The Origin of our Project

Everything started with two couples from Vorarlberg, Austria and 4 very special Cambodian children. This is the story of our NGO and how the children’s village was developed. We – Gabi and Johannes Thurnher from Rankweil and Sabine and Martin Tumler from Dornbirn – were lucky to adopt 2 wonderful children from Cambodia each. They are our project’s roots – without them the greatest thing in our lives would be missing and the beautiful children’s village in Tani would have never been founded. Cambodia is a very, very special country on multiple levels: The country, where our children were born, is stunningly beautiful on one hand, home to so many friendly and open people, but on the other hand it is characterized by a series of events that had a considerable impact on the country: decades of war, fights, and genocide. Here you will find poverty, that deeply affects those that see it. There are children, that live on the streets on their own, that tragically die, because they don’t have access to important medical treatment or basic necessities, there are so many drawbacks that should no longer exist on our planet anymore. That is the reason why we founded our NGO „Tani – perspectives for children in Cambodia“ in 2008 with the goal to build up a little children’s village. In May 2009 we opened our children’s village in the commune Tani, which is close to the Vietnamese border. We wanted to give at least a few children, that lived in the poorest conditions, a lovely and sheltered home, give them the chance to go to school and to have access to education – to make a change and let them know that they too can have a bright future. They shouldn’t have to worry about money or food, they should just be able to be “children” again. They should learn very basic and important things about hygiene, agriculture and rice cultivation. Thanks to the help and support of so many special people, our dream became reality: We have reached our goal to create a clean, stable and family-like environment, to let the children feel safe, welcome and comfortable, to provide them with 3 nutritious meals a day, to let them go to school and therefore grow and shine – to basically give them a new and positive perspective in their lives. All of our children go to school and are furthermore tutored by teachers in the children’s village in English, Khmer, Math and more. Every single child is unique and special and that’s why we put a lot of effort in supporting and encouraging each one of them individually.

Growing up Since 2013 we are in touch with Don Bosco Kep, chairwoman Ursula Beyer and chairman Johannes Turnher have visited the training center many times. After graduating from Secondary or High School, the children can focus on many different professions, such as IT-technician, electrician and hotel management. With the education that they receive at school and the Don Bosco institution, they have great requirements for an independant and bright future.

The children’s village at a glance At the moment 27 children between the age of 8 and 21 live in our children’s village. There are also seven dedicated housemothers, who take care of the children’s physical health and sanity. A number of male workers take care of the agriculture, the animals in the farm, the safety of our housemothers and children, and do construction work. Eight teenagers are currently enrolled in a program at Don Bosco in Kep. Since July 2017, our children’s village is led by Mr. Nguon Veasna. His representative is Miss Chantou Pen. They are both Cambodian and grew up under very modest circumstances themselves. We also have volunteers from Austria or Germany working in our children’s for up to 12 months all the time. Their presence is very important contribution for our children. The children’s village is of course also supported by our little team in Vorarlberg, Austria and Coburg, Germany. We work voluntarily, taking care of the children’s village and making sure that the children’s village is financially secured.

The infrastructure in the children’s village There is a main house with an office, a class room, and rooms for volunteers and civil servants, a kitchen with dining room, a rice stock, four traditionally built Khmer houses for the children and wash rooms. There are about five to seven children in each house with one or two housemothers. Futhermore we have a little playground, a sports field, a garden where we grow vegetables, and a number of rice fields. We receive financial support by the children’s “godparents,“ the project’s partners, private donations, sponsors, and charity events. 

Remark regarding travel and administrative costs: Everybody in Europe works voluntarily, which means they do not collect any salary. Our travel costs are also paid by our private money and are not paid by donations.

Hermann Gmeiner

 "I know nothing better to help a child, than to give him a mother, siblings, a house and a village."

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The aim of the project "Tani - perspectives for children in Cambodia" is to offer orphans and children in need a life in a secure home,
access to education and the possibility to grow up in a child-oriented environment.