Feeding the children: our first challenge :

Feeding the children: our first challenge

The children Christian and Marie-France des Pallières met on the Phnom Penh dumpsite in 1995 requested "one meal a day", in response a programme to feed them was immediately put in place to ensure that the children had a healthy diet and ate their fill.

The children eat on the dump under the watchful eye of Christian des Pallières, founder of Po

The children's first request was "a meal a day".

In 1995, Christian and Marie-France des Pallières discovered the municipal dumpsite in Phnom Penh where hundreds of children worked and lived. To feed themselves, they rummaged through the waste in the hope of finding something to eat."When I was too hungry, I would go to the dumpsite to eat.

"I would find rotten food and I would share it with my brothers and sisters", said Sinieng

Horrified by the situation of total malnutrition in which all these children found themselves, Christian and Marie-France asked them what they needed: "one meal a day" was the response. So immediately they brought food to the children, first on the dumpsite and then to a small paillote they had built nearby.

Even today, the children and youngsters cared for in Pour un Sourire d'Enfant's programmes come from extremely poor families who try to survive each day through  small-scale, temporary activities that earn little income. Without the association, they would not be able to eat a healthy diet to their fill.

Ensuring that all children have enough to eat

Because you cannot learn on an empty stomach, Pour un Sourire d'Enfant has always included at least one meal a day for each child in its programmes. The meals meet the nutritional needs of the children to ensure that they do not suffer from malnutrition.

A canteen operates in our Phnom Penh Centre for the children who study there. Children attending state schools, as well as those in our community centres in the poor outlying areas where our families live, also benefit from at least one meal a day, either brought to them from the Centre or provided on-site.

Children from the community service centres have lunch

The canteen is a real place of life for all those who live, study and work at the PSE Centre. Every day, it welcomes thousands of children who come together joyfully, shouting for a well-deserved meal that will give them the energy they need to continue their day.

The meals are simple - rice with vegetables and fish, meat or eggs - and are prepared with advice from the medical team to ensure that they meet the nutritional needs of the children and youngsters.

Children can eat as much as they like and get as many refills as they like, but they must finish their plates. There is no waste at Pour un Sourire d'Enfant!

The canteen is a place that the children and youngsters love because it guarantees that they will be able to eat properly and receive at least one decent meal a day.

The preparation of canteen meals
The Pour un Sourire d'Enfant canteen, a central location in the centre of Phnom Penh
Two little girls are served their meal at the Pour un Sourire d'Enfant canteen
A little girl having lunch in the PSE canteen