PSE started in 1995, on the day we saw children eating in the filth of the dump-site in Stung Meanchey in Phnom-Penh in Cambodia. It was appalling. They were terrified to discover hundreds of children collecting rubbish, day and night, under dreadful hygiene conditions. And the worse is, that those children are eating this revolting trash…There’s no care, no school, no food, and simply no hope for them. Christian and his spouse, Marie-France, decide spontaneously to do everything to get them out of this misery.
Having seen that, it was not possible to continue to live normally. Something had to be done.
First we started to bring meals to the garbage dump, but very soon we realized that the situation went beyond our forces and resources. We returned to France to alarm our families, friends, and everyone we knew. To tell them what we had discovered, and thanks to their overwhelming mobilization we were able to return to Cambodia and create “Pour un Sourire d’Enfant” (for a child’s smile). The adventure is kicked off in spring 1996 with about twenty children. The des Pallières are confronted with many barriers, they manage to abolish all of them, one by one.
It wasn’t an easy task but 20 years after PSE can be proud of the results. We have about 7000 students under our programs. We offer many training for children and support for the families.
Programs for education:
- Remedial Center: As the object was to catch up on their delayed schooling, we proposed an accelerated education system of two academic levels a year.
- State school: When the children are neither academically behind nor seriously at risk, but simply excluded from school for the sole reason of poverty, PSE, not wanting to substitute for the Government when solutions already exist, supports the children in the local State schools.
Programs for Vocational Training:
PSE Institute 8 schools which prepare students for different careers.
- School of Hospitality
- School of Management and Sale
- School of Trades Aids to Home
- School of Hairstyling, Esthetics, Spa
- School Building Trades
- School of Mechanics Auto / Moto
- School gardening / babysitting
- Film School
Since 2011, the diplomas issued by the PSE Institute are officially recognized by the Cambodian Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.
Programs to meet the basic needs of the children:
- Feeding: more than 9000 meals handed out every day.
- Nursing: medical care for treatment and prevention by our medical team
- Psychological follow up
- Protecting: A residential school, a boarding school and a student hostel welcome those who are in danger in their families, those who are orphans, and those whose families live too far away to be able to continue their studies.
- The “paillotes” (community service centers), welcome the younger ones who have nobody at home to take care of them during the day (showers, meals, medical care, help for homeworks…)
Programs to support the most vulnerable families
- Compensation in rice as an exchange for the decreasing of income when the children stop working and bring no more money home because they come to school
- Material, social and medical help ; short vocational training program
- Support for mothers and young children: medical and nutritional monitoring for small children, education for mothers in hygiene and nutrition, monitoring and nutritional supplements for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers.
- Summer camp: During the holidays, volunteers from Europe come to entertain the students to keep them happy and in a friendly atmosphere.
- FLIP:: “Family Livelihood Improvement Project” whose aim is to increase access to education for vulnerable children by increasing the income of their head of family and by improving their schooling conditions
“Humanity owes to the child the best it has to give”. (Geneva Declaration – SDN1924)
- A hungry child must be fed
- A sick child must be treated
- A maltreated child must be protected
- An exploited child must be rescued
- An abandoned child must be taken in
- Every child should feel one day the affection of a loving look upon him.
Link or post video 7 min in english
About our founders
In 1995, Christian and Marie-France des Pallières, young French retirees, were on a humanitarian mission in Cambodia. The day before they left, a little boy in the street offered to show them where he lived. This is how they discovered the main dump site in the suburbs of Phnom Penh.
Christian and Marie-France were so appalled at what they saw that they thought to themselves: “You cannot have seen such a thing and keep living as you have always done”. They left everything behind and started a new life in Phnom Penh, hoping to stop this terrible situation.
With their savings, they started supplying food and first aid to the children, on the dumpsite. They then reached out to friends and families to sponsor their programs. In 1996, they started their first program for 60 children in a rented building. Today, 7000 students aged from 6 to 20 are enrolled in PSE schools.
PSE is the story of Christian and Marie-France, their heart, brain and child. They have four adult children, have been married for fifty years and built PSE together over the last twenty years instead of enjoying a peaceful retired life in France.
They now live in PSE center, in Phnom Penh and are more than ever the hero of PSE.
In October 2014 they have been nominated for the Humanitarian Hero 2014, read our article about this here.
See our video here: