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Why Not A Family? Video online

The video I’ve been working on for the past year is online. The title is “Why Not A Family?” and the purpose is to raise awareness of better alternatives for the care of orphaned and vulnerable children. You can watch it here. The video challenges the idea that orphanages are really the best long term option for the most vulnerable children, and it suggests a better way.

 What would motivate someone to make a video questioning orphanages? Please watch it and see for yourself.

More and more you the conversation about orphanages is turning around the point that 80 percent of children in residential care worldwide have one or more living parents, and the vast majority have other living relatives who could potentially care for them. The main reason that parents and relatives give for putting their children in orphanages is poverty. The problem is that putting a child in an orphanage is often easier than getting practical support from either the government or any other source to keep the family together. It’s time to make a concerted effort to change that.

Would you like to learn more? Go to www.unitingforchildren.org and spend some time reading the articles by experienced …

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Apsara at Sovanna Phum, Black and White

Written by on April 16, 2013 in Photo Posts, Photos and Stories in Progress with 0 Comments

I had a chance to shoot at Sovanna Phum recently, a great place to see Apsara and other traditional arts in Phnom Penh every Friday night at 7:30. Most of the performers are studying at the Royal University of Fine Arts.

I always appreciate the energy and color, and since I have a good relationship with them (having helped out in various ways over the years), I’m allowed backstage and don’t have to pay.  My favorite performances blend art forms — Apsara, shadow puppets, and circus elements — with hints of modern style. I was pleased to hear some contemporary sounds coming from the traditional orchestra this time as well. It’s great to preserve traditions, and good to keep them alive, too.

 

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Phnom Penh skyline and construction

Written by on November 9, 2012 in Photo Posts, Photos and Stories in Progress with 0 Comments

The renewed Central Market with office buildings rising in the background

Intersection and construction near the Stung Meanchey bridge

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Waiting for mom

Written by on November 8, 2012 in Photo Posts, Photos and Stories in Progress with 0 Comments

Workers in Phnom Penh

Written by on October 25, 2012 in Photo Posts with 4 Comments

They were tearing out buildings brick-by-brick in preparation to build a new overpass.

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Poverty tourism versus positive, educational travel across cultural and economic divides

Written by on July 6, 2012 in Learning and Volunteering, Notes By The Way with 7 Comments

I appreciate this graphic via Staying For Tea, but it’s important to understand the context. The original intent was to show that a variety of programs and activities get lumped together, fairly or unfairly, under the negative label of poverty tourism.

Now poverty tourism is a horrible term, and I want nothing to do with it. “Poverty” as a destination is reductive and degrading of people, as if people in poverty, or who happen to own homes in slums, were all the same–or poor in every aspect of their lives. “Tourism” implies a consumer experience that can be bought and sold. “Poverty tourism” suggests we can turn the plight of people in need into an experience travelers can (comfortably and passively) purchase.  In practice, poverty tourism often means groups of people who consider themselves wealthy and enlightened traipsing through communities they consider poor and taking pictures of everything in sight.

ALL of the activities above, even when they’re sincerely enacted, may include poverty tourism in its worst forms, but they don’t all have to turn out that way.  I think some of the activities could be moved to a new chart under a new umbrella, such as: Opportunities for

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