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Project information

Support for children scavenging on landfill sites

Scavenger communities inhabit rubbish dumps and landfill sites around the world. Small Steps Project supports children and their families with sustainable solutions to help the children into education and vocational training for their parents so they have the skills to improve their future prospects

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Small Steps Project Limited

Small Steps Project Limited logo
  • Need


    All over the world vast landfill sites host communities of the most impoverished people who have no other means of supporting themselves than by scavenging from the rubbish. Some children contribute to the family income by scavenging too, others are left to 'play' while their mothers work. The Vientiane landfill site in Laos is remote. The problem is reaching these children and supporting them into education, to offer them a choice outside the life of scavenging for their future.


    Small Steps Project intervenes to break the cycle of poverty and enable children to take small steps out of the dumps and into education, to give them choices to be able to do something other than scavenging. The aim is to prepare the children for school by delivering outreach to deliver catch-up education for children and support to parents, as well as food, hygiene and healthcare and counselling to help build confidence then provision of school supplies, uniforms, transport & counselling.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide emergency aid and care to the dump community to protect them from their environment.


    » Distributing protective footwear and gloves to all those scavenging on the dump.
    » Distributing hygiene items.
    » Distributing food and water.
    » Distributing contraceptives and sanitary products.

    What success will look like

    Success will be a reduction in injuries on feet and hands.

    Aim 2

    To provide school preparation for scavenger children.


    » Deliver catch-up education classes for children.
    » Life skills, sexual health & education to parents & older children & counselling as well as encouraging the benefits of children attending school.
    » To do outreach and visits with parent and children to familiarise them with the new environments.
    » Counselling and mentoring, games and sport to build children's confidence in leaving the landfill and mixing with non-scavenger children

    What success will look like

    Success will be enrolment and enthusiasm of landfill children into school.

    Aim 3

    Integration of children into local schools.


    » Provide uniforms.
    » Provide education items such as books & edyucational materials.
    » Provide transport solutions for children to get from the dump to school.
    » Support the children with individual guidance and counselling, work with teachers to retain attendance.

    What success will look like

    Success will be enrolled children retaining attendance and enthusiasm for school.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the health and wellbeing of the community, and provide an education for all children who otherwise would have access to none. Where appropriate, children will be supported in the transition to school where they can access a formal education and have the opportunity to improve their life chances.


    There is a risk that the dump could close leaving the community who lives and works there displaced and without the opportunity to earn money through scavenging. We know that dumps are never permanent fixtures so we deal with this by educating the community in self-care and by educating the children so they can access a brighter future.


    We provide donors with bi-annual reports detailing progress and measuring success against objectives and statistics.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,040 Staff costs social workers, outreach staff, medical staff
      £6,239 Project delivery on landfill Outreach materials,hygiene & medical care, food & drink, family support, transport, protective items
      £4,977 Project costs school Uniforms, shoes, teaching materials, transport, medical and hygiene support
      £744 Indirect project costs Utilities, comms, office support, transport

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    First Mile £5,000 Guaranteed
    Scott Dunn £5,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Km 36 rubbish dump is located 36 km outside Laos' capital city, Vientianne and has existed there since 2007.

    Today, with Vientiane citizens producing an estimated 400 tonnes of rubbish per day, the landfill has an area of about 13 hectares (32.5 acres) to accommodate the waste.

    The surrounding schools are spread out around rural Laos between the dump and city. So the locations vary from school to school.


    Approximately 200 people work on it each day, one-third are children & youths, sifting through truckloads of rubbish. These people are at the margins of society and have no other means of supporting themselves than by scavenging for recyclables. These young people never or infrequently attend school in order to help their families. By intervening and providing the children with a route into education, we are giving them the means to break the cycle of poverty in which they are trapped.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Small Steps Project has successfully delivered similar projects in other locations in Laos as well as Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Nicaragua and Romania. We have developed a formula through which we provide immediate aid to alleviate hardship, alongside long-term activities which aim to break the cycle of poverty through education.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Amy Hanson

    Amy is the founder of Small Steps Project and its CEO. She has a deep understanding of the issues involved and is Project Coordinator.

    Marina Elvira-Ruiz

    Marina is PA to the CEO of Small Steps Project and Assistant Project Coordinator, Fundraiser and Liason with BigGive.

    Venny Ala-Siurua

    Venny is Peuan Mit Technical Advisor. She gives supports to the delivery team on the ground in Laos.


£30 will pay for a new uniforms, educational materials and transport for children in Laos.