About

Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT)

CCT is working to build a public social protection system in Cambodia, run by local communities, to dismantle the structural root causes of poverty with an upstream initiative called The Village Hive Project.

Based in Battambang, Cambodia, the Village Hive is built on a foundation of collaborative community engagements with the goal of eliminating dependence on charity and restoring local sovereignty.

The Village Hive strengthens universal public services and establishes early intervention public programs. By prioritising these safeguards, the Village Hive raises the standard of living for entire communities and empowers Cambodian people to rise to the challenge of transforming their own world.

Our story

Our journey began in 2007 when Pon Jedtha and Tara Winkler established CCT to help 14 children escape from a corrupt and abusive orphanage in Battambang.

Initially, CCT was set up as an orphanage. Upon discovering the children who were rescued from the orphanage weren’t actually orphans but children, Tara and Jedtha began the challenging journey of reuniting the children with their families. and empowering the whole family unit to escape poverty.

By 2012, CCT had become the first organisation in Cambodia to transform an orphanage into a family-based care model and has been leading the care reform movement ever since.

In 2019, CCT underwent an even bigger transformation. With a new singular vision to dismantle the structural root causes of Cambodia's orphanage crisis, the Village Hive Project was launched.

Today, CCT is working alongside local leadership to build a public social protection system, run by the community for the community, that will eradicate poverty and eliminate dependence on charity.

For a deep dive into CCT’s origin story, watch the ABC Australian Story Documentary, read Tara Winkler’s book and watch her TED Talk.

ABC Australian Story Documentary

Tara Winkler was just 19 when she set off on the trip to Cambodia that would change her life. After coming across an orphanage where funds were embezzled and young girls sexually abused, she set up her own orphanage in the city of Battambang in 2007. Seven years later, the organisation she created is no longer an orphanage and Tara is no longer 'mum' to the kids. In the four years since she was first profiled on Australian Story, she has faced dramas in her professional and personal life that nobody could have predicted. The story is introduced by fashion designer Jodhi Meares, a supporter of Cambodian Children's Trust.

TED Talk: Why we need to end the era of orphanages

Could it be wrong to help children in need by starting an orphanage? In this eye-opening talk about the bad consequences of good intentions, Tara Winkler speaks out against the spread of orphanages in developing countries, caused in part by foreign donors, and details the harm done to children when they are separated from their families and left to grow up in institutions.

Impact Stories

Since 2007, CCT has been empowering children and families to escape poverty. We have documented their incredible stories stories of transformation in our blog, youtube channel and annual reports.

Aug 2023

Shining a light on CCT’s Unsung Heroes: Fiona Donato and Trish Doyle

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Jul 2023

Mum’s unwavering determination to bring her child home

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Jul 2023

Reunited with her family after 5 years living in an orphanage

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Jun 2023

Mum’s incredible story of battling cancer to stay with her kids

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Jun 2023

Landmine explosion survivor builds thriving business

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Aug 2022

The Trojan Horse of Development

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May 2022

140 kids prevented from losing their education

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Jan 2022

Shining a light on CCT’s Unsung Heroes: Darren Sterling

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Oct 2021

Support from CCT prevents 3 siblings from ending up in an orphanage

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Sep 2021

Healthcare, home renovation and social work help a family get back on their feet – Roth’s story

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Sep 2021

Financial coaching leads to independence – Bot’s story

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Jul 2021

From the streets to a businesswoman – Sreyleap’s Story

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Jun 2021

A fresh start for his family - Sila's Story

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Jun 2021

Chomnor’s Story – an update!

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Jun 2021

Out of abject poverty – Sineat’s Story

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May 2021

Shining a light on CCT’s unsung heroes: Tessa Anderssen

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May 2021

Community rallies around mother and son – Chreb and Yeab’s Story

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May 2021

“Families are starving…”
Sinet talks to ABCTV about COVID-19 in Cambodia

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Apr 2021

COVID-19 is ravaging Battambang in 2021

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Apr 2021

Families belong together – Bormey’s Story

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Sep 2020

Education for a Better Future

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Aug 2020

Financial sustainability for families in Cambodia

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May 2020

Voluntourism & Volunteering in Cambodia

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Mar 2020

Should I Sponsor a Child in Cambodia?

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May 2014

ABC Australian Story

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Feb 2024

Siblings inspiring transition from an orphanage to independent living

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Feb 2024

Landmine explosion survivor empowered to lift entire family out of poverty

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Feb 2024

How Ratana's new business led to daughter’s thriving education

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Feb 2024

Mao’s journey from struggling to afford water to saving $400 per month

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Feb 2024

Breaking the chains of poverty: Poung's story

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Feb 2024

How community-centric healthcare transformed Sothea’s journey with HIV

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Feb 2024

The microfinance silver bullet has backfired

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Feb 2024

How an orphanage survivor thrived after leg amputation

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Jul 2023

From adversity to triumph: How Sreyta's life keeps getting better and better

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Social enterprise restaurant

Jaan Bai, meaning “rice bowl” in Khmer, is a social enterprise restaurant initiative of Cambodian Children’s Trust.

It provides employment for Cambodian youth, who benefit from a profit-share arrangement; 51% of profits go towards supporting the Village Hive Project.