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Steung Meanchey Municipal Waste Dump is located in southern Phnom Penh, in a district of the same name - Steung Meanchey. It is a part of the city with low-income neighborhoods and slums. The dump itself covers about 100 acres, or almost 6 hectares. It is flanked by private property on which rubbish pickers build makeshift huts and are charged extortionate rents by landowners. Roughly 2,000 people, about 600 of which are children, live and work there.
Most of the rubbish pickers at Steung Meanchey are either from Phnom Penh or came to Phnom Penh looking for work and ended up in the slums. Many of the approximately 600 children have parents or relatives who also work on the dump and look after them. Some of them go to school, but most do not - at least not on a regular basis -, and it is safe to say that virtually none of them ever completes a primary school education. The school fees are too high and their families need them to collect rubbish to contribute to the family income. Adults earn, on average, 4000 to 5000 riels (US$1.00 to $1.25) a day; children earn on average about half that amount. A whole family working together can actually earn more money than they could in the rural village from which they originally came. (source: The Centre for Children's Happiness )

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Additional Photos by Maciej Dakowicz (maciekda) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1780 W: 191 N: 1408] (19891)
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