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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Mama’s Kitchen in Shanty Town

 Mama's Kitchen is a project born in response to the global pandemic Covid-19 with a mission to deliver plant-based nutritious food to the most vulnerable in our society. They believe that no one should ever go hungry, be it humans or animals.

Shanty Town Spirit Association is very grateful to Mama’s Kitchen for their food deliveries they were able to organise for the families in the Community in Boeung Trabek.   They were able to provide 150 nutritious delicious vegan lunches to the most vulnerable people - children, elderly and disabled - in the slums.

Mrs Yulia Khouri, the head of this new Program of Mama’s Kitchen is really trying her best to provide food to the poorest.

Clearly there is huge need of nutrition in the large impoverished pockets of this city. Yulia can be very proud of her fantastic & very hardworking team she has, and she is very happy to be able to support manies communities in need. . 

Mama’s Kitchen, at the beginning of the Corona Virus, came three times a week to deliver those meals, but now the situation is getting better in our community, it turns to be one time a week, because the Association wants to help other poor people. 

People in the Shanty Town are waiting for those meals, distribution is made every Monday  , the beneficiaries of this programme are coming with a provided ticket.

At first, the target are children, elderly, and families who lost their job.

They are very excited, waiting for the Association to come.

Mama’s Kitchen and Shanty Town have a very good communication, turning around the slums after the distribution and planning the next distribution.

Everything is going very well.

Thank you to all the team of   Mama's Kitchen for your support during this difficult time.

Monday, 13 July 2020

True Heart : Maria Barbosa de Lima

Her name is Maira Barbosa de Lima, she is 65 years old, and Brazilian. She is graduated in Accounting, and Bachelor in Theology focused in Anthropology and Social Services. 
She is retired now, and before she used to work as a Financial Manager in different companies in São Paulo in Brazil. She worked for many years as a social worker in poor communities with the street’s  kids in São Paulo, where she even sheltered 15 of those children.
 Until today she keeps in touch with them and some are now married... 
She left Brazil in 2008 and went to United Estates to improve her English, she  then arrived in Cambodia in January 2009 and has been in there since.
 She is a Christian missionary and in the bottom of her heart she truly believes that God guided her where she is now. 
She came to Cambodia with the vision to communicate with people, in order to spread the gospel and helping the poor communities to transform they lives.. Firstly she learned khmer language, through this to built the relationship with local people. She focused on the vulnerable children with dysfunctional families in the poor communities.

 She connect the children with public schools, provide them all kind of support they could need : financial, counseling, professional training, spiritual guidance etc... 
She is helping different NGOs and Poor families from the poorest communities  supported by Shanty Town Spirit Ermine Norodom Association,  checking the school results, taking them to the dentist, doctor also when needed, visiting the families to get to know their physical and spiritual needs..

 Maira organized outdoor events, swimming pool, teaching English and bible studies. A lot of things to carry on, she is doing an amazing job helping everyone with all their difficulties she as a  tremendous amount of work and  she is so much  devoting to help Shanty Town Spirit and the other NGO’s. 
One very last project is to transform an acquired room in the Boeung Trabek slum to become an activities place such as  teaching all kind of subjects, English, extra classes, Art etc…. after the Covid crisis it is a project to begin. 
Maira is a multi task person, she is also teaching English to disabilities children  at Light of Mercy NGO. 

Maira is doing all that from her heart as a volunteer, she feels so much joy and happiness when she see people and families getting out of the slums, improving their life and having a good job or proper home. 
Finally not forgetting to mention that Maira is fostering a little girl : Sothea , for more than 7 years, providing her a proper living and a good education. 
Thank you very much Maira for the tremendous work you are doing with us, Shanty Town Spirit and all the other people you are supporting.
God bless you Maira for your kind heart helping everybody and everyone. 


                                             One Spirit, One Heart, One Community                                      
       You can help us by sponsoring the Shanty Town Spirit program:
 Click on 
Make a difference 

  Contact  Ermine Norodom: +855 (0) 17 49 27 19 (French and English)

Words by Nathalie Bonpain

Friday, 5 June 2020

Fabulous time in Shanty Town

Last year during five weeks, we had the great opportunity to have one of our best intern that we never had before : Mathieu Membrez, age 18 ; coming from Switzerland.

Mathieu told me that this internship was one of the greatest experience in his life. 
Before, he was just having a normal life, studying, with wonderful parents, in a good area in Geneva.  But one of his dream was to travel for a human association in some part of the world.  
Meet people who had nothing, and be aware of their life couldn’t be compare to his.
Being able to help the poor communities as much as he could, and offer them his help his, during the time he was in Cambodia.
In July 2019, he had the chance to make his dream become a reality.
He came during 5 weeks in Cambodia helping Shanty town spirit Ermine Norodom Association. Taking part as much as he could in the association, providing people with what they need, (sanitary products, soaps, rice, etc..) He discovered that those people had not much in their life but had such a great heart.

