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Fundraiser to help kids from the dump

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French NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant is holding a charity event to raise funds that will allow more than 200 children

who work at the Stung Meanchey dump site to continue their education after they are relocated in June

PHOTO SUPPLIED

Children from the Stung Meanchey dump in a science class.

POUR un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE) is holding a blow-out charity fundraising event this Friday to raise money for displaced students from the Stung Meanchey dump site. Over 200 students will be forced to leave their homes when the dumpsite is relocated in June, and PSE is raising money to house them.

The Stung Meanchey district is launching a "waste management" initiative that will see the 6.5-hectare dumpsite - the largest dumpsite in Phnom Penh - moved to Boueng Chng'ai.

Currently, countless families live in and around the dumpsite, many of them making their livelihood by sifting through tonnes of waste that arrive at the dump each day.

PSE provides food, shelter, education, vocational training and health care to approximately 6,600 students living on the site.

Approximately 200 students who are currently attending either public schools, "catch-up schools" or vocational training classes will be uprooted and forced to leave their education behind when the Stung Meanchey dump site is moved.

 "They don't have anywhere to go.... Some parents go to the provinces and leave the children here. That's why we have to find the best way to help them finish their education ...  when the government moves the dump site," said La Vibol, director of vocation training at PSE and organiser of Friday's charity fundraiser.

"We have to build a house for them, or rent someplace. We have to find a way to help them until the end of the academic year in August," La Vibol said.

PSE aims to raise US$10,000 at Friday night's charity fundraiser. They hope this will be enough to see the displaced children through until August.

At the conclusion of the school year, PSE will reassess its annual budget and hopes to work with the international NGO Habitat for Humanity to create more permanent housing for the children.

Various local groups have offered their services free of charge for the event.

"They have a big heart, that's all I can say," said La Vibol.

The fundraiser will be held at the Stung Meanchey school and offers dinner, a concert, traditional Khmer dancing, a raffle and a fashion show. Everyone is welcome. Tickets will be sold at the door.

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