When we put the name “Hollywood” together with the location “Phnom Penh city garbage dump”, what kind of picture comes to mind? Most people would probably think this city must be the location of where the filming takes place or where the plot happens. However, in this blog post we are going to share a story about a great man that is even more magical and impressive than what the silver screen can offer.
How the Hollywood titan met the scavenging kids at the Phnom Penh city garbage dump
It all happened when Scott Neeson took off for a holiday in Cambodia. He saw the extreme poverty and sickness of the people scavenging on the massive Phnom Penh city garbage dump in Stung Meanchey. Many kids were working for less than a dollar a day, and unable to go to school because the money they earned was vital for their family to survive.
Overwhelmed by the scale of this poverty, Scott set up the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) in 2004 with his own money. After another year in Hollywood and many visits to Cambodia, he realized that there is so much more that needs to be done. Therefore, he sold all his belongings, quit his job as the head of 20th Century Fox International – one of the largest film production companies in the world – and moved to Cambodia permanently to oversee the organization. He left his world behind to save the children in Phnom Penh – this clearly shows his magnitude of his commitment and determination to this cause.
Core Value of Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF)
The importance of family is common among almost all cultures. He believes that helping the whole family is crucial – thus by removing the key challenges these families deal with, such as poor health and dire poverty, family bonds can then be strengthened. The importance of keeping families together is one of Scott’s core beliefs and that’s how CCF operates. He has seen firsthand that luxury items aren’t a way to find happiness. “If we can get back to those values: family, love, compassion, tolerance and away from material goods, we’ll find ourselves again,”” he said.
How can Scott help through CCF?
Based on a survey of 1,300 CCF families, the average daily income per family is US$4.02 while there are 5.33 members in each household. This means they only have a daily expenditure capacity of US$0.75 per member of the household, which is considerably less than the international poverty line of US$2 per day, and less than the World Bank’s extreme poverty line of US$1.25 per person per day.
Cambodian Children’s Fund’s programs target the children and families who reside and work around the former Steung Meanchey landfill site located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and industry. Stung Meanchey was one of the largest garbage dumps in Southeast Asia, and one of the most environmentally toxic and dangerous environments in the world. While they scavenge there, children and their families are under constant threat of violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and natural disaster.
Scott believes knowledge is the key to change the future. Therefore, under his leadership, he made education the driving force of CCF’s operations. By implementing a holistic educational approach that empowers students to lead themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty and into prosperity, CCF is fostering an environment where generational change is not only possible but inevitable.
There are six interconnected programs: Education, Vocational Training, Leadership, Community Outreach, Healthcare and Childcare. CCF works with families to build plans for educating their children, developing job skills for parents and older children, and escaping debt – working at the grassroots level to develop integrated, simple solutions to the complex issues of poverty.
He believes that the Community Outreach, Healthcare and Childcare programs can help ensure an uninterrupted education, one that allows the child to study, grow and find themselves, knowing that their families are not sliding further into poverty without them generating an income.
Over a decade, CCF has started from providing 45 children with an education to now serving more than 1,700 impoverished children and thousands of other people within the community. Scott believes that the generational change started by CCF will have an enormous impact beyond the slums and through the rest of the country when these kids grow into adulthood.
Scott Neeson & THE ONE
史考特·尼森 和 THE ONE
Scott Neeson was a finalist in THE ONE 2013. With his prize money of US$50,000, his daycare program was aligned with CCF’s overall education initiatives and was transformed into a Kindergarten model. A new building which hosts two new kindergarten classes was also opened because of the prize money that he received from THE ONE.
Click on the photos below to find out more about other finalists of THE ONE 2014.
點擊下面圖片，查看更多2014 THE ONE 入圍者：