Sihanoukville is a province of Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. A third of the population living on less than $1 per day results in poverty and increased numbers of street children and youth.
M’Lop Tapang is a non Government organisation. (M’lop means protection and Tapang is a large umbrella tree that provides shelter from the elements.) Its main purpose is to provide protection. It was founded by Maggie Eno in 2003. She offered food, safety and education to 6 vulnerable children who slept on the beach every night under a large Tapang tree.
Today Maggie works alongside 179 other staff and over 200 volunteers, helping over 3500 children and their families at 10 specialised centres in the Sihanoukville area. Through a variety of interwoven programs it helps families and communities prioritise the education, health and mental stability of children. It offers the children formal and non-formal education, protection from abuse, counseling, food, medical care, schooling and family reintegration. It helps children to make positive choices for their future. The community centre contains offices, classrooms, playgrounds and a medical facility. Children not only have access to a library, computers, dance, sport and craft classes but they also have access to basic needs such as bathing and meals, all in a safe environment.
In March 2008 Dr Petrina Bowden and Practice Manager Elaine Lancaster set off with 75kgs of donated dental equipment and supplies to Sihanoukville as the children were in desperate need of dental care. Petrina has played a vital role in establishing the dental clinic at the community centre and is a wonderful advocate for this program and very proactive in working towards achieving her goal of obtaining enough volunteers to enable a dentist to visit M’Lop Tapang every 4-6 weeks. This will allow children and their mothers to receive not only emergency treatment, but preventative treatment as well.
Richmond Road Dental supports the program by providing donations of dental supplies as well as sending staff to continue the work at M’lop Tapang. For more information about M’lop Tapang and to make donations click on this link http://www.mloptapang.org