Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), founded by Christian Gauguelin des Pallieres in 1995, has steadily expanded its activities and helped tens of thousands of Cambodian children from the former Stung Meanchey dump site escape poverty through education, food and clothing allowances, as well as the provision of decent accommodation and vocational training.

Although the French founder passed away in 2016 at the age of 82, his wife Marie-France Gauguelin des Pallieres and children – as well as her support team – continue to work tirelessly to help underprivileged children in Cambodia become useful resources in society.

In addition to providing new life skills through vocational training and educational programmes, which are based on the skills and talents of the children, PSE incorporates a variety of sports into its organisation. The organisation founder understood very well that playing sports not only helps children gain knowledge and experience in life, but also nurtured the dedication and commitment to obtaining their goals, helping them to overcome challenges and leading to success in their future lives.

Marie-France said: “We believe that sport is an event that contributes to nurturing the will and strengthening our children’s state of mind. PSE formed a rugby team in 2000 and since then, we have established football and volleyball teams, Kun Khmer boxing, petanque, taekwondo and other sports, to provide opportunities for children to practice after school hours and compete in competitions. They have gained knowledge and valuable experience, and our athletes have also won when they competed in various events in the past.”

Marie-France made the remarks as PSE hosted its annual sports event on May 29. French ambassador to Cambodia Jacques Pellet took part in the event to encourage the children of the organisation to learn to build new futures for themselves.

Cambodian Mixed Martial Artist Chan Ratana, football player Theary Chantha Bin and football coaches from other clubs were also invited to share their sports experience with children at PSE on the occasion.

The event featured football, volleyball, basketball, petanque and Kun Khmer boxing training, as well as performances by Taekwondo, Bokator and other martial arts practitioners before more than 400 entrants and delegates sat together and watched a friendly football match between a PSE team and Boeung Ket’s youth team.

In sharing the experience, Chan Ratana said: “I came here to help show the skills and techniques of Kun Khmer boxing to the kids. These are the foundation of Kun Khmer martial arts. Since we have only a short time, what I have shown is not enough, but I think it will give them a basic knowledge and understanding of Kun Khmer martial arts.”