Cambodia - Kindergarten improves access to Education


Every day, around 2,000 tons of waste from Phnom Penh are dumped on the Dangkor municipal landfill site. Day and night, around 200 waste-picker families sift through the piles of rubbish in unbearable working conditions: temeratures of between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, clouds of dust, smoke and a terrible stench. They sell the scrap to intermediaries beceause, as waste-pickers, they have no direct access to reception points for recyclable scrap. The sales proceeds are their only source of income to support their families. As the earn little more than one Euro per day, all members of the family, inlcuding children, have to work at the site in order to be able to pay for minimum basic necessities.

Knorr-Bremse Global Care wants to give these children the chance to receive an education and experience some normality away from the landfill site, and has been supporting the SOMERSAULT kindergarten in Phnom Penh since 2015. The 35 protégés are picked up every morning, and can use the washing facilities at the kindergarten and eat balanced meals. Up till 4 p.m. they are alloewd to be children - to play free from worries and to learn things along the way. COMPED, the loacl organziation implementing the project, uses a hilistic approach to teach basic knowledge about hygiene and nutrition and impart an awareness of the importance of education. "We are trying to encourage the parents to let their children come to the kindergarten regularly," says Kim Heng, the COMPED project manager. "It can be difficult sometimes, even though they can see for themselves that the children are becoming stronger and healthier, can communicate better and have better social skills. As soon as a special load of rubbish arrives, it's often more important for the family income to have everyone there to help."

Some of the older children now go to school, where they struggle with the social stigma - in their dealings with other children and with the school authorities. A care center has been built onto the kindergarten to give the school-schildren a safe place to go where they can get help with homework and are given schoolbags and uniforms. The access to a good education, the child-friendly environment and improved health are all geared towards one goal: giving the children the ability to break out of the poverty cycle one day.



Cambodia - Kindergarten for children of rubbish collectors

Main Focus: Education

Place: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Beneficiaries: 97 children

Estimated Costs: EUR 70,000

Global Care Project Supervisor: Julia Thiele-Schürrhoff

Partner Organization: Thüringisch-Kambodschanische Gesellschaft

Duration: May 2017 - December 2017