Project information

Education provision at Takhmao Dump, Cambodia

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

March 2014 - September 2016

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. Two thirds of the people on Tahkmao dump are children and babies. Mothers have no choice than to keep them there as they pick through the waste trying to make a living. Some children contribute to the family income by scavenging too, others are left to 'play' while their mothers work. None of the children go to school.


    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 providing a safe environment where they access education as well as food, clothing, hygiene and healthcare.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide emergency aid to the dump community.


    » Distributing protective footwear and gloves to all those scavenging on the dump.

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

    Aim 2

    To provide a nursery education to all children up to age six.


    » Deliver pre-school education following the Montessori curriculum.
    » Provide every child with at least one cooked meal per day.
    » Deliver a healthcare programme including vaccinations and dental treatments.
    » Deliver a hygiene programme teaching the children how to wash and providing clean clothes.

    Success will be 100% enrolment of all children aged up to six on the dump, a reduction in malnutrition and an increase in health and wellbeing.

    Aim 3

    Providing outreach education to children aged 6-18 to prepare them for school where appropriate.


    » Deliver a basic curriculum in literacy and numeracy as well as art and music.
    » Incorporate sport and play as an essential component of the 'whole child' approach to education.
    » Provide life skills, hygiene and safety education as part of the programme.
    » Support the children with individual guidance and counselling.

    Success will be reaching all children aged 6-18 on the dump, improving their literacy and numeracy, life skills, health and wellbeing, and enabling their transition to school.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the health and wellbeing of the entire dump 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. Success will be 80% reach of children on the dump, with 50% of those transiting to a formal education setting.


    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.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £90,710

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £40,710 Staff costs Teaching, nursery and medical staff
      £5,628 Project delivery Premises, bills, M&E
      £7,322 School items Uniforms, shoes and teaching materials
      £25,110 Welfare Food, hygiene, sanitation and medical items
      £11,940 Vehicle Petrol, insurance and maintenance

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Comic Relief £75,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project is based at the Takhmao dump on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Within view of the dump are upmarket hotels hosting tourists and visitors to the area. There could not be more contrast between these two neighbouring dwellings. Neither inhabitant can imagine the life of the other, so far apart are the two.


    There are around 100 people who work on the dump, two thirds of whom are children, sifting through the truckloads of rubbish emptied there each day. These people are at the margins of society, who for multiple reasons have no other means of supporting themselves than by scavenging for recyclable materials that they can sell for meagre pennies. By intervening and providing the children with a route into education we are giving them a means to break the cycle of poverty.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

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

    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 acts as Project Coordinator.

    Raksmey Mey

    Mey was brought up on a rubbish dump in Cambodia and has first hand knowledge of the issues affecting inhabitants. She works as Country Director.

    Mlop Director

    This is the in-country partner who coordinates the programme.

Children of the Dump