The Right to Play

The expression “Go and play in the traffic, kid” takes on an added dimension at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The road is the only place the kids have to gather. The scrap wood and tin shacks are virtually built on top of each other; there is no such thing as a back yard. Any open space is at least ankle deep in garbage.

Down in the Dumps thought a playground for the kids was a very worthwhile project and provided the necessary $300 funding. “Vichika will get the parents to help,” commented Nick, “they can clean up the area and level the ground. It is good because the playground is for their kids.” The materials were locally sourced and people from the dump hired to bring in the sand.

The swing

Nick found a swing for $250.

It is big and sturdy and takes up most of the space so there isn’t any room to play soccer and such. “But that is okay,” said Nick, “because they would hit the kids on the swing with the ball.”


The swing was delivered. “Sometimes there are 35 kids waiting to use it,” noted Vichika, who runs her breakfast business next to it. “It is non-stop from morning until late at night. And sometimes there are fights as the kids don’t want to take turns. Some of them don’t eat lunch because they would lose their place.”

Even though it was a rainy and windy Sunday afternoon when we visited, there wasn’t a spare swing seat in sight.


DITD is pleased to have been able to bring such joy to deserving kids who truly appreciate having a play ground with a swing, rudimentary though it may be.



Another update is that someone gave Sanna a toilet – the squat porcelain kind – but she needed someone to dig the hole to install it. Jeff and Wayne – visiting from Sydney donated $25.The hole was dug and the concrete is in place so DITDs will gave her the other $25 to finish off the bathroom. The dump is going up-market.

Deanne and Neil & Emma donated some cash, so the balance is now $1,172.52.


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