The Sombok Chab slum is in the center of the city and houses approximately 100 families. The slum is situated next to a garbage dumpsite and there are a least ten families practically living on top of the garbage. Each family has an average of four children, and 75% of all children are under 18 years of age. The majority of children are left to their own devices during the day. They do not attend school and are not taught about good hygiene practices. They suffer from recurring illnesses that are related to living in such close proximity to a dumpsite and they rarely have any health checks. The young people here are mostly unemployed and as a result many fall into a life of begging, petty crime and teenage pregnancy. This perpetuates a disempowering cycle of poverty from generation to generation.
The Young Leaders Centre (YLC) aims to combat this cycle of poverty by providing children living in the Sombok Chab slum community with a structured education. At YLC children also receive much needed classes in basic health and hygiene, leadership, and English, as well as enrichment classes in karate, Khmer traditional dancing, and arts and crafts. The centre additionally offers programming on other crucial topics, including presentations on reintegration into public school, and classes in life skills such as job seeking. Our DLTC program works in conjunction with the YLC, providing training to empower the large number of unemployed youth in the community who may not have any life plans, who experience or perpetuate abuse and violence, and who are also likely to have early pregnancies.
These classes and presentations are led by ACE staff and residents. Currently the centre accommodates about 80 children and provides different learning programs throughout the week for children, youth, and adults. The first year of the project has focused specifically on adult mothers and their role in encouraging their children to prioritise their education, health, and hygiene.
Residents in Sombok Chab Slum Community live on and beside the dumpsite.
Children do not attend school, and do not get the necessary exposure to good hygiene practices, nor receive enough nutrition.
A community assessment was conducted by ACE residents and staff in order to understand the needs of the community.
Children lined up for clothes donated by ACE.