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    Posted May 29, 2014 by
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    The Child and His Life in the Landfill

    This morning I woke up and as always, read the news and checked my social media. In Facebook, I came across this article posted by the founder of Project Enlighten, Asad Rahman. If you ever saw the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire”, you have a frame of reference for what life is like for some of the poorest children of the world. Unfortunately, the article spoke of a real child, Sophat, who is 10 years old but from the pictures seems younger and whose parents abandoned him in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Take a look at the pictures and you see a mountain of refuse and waste. You also see Sophat, a child who should be in school or running around with friends – having a childhood – learning to read and write or possibly kicking a soccer ball instead making a tiny shelter for himself in a landfill. Why a child, in today’s world, should have to survive like this is beyond words and comprehension. And while Sophat set up his little sanctuary, a backhoe worked nearby. If you read the rest of the story, you will see that Sophat works in the landfill.

    So, what can you do to help?

    There is plenty you can do.

    A number of years ago, I met Asad Rahman. Asad is the charismatic leader of Project Enlighten who with his supportive and caring wife, Olivia, and a group of dedicated individuals who serve on his board and work with him in support of the organization, have taken it upon themselves to help the people of Cambodia. I have kept up with Asad and Olivia through the years and their dedication to the children of Cambodia has never wavered.

    Project Enlighten, a non-profit based out of the United States, partners with organizations in Southeast Asia to help fight the ills that befall individuals living in extreme poverty. Specific to the people and children who survive in the dumps of Siem Reap, Project Enlighten works with the Volunteer Development Poverty Children’s School (VDCA).

    The program to make sure no child – including Sophat – ever lives or works in a landfill is called “Building Together for Cambodia”, which is a community project that was developed to provide a healthy living environment for people living in these deplorable conditions. As I read through the comments on Asad’s post, I learned that when he and Olivia visited Cambodia, they met 40 families trying to eke out a meager means for survival with the garbage as the primary vain of their existence.

    You can learn a little more about this project and the experience of Asad and Olivia on this page.

    However, if you are pressed for time, through the “Building Together for Cambodia” effort, they are seeking to raise $30,000 USD. This would accomplish the following:
    • Build up to 8 houses;
    • Install wells and water filters;
    • Build toilets and washing areas;
    • Encourage them to use the rest of the land to grow vegetables and raise chickens;
    • Secure a boundary fence;
    • Provide support and training opportunities so families no longer need to rely on the dump for a living.

    Personally knowing Asad and Olivia, I know they are kind and gentle individuals who are connected with the people of Cambodia and Southeast Asia and looking to serve them – even from their American home base. They both live and breathe their mission and calling in life for the people of Southeast Asia.

    I encourage you to check out their website and Facebook Page. And, reach out to them. They welcome getting to know people who are moved by their work and want to understand it better, and if you are able, see if there is some way you can help to make sure that no child ever has to live like Sophat.

    Please Don’t Forget to Follow My Blog at Living For Purpose™ and like my Facebook Page.

    Posted: May 29, 2014

    © 2014 Linda N. Spencer and “Living For Purpose™” all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda N. Spencer and “Living For Purpose™” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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