Temple Garden Foundation (TGF) was founded in 2008 to support disadvantaged, rural communities in Cambodia.
To understand the nature of our work, it is important to understand the country’s background. Cambodia has a recent history very different to the rest of South East Asia. Cooperation and trust were disrupted in Cambodian communities during the years of the Khmer Rouge and the ensuing decades of conflict. This left a fractured society with a generation of leaders and knowledge wiped out or discouraged.
Today 50% of the Cambodian population is younger than 22 years old, 80% of the population live in rural areas and 72% live on less than $3 per day. Many cannot afford wells, latrines, medication or education for their children.
Working in the Chi Kraeng district, one of the poorest areas of Cambodia, the first project that TGF completed was the construction of a health centre, within the grounds of which were the ruins of an Angkorian temple. This became the inspiration behind the charity’s name, Temple Garden Foundation. Over the next two years, TGF built a school and set up infrastructure projects around water access and road repair – all in partnership with the Cambodian government and local communities. Today, TGF partners with 59 villages in Chi Kraeng, empowering communities to build a better future. We distinguish ourselves from the start by getting to know the villagers, understanding their community and focusing on available resources. Most of TGF’s staff are Cambodian, with local, on the ground expertise. Due to this, we recognise that any sustainable development and lasting change for Cambodian communities needs to be integrated in its approach – children will not attend school regularly if they are unwell – families will struggle to build household capital when they struggle with ill health – health education will have limited success without access to clean water and sanitation.
To foster sustainability, we try to change the typical pattern of village dependence on NGO’s and limited governmental support, by undertaking projects which maximise community participation and minimise external support – almost every project we undertake requires a commitment of resources from the beneficiaries. We operate with minimal overheads and running costs, so funds can go towards helping the poorest people in Cambodia through the provision of four interconnected programmes:
Water and Sanitation
Together, these four programmes provide an integrated impact to empower communities to take ownership of their futures.