Orkidstudio, the humanitarian design organisation supported by Drum, has begun its latest project in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
A well-known tourist spot, with long-stretching golden beaches, the city also has a less expatriated side. It is in this part, nestled behind a busy market street where Orkidstudio are reconstructing a community centre and school.
The Bomnong L’or (Goodwill) Centre has been running for over ten years and provides much needed supplementary education to children and adults.
A big challenge faced by the centre is ensuring that children in particular are able to attend rather than being sent out to work or beg by their parents. With many households too poor to let their children learn when they could be contributing financially, the centre has established a soap-making enterprise with many of the local women. The soap is sold locally, mostly to tourists, and generates enough income to increase the earning potential of poorer households so their children can attend school.
The Centre was originally built on a small site accessed by a small track off the main road. With so many daily users, teaching spaces had become cramped, play space was limited and impractical and the design offered only poorly ventilated and dimly lit space throughout. Over a month ago Orkidstudio arranged for the demolition of the original structure with the centre temporarily moving into an alternative accommodation around the corner.