While we try to check our emails regularly, reality means that our replies might not be as prompt as they are in the corporate world. In between unreliable Internet connections, at times frequent power cuts, and of course more importantly physically running Green Gecko, our staff are often away from their computers. Here are some of our most FAQs and if this page can't help you, please feel free to drop us a line ... thanks in advance for your patience and understanding!
Truth be told, we didn't pick the children... the children picked us! The children at Green Gecko have all been involved in the project since the early days. Some began eating rice at local food stalls with us long before we even became a formal organisation. Many more came along when we opened our first centre. Most have a history together that stretches back before Green Gecko began, begging and collecting recyclables on the same streets, and sleeping on those streets or in the ghetto near the Siem Reap river. All of the Geckos have had to struggle for their right to receive an education, and have maintained this commitment and drive over the years
We recognise that there are limits to our funds, space, and the scope of the work that we do, and are unfortunately unable to take on more children into our program for this reason. We also know that providing a stable and safe environment has been crucial to overcoming some of the psychological and behavioural issues present amongst the children we work with, and that constantly introducing new children with very recent experiences of trauma and abuse would be counterproductive and disruption to this safe environment. By working closely over the long term with the 32 families we support, we believe we can best effect sustainable change and achieve our goal of breaking the begging cycle for good.
At Gecko, we think of ourselves as one big extended family. Like any family, this means supporting our kids for as long as it takes for them to finish their education and step out independently in their adult lives. Because many of the Gecko kids started school so late, many of them will not finish school until they are in their 20s, or even thirty. We don't have a cut-off age, as we believe an individual approach that takes into account each child's needs, abilities and interests will best help us reach our ultimate goal... to empower these children with the skills they need to break the begging cycle, for good.
We're not a religious organisation, although we respect the children's Buddhist beliefs as an integral part of Cambodian culture. We encourage the children's connections with culture and belief through various aspects of our program, including daily meditation and participation in Khmer Buddhist celebrations and ceremonies on major holidays, both with their families and as a part of our activity programs.
The Green Gecko Project is a Cambodian organisation with Khmer employees. It has been our goal from the onset to make our project sustainable and to do so we needed to strengthen the skills and abilities of our local staff. As a testament to our capacity building programs, staff training and guidance, we have now - after many years of hard work - proudly reached this goal; we no longer rely on or have positions for foreign volunteers to fill valuable roles. However, we know first hand how rewarding volunteering can be and there are some fabulous organisations out there that still benefit from the kind hearts and specialised skills of volunteers. Please go to our volunteer page to see how best utilise your abilities.
If you're only in Siem Reap for a short stay, we welcome you to visit Green Gecko during our visiting hour to learn more about our project. Volunteering doesn't just have to be on the ground either... there are many ways you can get once you return home, including holding a fundraiser, sponsoring our programs or raising awareness amongst your friends and family. We also recommend you check out responsible tourism opportunities such as those at ConCERT Cambodia as sometimes you can make the biggest impact during a short stay by spending your tourist dollars in sustainable ways.
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