To mark the 25th anniversary of the association Pour un Sourire d'Enfant, Marie-France des Pallières publishes an eponymous book
"Pour un Sourire d'Enfant" is the moving story, day by day, of an exceptional adventure... initiated by an ordinary couple. Marie-France and Christian des Pallières tell us about this extraordinary epic tale in two voices, through their memories and the pages of the diary they kept since 1996.
The summary of the book
Pour un Sourire d'Enfant is the moving account, day by day, of an exceptional adventure... initiated by an ordinary couple. It all began 25 years ago, in Cambodia, with a shock at the nightmarish sight of hundreds of children working like slaves on the Phnom Penh dumpsite. It was after the terrible genocide of the Khmer Rouge. Christian and Marie-France decided to help them and began by simply asking them: "What do you need?" "A meal a day and to go to school like the others" they replied. The association PSE (Pour un Sourire d'Enfant) was born, with the mission of protecting, caring for, educating, training children in a trade and supporting their families. Today, more than 5,500 children have developed into happy adults and 6,500 follow the various training programmes each year.
Marie-France and Christian* des Pallières tell us about this extraordinary epic tale in two voices, through their memories and the pages of the diary they kept since 1996.
* Christian died in September 2016, one week before the release of the film Les Pépites by Xavier de Lauzanne, a documentary about the history of PSE. This book is dedicated to his memory.
Three questions to Marie-France des Pallières
- What was the idea behind this book?
"The idea has been in the air to publish a book on the history of PSE. One day, I committed myself to writing it ... for the 30th anniversary, not imagining that I would have the time to do it in time for the 25th anniversary this year. But that was without taking into consideration the confinement that lasted most of last year... I started, bit by bit, to see, thinking I had 5 years ahead of me. I immersed myself in newspapers. And then I became passionate, moved to relive this incredible adventure." »
- How do you tell the story of 25 years in a few hundred pages?
"There were difficult choices to be made, especially when, after we had sent a first draft to the publisher, he asked us to reduce it further ... by a lot! We exchanged a lot, up to 7 different versions, and today the manuscript has been accepted! "
- Does PSE make money with this book?
"The book is published by Albin Michel. As an author, I benefit from the royalties which I have decided to waive in favour of PSE. But the royalties are not very high. This book is above all a way to make PSE known! For some, it will allow them to continue to live this beautiful adventure, for others it will allow them to discover the association and, I hope, to join the big family that we form to save children without a future from distress."
The preface is written by Frédéric Lopez, journalist and presenter, who was touched by the story of the association when he discovered the film "Les Pépites" (Xavier de Lauzanne, 2016), an adventure that "gives faith in humanity".
In October 2020, he also hosted a solidarity programme in real-time between France and Cambodia to introduce the association through the extraordinary fates of Marie-France des Pallières and the young Cambodians saved from hell.