Cambodia Documentary


Story Details

Cambodia is now one of the world's hot new holiday destinations but tonight we'll show you a disturbing side that most tourists don't see and the selfless work of the wealthy Adelaide man devoting his spare time and money helping the very poor living in a neighbourhood that's a rubbish tip.

Adults, teenagers and kids as young as six use bare hands to scavenge through the mountains of toxic industrial waste and rotting garbage just off the main tourist track.

They rummage for up to twelve hours a day looking for recyclable materials they can on-sell to buy food for their families. They earn as little as 50 cents a day.

Hundreds of villagers are forced to stomach the stench but their biggest health risk is the highly noxious smoke that billows from burning waste.

It's a stark contrast to the leafy and prosperous suburbs of Adelaide where landscaper Paul Munn makes his living. He's now made the journey to this desperate world of poverty five times.

"This mess of humanity is just breaking anyone's heart that's come in here, that's got any sort of a heart at all. Thousands of people try to seek out a living here and it's just the most disgraceful disgusting site I've ever seen," says Paul.

It's even become an open-air grave yard.

"They're sending parts of humans into this dump� legs� lungs� feet. It's a disgrace and countries such as Australia really have to stand up."

Paul, a reformed pokie addict, is one South Aussie making a real difference. Along with wife Aileen he spends months on end in Stung Meanchey putting decent food on tables and smiles on faces.

Paul and Aileen volunteer through the Bridge of Hope organisation. Over the last four years they've contributed thousands of dollars to weekly feeding, education and sporting programs.

Amy Williams is one of the co-ordinators.

"We have the soccer program because lots of the children in the slums have lots of free time on their hands a lot of them get into gangs and drugs and things like so we try and have a positive way to put their time," says Amy.

And for Paul and Aileen their work is far from over.

They're just about to embark on their biggest project yet. Through US charity Habitat they're building a new village, homes, a school and a community centre� all well away from the dump.

Here they have real needs and their needs are food, clothing, help and the right medicines.

Paul's just hoping others can help these vulnerable kids turn their lives around.

As Mother Teresa said, if you can't feed a thousand feed one!

Donations can be made by contacting Paul during business hours on: 8298 6555