What is Sunrise Cambodia?
Sunrise Cambodia is a community development and children’s charity. It works on the ground in Cambodia to achieve sustainable community development and support at-risk kids and poor families. The charity is entirely funded by generous donors.
What’s with the name change?
Sunrise Cambodia changed its name from Sunrise Children’s Village in late 2015 to herald a new beginning for the charity. The focus of the charity moved away from the orphanage model towards sustainable development some time ago. We think the name change better reflects the work we do helping Cambodia’s communities and families as a whole.
How did Sunrise Cambodia all begin?
Geraldine Cox AM founded Sunrise Cambodia in the early 1990s. She first came to Cambodia in the ‘70s working as a secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh. It was a dangerous time to be in South East Asia with the Vietnam War spilling over into Cambodia, not quite the posting she thought she would get!
Cambodia has a heart breaking recent history – during the 1960s and ’70s, while civil war raged in Cambodia, the USA carpet bombed the Cambodian countryside. The communists won the civil war and over the next four years, more than a quarter of the population was systematically murdered by its leader, Pol Pot. The disastrous impact of this history on the gentle-natured people of Cambodia is still profound.
After her posting in Phnom Penh, Geraldine went on to work for the Dept. of Foreign Affairs in postings around the world before returning to Australia in the late 1980s. She worked worked in the corporate world for a number of years but decided to return to Cambodia, the country and people she could not stop thinking about. This decision came after a visit in 1993 in which Geraldine took in a group of orphans she found fending for themselves near the Thai border; they were the orphaned grandchildren of Pol Pot’s murderous regime after the civil war. So, Geraldine opened the doors of Sunrise Cambodia and became “mum to many”, taking in street kids, orphans and the disabled to give them food, a place to sleep, an education and lots of love.
The military coup of 1997 threatened the existence of the charity, but Sunrise Cambodia and Geraldine Cox persevered through this frightening and uncertain time to remain open to care for the kids and families of Cambodia.
Is Sunrise Cambodia an orphanage?
Sunrise Cambodia no longer uses the term orphanage to describe the charity and we expect you to not use this term when describing us. We began as an orphanage but have moved away from this model in favour of sustainable community development and support for families as a whole. Please describe Sunrise Cambodia as a community development and children’s charity.
Sometimes a village just needs some extra support to stay above the poverty line and keep their kids safe, well and at home with their family. It is much more cost effective to support a village as a whole than to institutionalise children. Much of our time and effort these days is finding the families of trafficked children and repatriating them home, then supporting those villages to offer education and health services.
There will always be some kids in Cambodia who need full time residential care. The Cambodian government now refers at risk children to our centres and we will continue give them a safe home and good education.
What community development projects are Sunrise Cambodia involved in?
Sunrise Cambodia engages in a number of community development projects that benefit thousands of Cambodians. All projects are done in consultation with the communities and their leaders. They include:
- Building new, insulated homes for Cambodian families to ensure they are safe
- Giving bikes to local kids in the villages so they can get to school
- Installing water pumps for villages so they have access clean water
- Bridge and roadway renovations to ensure villagers can travel safely
- Mobile hospital clinics and community health centres giving free medical and mental health care services
- Schooling and sports coaching, not only for kids in residential care but for kids in neighbouring villages
Where are Sunrise Cambodia’s projects?
- Sunrise Kandal was the first of Sunrise Cambodia’s projects and is the home of Geraldine Cox. It’s primarily a residential care centre for kids and has a school, soccer field, boxing gym and all-purpose sports court. Sunrise staff also engage in community development work to support local villages. It is located just outside of Phnom Penh.
- Sunrise Siem Reap is also a residential care centre with schooling and other activities available to kids in care and those in neighbouring villages. Siem Reap also engages in community development work with the surrounding villages, has a training restaurant on site and is developing some very exciting social enterprise projects!
- Kampong Speu is a community development project partnership with a local government school. It has a brilliant soccer academy that trains some of the best soccer players in Cambodia. This and the other sports programs have seen school attendance jump from 80 to over 600 students!
- Sunrise New Hope (Siem Reap) became a Sunrise project in 2016 after 10 years as an outstanding grassroots NGO. Along with its health care centre and community development projects, Sunrise New Hope has been giving free education to kids of the Mondul Bai area of Siem Reap since 2007 and now supports over 800 students.
How do I make a donation to Sunrise Cambodia?
Donations to Sunrise Cambodia can be made online using a credit card here. Donations can also be made by posting a cheque made out to The Australia Cambodia Foundation to PO Box 2266 Clovelly NSW 2031, or by calling us on 1300 894 591. Please contact us if you would like to donate by direct bank deposit.
Can I donate on an ongoing basis?
Yes, ongoing monthly donations are the lifeblood of any not for profit organisation as they allow us to plan around a reliable income. Visit our Donation page to register for ongoing donations.
Can I leave a bequest?
Yes, bequests can take the form of a specific amount of money or nominated asset (such as a house or other land, shares, life insurance or superannuation policy and other assets such as artwork or jewellery), or a percentage of your estate. Visit our Bequests page for a guide to wording and discussing leaving a bequest with your solicitor.
Can I bring items to donate to Sunrise Cambodia?
We appreciate the generous offers to donate goods, but please don’t bring bring items to donate. We prefer to buy locally to support the the local Cambodian economy. The postal service in Cambodia is also extremely unreliable and the cost of postage will often exceed the cost of purchasing goods locally. Visit our How to Help page to find out the best ways you can support Sunrise Cambodia.
Sunrise Cambodia may occasionally do call-outs for specific items if we are lucky enough to get some space on a container being shipped to Cambodia. These call-outs will appear on our Facebook page; you can follow us here. Please consider the timeframes given in these call-outs as we do not have the office space to house donated items received after the end date.
Can I donate or fundraise for specific projects?
Sunrise Cambodia is focused on raising funds to support our work as a whole, with funds allocated to where they are needed most. If you have the capacity to support the funding of major community development projects, please contact us.
Can Geraldine Cox come to my fundraising event?
Geraldine lives in Cambodia full time so she probably won’t be able to attend your event but it doesn’t hurt to ask. She is in Australia a number of times a year, so get in touch. Be sure to give us plenty of notice though.
What is The Australia Cambodia Foundation?
The Australia Cambodia Foundation Inc. (ACF) is supports a range of approved community partners that give food, shelter, education and health care to the people of Cambodia. Sunrise Cambodia is one of ACF’s approved partners.
Are donations tax deductible?
Yes, donations of $2 and over are tax deductible in Australia. Sunrise Cambodia is an approved partner of The Australia Cambodia Foundation (ACF), which has full DGR1 or Deductible Gift Recipient status in Australia. ACF is approved to give tax deductible receipts for donations to the work of Sunrise Cambodia.
Sunrise Cambodia has agreements with charities in the UK, Hong Kong and USA to provide tax deductible donations to donors in these regions. Please contact us for further information about donating to Sunrise Cambodia outside of Australia.