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About Us

Opportunities of development thru Art is a grass roots NGO established by Leng Touch in 2003. He & his wife, SryOn's objective is to offer a safe environment with the basic necessities of life, to disadvantaged children who have no one, or no one able to care for them.

ODA currently supports 33+ children at their 'Family Home'. It may seem a strange thing to say of a refuge, but the children under ODA's care here are really extremely lucky, as it is a sad fact of life in Cambodia that 2-3 meals a day and primary and secondary education are not enjoyed by many children at all - with hunger being a critical issue.

Leng and his wife Sry On perform miracles daily somehow making enough finances from sales of the children's and their art work, plus kind donations from visitors, to provide everything for the children The children grow up in a very happy carefree environment – quite alien to normal Cambodia village life today - where most children have to leave school at 9 to 11 years old to assist in providing for their family – if they are lucky enough to be able to attend at all.

ODA GALLERY ON SITE

ODA isn't a Tourist Attraction but a home stay education project for all the children. It is the children’s home and we must always be respectful of that. We are aware of the fine balance of the need for visitors to our gallery and the children’s needs for privacy and ask visitors to be mindful not to disrupt classes and assist us to maintain this fine balance.

Over the years Leng and Sry On have helped over 50 children to become productive members of society.

ALL CONTRIBUTIONS GO DIRECTLY TO PROVIDE THE CHILDRENS BASIC NEEDS.

How ODA Started

During the Pol Pot regime (Cambodia 1976–1979) between 1.7 and 2.5 million people were murdered. Leng was 10 years old at the time. His mother and sister disappeared and he saw his father murdered by soldiers . After Khmer Rouge by a chance in a million, his aunt and uncle found him and raised him as their son along with their own children. In later life, faced with orphaned children he said – "I must care for them – if not for my uncle and aunt this would have been my life. Someone must feed, educate and show them the way, like my aunt and uncle did for me. The 30+ children now in his care are among the 9% of school aged children lucky to receive Secondary Education in Cambodia. The children enjoy the luxury of a caring childhood and a full government education - including English, Computer, Art and Khmer Culture lessons at ODA while preparing mentally and physically for their future outside in the harsh environment that is still Cambodia today.

How children come to ODA?

Village Chiefs and monks contact Leng when they have children who are orphaned or disadvantaged – have no one able to care for them and need care and a safe place for them to grow up in. Most are malnourished when they come to ODA and many haven't attended school before due to poverty. Leng has a check process to ensure that their story is correct and the child really has no one to care for them before accepting them to join the ODA family. He also takes them to hospital to check their health, as many need immediate medical assistance.

When do the children have to leave ODA?

Like a family - children don't have to leave ODA but they are expected to share in the work & funding load to support the operations as they get older. Staff are not employed at ODA – everyone has chores to do as in a normal home – this prepares them better for a normal life outside when they leave. In the past they have left when they have found suitable work that Leng felt had a good future in it for them. Now he counsels all the children to plan for University and they are already saving their % of their individual Overseas Art sales so they will have all, or a good part of the fees- by the time they are ready to attend or seek further skill training. There are 2 boys now attending University and part funding this thru their painting sales - younger children are wishing to follow their lead.

ODA Objectives

Leng's saw his own father killed by the Khmer Rouge and was lucky to have his aunt & uncle find him and provide care and encourage him to strive for education. He feels very strongly for children who have no one to care for them and ODA Residential Care was created specifically to aid underprivileged children who are orphaned or disadvantaged. The main objective is for the children to learn at an early age to help themselves. This is achieved by encouraging development of confidence, life skills and a full education to ensure each child leaves ODA capable of being self sufficient and building themselves a better future.