Photographer's Note


I took this at the infamous "Stung Meanchey garbage mountain" during my 18-hour brief stay at Phnom Penh last year. I regret that I cannot afford a longer stay due to my running-out of budget and energy that cut short my trip. May the following article give you a better story…

To pay off parents' debt

***part three

(Continued from yesterday)

About 10,000 people live in the slum that borders Stung Meanchey.

Relief groups say the dump is home to a large number of orphans who lost their parents to AIDS, prostitution or drug abuse.

The evidence can be found at the Center for Children to Happiness, a school about two miles west of Stung Meanchey, where 16 orphaned children who were brought from the dump now live and learn.

The school, largely financed by the Japanese government, teaches the children sewing, hair dressing, music, computers and English.

Their brief lives before their toils in the dump are told in the biographies that are posted on a bulletin board near the school's entrance.

Theara Chhim, 10, and her sister, Thavery, lost both parents to AIDS in 2000; Sambo Lon, 8, was abandoned by a divorced mother; Kunthea Nim, 10, lost her father to a land mine in 1997. That same year, her mother died during childbirth.

"I didn't like the work," Ratha Eng, 12, who lost both parents to AIDS, said of the dump site. "Some kids would hit and push me to get garbage."

Rith Preun, a girl of 12 who still works at the dump, is trying to earn money to pay off her parents' debt.

She wears a stained white blouse and a pair of soiled long pants. Her sandals are too big, and her hair, which bobs down to her shoulders, is tucked under a dusty, purple knit hat that protects her eyes from the scorching sun.

She carries a metal pick to help her poke through the garbage, and a white burlap sack that she uses to collect her recyclable goods. "I've been working here for three years," she said. Stitched to her pants waszap a Winnie-the-Pooh patch

(by David Barboza — The New York Times)


falves, nicol_g heeft deze opmerking als nuttig gemarkeerd

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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