donations also do not go to them.
- Investigative report: an insightful report of life in such orphanages by Spiegel, as part of their Global Societies series that is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; as well as a video below by the New York Times:
Places to beware:
- Phnom Penh: Mekong River
- Siem Reap: Bakong area
What to do:
- If you want to help, donate to established orphanages, charities or reputable NGOs.
- Note that there are scam NGOs as well, with some established for money laundering purposes and others where bulk of donations goes into the owners’ pockets.