  • He went with Ermine and other interns during various missions to the Shanty Town Spirit  he was helping in buying sanitary products, and deliver them to the communities.

Thank you to Ermine, Maira and all the other people who surrounded me during this time.» 

- He took this opportunity to take pictures, in order to use them after for the Shanty Town Blog.
- He had also been in charged of writing 11 short stories for the Shanty Town Spirit’s blog.
During those 5 weeks, it has been an incredible and unforgettable experience for him.  
As he said « First in my way of thinking. Having seeing so much poverty with my own eyes,  and being able to see the differences all over the world ».  
« It was a little bit difficult at the beginning but it was such a wonderful experience. 

 For him, after having such experience, helped him increase the confidence in himself, and realize how lucky he was being able to follow Shanty Town  Spirit Project.
He also admitted, that the first time in a Shanty Town, was very difficult and disorienting for him. How could people leave there ?  but those people are just amazing, the families in the slum have such a great heart, emotional heart.
What he enjoyed the most was going to meet the communities of the slums and visiting centers that shanty Town is helping, being able to see that people with nothing are so pride to show me what they have.  They do have practically nothing, as we can say from our point of view and way of living : how can they  leave with so little?  They are amazing and happy with what they have. 
- during his internship, he also took part of the distribution of food, rice, etc… and was very proud and happy to do it.

« I have a big regret for the moment is that I am not gonna be able to go back sooner enough  to Phnom Penh, to help Ermine and Maira  witch do a such a great work.
I keep a very good memory of what I did with Shanty Town Spirit, I had a very good experience of life and more for me.  I took, part of so manies  different activities , and I really thanks the people I met for the great opportunities offered to me.
When I left Phnom Penh after 5 weeks, I said I am sure of it, one day I will go back there and continue the work with Shanty Town Spirit and see again all those wonderful person I met.
 Shanty Town Spirit is a wonderful Association who work with the families of the communities in te slum.  Actions, works, represent a very great amount of work and they do succeed in what they do.
You can  give your support and help them to help others.  Any donations is welcome, money of course, but also in kind  (clothes, hygiène kits , school materials, etc…)

On last thank you to  Princess Ermine Norodom, I am looking forward to go back again there as soon as possible. 

                                                  One Spirit, One Heart, One Community                                      
                   You can help us by sponsoring the Shanty Town Spirit program:

      Click on Make a difference 

Contact  Ermine Norodom: +855 (0) 17 49 27 19 (French and English)

Phirun Prak (Arun): +855 (0) 96 663 6666 (English and Khmer)

Words by Nathalie Bonpain

Monday, 20 April 2020


Let us give you some news about our Shanty Town and the terrible virus which occurs actually around the world.  Everybody speaks about a « pandemic », terrible of the entire world.
We got some inside information about how is life in the community in Boeung Trabek Phnom Penh.
Life is more or less the same than for us in the big cities.  
One of our kid reports that nobody is going out, there is no school at all, children are taking this time as holidays, unfortunately….  They don’t have the necessary tools to follow classes online, no internet, no computer. So they are waiting for the school to re-open… 

They are all afraid of the virus  so they don’t go out.  They are very serious about it, and don’t want to be sick or give illness to the Elders.
They receive information from BTV, Khmer news, khmer times, Facebook etc..
Khmer New Year had been cancelled, rules are very strict around that : nobody out of the country, provinces and Phnom Penh.  If people don t respect the rules and if the person is taking time off of work, he or she will not get paid.   If the person is going for Khmer New year, he or she won’t be able to come back to Phnom Penh or to their province  before at least 15 days.  Officials mentioned that this festive period will be reported after the Corona Virus period to be able to enjoy better.  
All very hard for everybody around the world.

One easiest thing for Asian people is the mask, they are used to wear them.  Comparaison is made to European People who are not wearing those masks.  It would be so easier for everybody to take the same measures…  Asian’s people start to complain about this… Not wearing masks is a lack of respect for others…
But it is, also, necessary for us to provide to the poor communities masks, hands gel and hygiene products, cause it’s not easy for them to buy, they don’t have money to buy them.  Shanty Town Spirit , because of Corona, can’t take over the usual turn around ; but we ensures that they receive all they need  during this crisis (especially rice and hygiene products).  Thank you to Sokear and Maira to keep the link between the community and the Shanty town spirit NGO.

