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In August 2015 my son and I visited Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.  We experienced a booming city of high-rises, luxury cars, and fancy restaurants. As we rode in tuk-tuk or taxi in the heavily trafficked streets, we could often see advertisements for newly opened business: fast food chains, convenient stores, cafes, and even international schools.  All this was what we expected in a high-speed growing city. But during our short three-day trip, we saw more.

In the middle of a well-to-do neighborhood, we walked into slum villages where migrant families live in tiny metal sheds; small children naked or in dirty rags wandering in the neighborhood. We visited a group of teenagers with HIV who lived together under the roof of a charitable organization; they were orphans since birth.  We drove past a garbage dump site where garbage collectors lived there with their families and built homes out of the mounts of trash next to them.  We drove around extensive blocks of a factory park where thousands of young migrants worked long hours with low wages and lived in small shabby rental units. Their unattended children were the targets of drug dealers and human traffickers who prowled around every corner to trap them.

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Such were the other realities of Phnom Penh. My son left, thinking he would never come back again, but he did, after two years.  I, on the other hand, went back many times since our first trip.  I came to know a local NGO in a province called Kampong Cham and supported a few of their educational projects for children. I also helped a group of Missionary sisters who taught children from the slum villages and the factory park. 


As I became more involved in Cambodia, I set up a non-profit organization, Charity Cambodia, in October 2017, in the hope of getting the support of people in Hong Kong who share my compassion to educate the underprivileged children of the poor and the marginalized.

Today, We have a volunteer board of four members: two directors; one member for accounts and finance, and one member for marketing and development.

By Maria Chu, September 2018