Sunrise Cambodia is an organisation with a focus on Cambodia’s most vulnerable children and the communities in which they live.
Sunrise Cambodia is a registered Australian charity founded in 1993, which provides a home and residential care for more than 60 orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children and education for hundreds of children from poor communities. The children that come to us have often been trafficked into prostitution, slave labour, begging rings, illegal adoption rings, are victims of domestic violence due to parental alcoholism or drug dependency, abandoned in hospitals by their families, disabled or live on the streets to survive. As a result, they are in great need emotionally and physically when they arrive at Sunrise.
At Sunrise these poor young victims are rescued from their terrible situation in life, and provided a home, food, clothing, government school, medical and dental care, English, Mandarin and computer lessons, classes in music, art, dance and sport, but most important of all, love. We provide university studies in Cambodia when they pass Grade 12 and we cover other living costs outside Sunrise for these students. Some students instead choose to pursue vocational training courses in car repair, air conditioning maintenance, plumbing, electricity, printing, administration, management, hospitality or beauty. No one leaves us without a job and the means to live an independent life.
In addition, we support more than 200 disadvantaged community children from neighbouring villages. Their parents are often very poor rice farmers, who cannot provide their children a good start in life. At Sunrise they receive the same educational opportunities as our residential children and return home at the end of the day to live with their families.
Cambodia’s turbulent political history turned a once peaceful nation into a violent battlefield, leaving the country’s people on the brink of despair.
The civil war of the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the US carpet bombing on the Cambodian countryside, devastating communities and prompting widespread poverty. Shortly after, a brutal genocide instigated by radical communist leader, Pol Pot, saw over a quarter of the population (more than 2 million people) murdered or die from starvation in an attempt to advance political ideologies of revolution and eradicate the educated.
More than 40 years later, the deep loss of an entire generation is still widely profound.
Sunrise Cambodia first lent a helping hand in the early 1990s. Fifty-year-old Geraldine Cox was adamant to help a group of displaced war orphans living in appalling conditions close to the Cambodian-Thai border.
With very little resources, Geraldine gave everything she could to provide care for the orphans, giving them nourishing food, a safe place to call home, the opportunity for an education and the nurturing love of a mother. Within a short period, Geraldine was able to build outstanding rapport with the local community. As her charity work expanded, so did her vision, and she aspired to focus on rebuilding lives through sustainable community development. She overcame every possible obstacle and remained committed to her vision in helping the future of Cambodia.
Since 1993, Sunrise Cambodia has grown to support whole communities with healthcare and education so that families can prosper. With these resources, as well as the determination to rebuild their lives, the children of Cambodia are able to be optimistic for a brighter future.