Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng and Ms Serene Tan (NUS student)
In August 2013, Mr Chanratha, Director of General Education & Community Development, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), was wondering what specific social enterprise programs could be developed and implemented to help the sole bread winners and/or wives of families relocating to SMILE Village in Cambodia to first replace income derived from scavenging, and through skills training, to gradually become self-supporting. Cambodia was one of the world’s poorer nations, the country having been racked by civil war in the latter part of the 20th century. Approximately 4 million people lived on less than US$1.25 per day and 37% of Cambodian children under the age of 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition. More than 50% of the population were less than 25 years old.
PSE was founded by Christian Des Pallières and his wife, Marie-France in 1995. PSE was committed to improving the livelihood of children in Cambodia, specifically those living in the slumps. They provide basic education, vocational training and support services to children from the most impoverished families. The SMILE village project was aimed at finding sustainable solutions in addressing the inhumane living conditions of families of PSE students in order that these children might be educated, and every family might break the bonds of poverty. The key challenge was to help the poor families relocating to the SMILE village, build the capacity to establish a stable source of income, manage their families and grow as a community. The help of 12 student consulting teams were sought to develop feasible social enterprise ideas for the first smile village and to provide implementation plans for these social enterprise ideas.
: Case for NUS International Case Competition