This period is really really difficult for them.  Because regular traffic is off, small jobs two.  Most of the parents lost their job during this awful period and they  keep smiling. We are hoping  it’s just for a short period of time…  We are very happy to see that they are helping each other very much.
They are all afraid of what is going to happen.    But all convinced that it’s gonna end soon…
When ? hum, we all don’t know, but we do hope for the best to come.

Keep your ears open, a smile on your face… and wash your hands….
Thank you for keeping them in your mind best luck to all of you and keep safe…..

                                   One Spirit, One Heart, One Community                                      
       You can help us by sponsoring the Shanty Town Spirit program:
 Click on Make a difference 

  Contact  Ermine Norodom: +855 (0) 17 49 27 19 (French and English)
Phirun Prak (Arun): +855 (0) 96 663 6666 (English and Khmer)

Words by Nathalie Bonpain

Thursday, 2 April 2020

The courageous and sweet children of Light of Mercy !

We paid a visit to the Light of Mercy Home, which Shanty Town Spirit is used and very pleased to often collaborate with ! 
The Light of Mercy Home (LMH) provides children with disabilities a home and center where they can attend school and live together with other children who have similar challenges. LHM not only supports them to receive formal education, but also provides other extracurricular activities such as extra classes to learn music, dancing, computer skills and simple craft skills. Through the care and activities provided, LMH aims to prepare them to lead an independent life. The center is held by generous and kind Sister Marie-Adelphe.

All the children were very excited to see us, especially since we came with presents for Light of Mercy: indeed, we brought them 120kg of rice and other multiple food basic supplies, such as oil, spices, sugar and all sorts of sauces ! 

Some of the kids then explained us the functioning of their aquaponic garden, which was installed last year by Koyaproject and with the help of Shanty Town Spirit ! Three disabled young adults were trained to take care of the garden and to teach the functioning of it as well. Those young adults have developed, because of their disability, very particular and useful skills, such as crafting various objects with wood, or fixing the plumbing for example. 


After that, some of the kids offered to make us visit the center: they showed us around the dormitories, the music classrooms, the khmer music classrooms and the computer room. 

And in the end, some volunteers were even taught by the kids to say their names in sign language ! It was such a funny and heartwarming moment ! 

Every child, however their mental or physical condition, deserves to express themselves as they want or to be active and useful to society. For example, one of the blind young adults now works in a “Dine in the dark” restaurant and is very happy to be able to have a job ! We congratulate him and all the other children of Light of Mercy for their courage and determination ! 

                                                   One Spirit, One Heart, One Community                                      
                   You can help us by sponsoring the Shanty Town Spirit program:

      Click on Make a difference
                             OR contact  Ermine Norodom: +855 (0) 17 49 27 19 (French and English)

                                     Phirun Prak (Arun): +855 (0) 96 663 6666 (English and Khmer)

                 words by Matthieu Membrez

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Life amongst the graves

We paid a little visit to the community living in the slum of Smor San ! The particularity of this slum is that it is situated on the exact location of a cemetary. Indeed, its inhabitants installed their homes and live amongst the colorful graves of an old graveyard ! Important to know here is that no Cambodian people are buried here, since the khmer culture is opposed to cemeteries and preaches that people should be burned.

We began with a distribution of hygiene supplies: some toothpaste, toothbrushes, some soap and clothes. We had enough goodies for at least 120 people, everybody was thus very happy because they all could manage to get something of their own ! 

Then, we went to the house of a disabled family taken over by Shanty Town Spirit, including a grandmother, a mother and her four children. We talked with them for a while and they showed us around their little habitation. The oldest boy and the grandmother are the only members able to bring money to the family. The grandmother washes dishes and the boy manages to find small jobs around the area, despite his disability. Maira, with the help of Shanty Town Spirit, provides them basic supplies to support them (clothes, hygiene products, medicine, food). 

After that, we met another grandmother from the community, who told us that she had problems with her eyes and that she needed help. We noticed that she might be needing a cataract surgery. We spoke with her and managed to get her one since then. It is thanks to the dedication of volunteers and the generosity of the donors that grandmothers like her are able to be healed and to live freely in dignity ! 

Everybody deserves the right to have access to hygiene, health products and decent clothes. 

                                                 One Spirit, One Heart, One Community                                      
      You can help us by sponsoring the Shanty Town Spirit program:

                   OR contact  Ermine Norodom: +855 (0) 17 49 27 19 (French and English)

           Phirun Prak (Arun): +855 (0) 96 663 6666 (English and Khmer)

    words by Matthieu Membrez

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