The Lighthouse sign, showing their old location! This old wooden building is used as a dormitory The new classroom at Lighthouse
This is The Lighthouse Orphanage outside of Phnom Penh, minus any children as I strictly adhered to their request not to take photos of the kids. It was painful being surrounded by playful children, beaming smiles, lots of hello's and waves and not snapping away with my camera, but I understand their point of view and we're in an age where you have to be so careful, especially with posting children's images on the internet. Anyway, I was there with Georgie, who's just taken on the mantle of chief fundraiser for the orphanage, which is seriously underfunded and only kept afloat by generous and ongoing donations by the founder Mrs Chea Savy. It costs $33 per child per month, and they have 70 children at the center. 25 of the kids are girls and the ages are between 2-17; all of the children are orphans or from families unable to provide for them or in vulnerable situations before they came to Lighthouse, whether abandoned or living rough. The center has ten volunteer staff and is situated on donated land and includes a classroom, dorms, kitchen, food-hall, sick-room, toilets and a mango tree garden. Its located about 300 metres past the Muslim mosque, just off street 369 in the village of Au Andong. Lighthouse welcomes volunteers and tourists, especially to their 3pm Sunday traditional dance show but it's wise to ring ahead and speak to Mr Lee (012 756 604) or Mr Rithy (012 683 597). The kids were a happy bunch, some of them doing their chores like washing clothes or cleaning the dorms, while others played volleyball and football and the girls hung around in small groups, talking about whatever young girls talk about. I left Georgie with two tiny tots on her lap and wished her well with her fundraising efforts.