As the Kingdom celebrated International Children’s Day yesterday, university students and a team from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia took books and stationery to former child workers of Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey dump site.
A total of 320 books were given to youngsters by the visitors, who took time to play and sing with the children during a party held at the People Improvement Organisation’s centre yesterday afternoon.
Touch Sopor, a second-year student at Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said: “I want to make them feel that we care about them and their happiness, health, education and rights.”
IPO project manager, Kong Chanly, said that the organisation aimed to offer education and vocational skills to under-privileged people including street children, women and girls. Chea Keung, aged 35, who gives vocational skills training at PIO, said: “I have been working here since 2002 and it has improved a lot. When we first started teaching here we could only teach for two hours a day.”
Now the facility offers six-and-a-half hours of teaching daily, with lunch provided. Such developments have helped former garbage collectors receive an education.
Choun Danet, aged 11, moved to the area from Sihanoukville in 2009 and was forced to collect garbage at the dump for three months in order to buy food and shelter.
“But someone told me about the PIO and that they offer free school with lunch, so my parents send me to school now. I am in third grade and I want to be a doctor so when my parents and people here get sick I can help them,” she said. “This is my first time at a party like this.”