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Our Story

It all started with an idealistic 19 year-old backpacker, a tuk tuk tour to an orphanage and a desire to help vulnerable kids in Cambodia.

In 2007, CCT was founded by Tara Winkler and Pon Jedtha to provide a new home for 14 children rescued from a corrupt and abusive orphanage. As time would tell, most of the children living in the new CCT orphanage were not orphans at all: they had families, and they missed them!

Discovering that most of the children in the CCT orphanage weren’t really orphans, coupled with exposure to the substantial research on the harms to children who grow up in long-term institutional care, Tara and Jedtha realised that they needed to change CCT’s model to become part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.

 

What’s the Problem with kids growing up in orphanages anyway?

Globally, there are 8 million children growing up in orphanages. 80% of those children are NOT orphans; they’re kids from poor families. In Cambodia, many children are placed in orphanages for the purpose of fundraising. Well-intentioned voluntourists, orphanage tourists and donors unwittingly create a demand for “orphans” to fill the beds of institutions. Crippling poverty which many families experience supplies the trend. This is the Global Orphanage Crisis.

What Tara and Jedtha did next

Realising that no orphanage, however well-run, could compensate for the love and care of a family, CCT changed its model from an orphanage to a community-development organisation which promotes family-based care and support services for vulnerable children in the Battambang community.

This is the organisation CCT is today. Every child that CCT helps lives in a family. There are many different types of families; some kids live with mum and dad, some live with aunties or uncles or grandparents, and some live with loving foster-care families.

CCT supports these families on the path to independence and stability.

What do children need? FAMILY

From growth to growth.

From an orphanage with 14 kids to a community development organisation that now supports over 300 children and their families, CCT's evolution has shown that it's both possible and necessary to learn from past mistakes and make a lasting difference in the lives of children, families and whole communities.

CCT has an unofficial motto: Once we know better, we can do better.

Tara talks about CCT’s journey and the problem with orphanages

Tara Winkler, CCT’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, recently wrote an article that was first published on Daily Life about the orphanage problem and how we can help keep children living with their families. Here’s what Tara had to say… Along with many other Australians, my tears flowed the day Kevin Rudd gave his momentous ‘Sorry Speech’

Watch: Tara Winkler’s TedxTalk

Tara Winkler’s powerful TedxTalk was the most tagged moment from the entire event. Speaking to a packed audience at Sydney’s iconic Opera House, Tara used the platform to drive home important messages against the spread of orphanages in developing countries, how well-intentioned foreign donors are contributing to driving the boom and the harm residential care

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