Schools to brighten children's lives

Because it is simply intolerable to see children living and growing up on a rubbish dump, the "Pour un sourire d’enfant" association is working on a project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, aimed at providing them with access to schooling, healthcare and healthy meals.

Social and Employment

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Agnès Cossolini, Veolia

30 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/05/31

Project leader

Pour un sourire d'enfant

«  As a mother of two children, every day I am able to see just how much a sense of security can help children develop. There are no limits to what can be achieved with children which is why it is so important to provide them with an education and to teach them about hygiene, especially in an environment as hazardous and polluted as a rubbish dump. »

Agnès Cossolini

It all began in 1995… Christian and Marie-France des Pallières, a retired couple from France, came across a rubbish dump in Phnom-Penh and the children who live there. Shocked by their discovery, they decided to set up a school adjacent to the dump in order to provide schooling for children from underprivileged backgrounds.
On 20 May 1996, the "Pour un sourire d’enfant" association, with recognised charitable status, welcomed its first pupils. In 2000, it was awarded the "prix des Droits de l’Homme". At the start of the autumn term in 2004, just under 4,000 children were benefiting from the association's good work. But there's still a long way to go!
Today, "Pour un sourire d’enfant" has decided to work on improving state schools located in the district of Mean Chey, the poorest part of Phnom Penh, where 1,700 children receive schooling in three 8-hour sessions.

Construction and education

To this end, the association has reached an agreement with the Cambodian ministry of education. The association undertakes to provide the buildings, meals and healthcare for the children. The ministry is responsible for providing a sufficient number of trained teachers. In total, six schools are concerned by this programme which will also see five additional classrooms and toilet facilities constructed at the Dam Bauk Khpo school (1800 pupils of whom 300 in accommodation provided by the association).
"Pour un sourire d’enfant" is supported in France by almost 300,000 child sponsors. Thanks to its far-reaching activities, transparency and prudent book-keeping, the association has qualified for 30,000 euros in funding from the Veolia foundation as part of a total investment estimated at 90,000 euros.