Cambodian Kids with Swords, Guns, and Poems

gun play

Last month Jinja captured this photo of these two Cambodian boys playing with toy guns in the streets of Phnom Penh. Even though Jinja played with guns as child, he thought these scenes were a little disturbing because the guns looked so real!

A few days ago, Chlim01 is Bored blogged about a recent news item about children and young adults attacking each other with Samurai swords, injuring a 10 year-old- boy and briefly alarming people living in a provincial town. The kids with swords were arrested by police. All were clients in a NGO's drug program, Mith Samlanh, and were recovering from drug addictions. One wonders how these got their hands on Samurai swords?

Despite the newspaper headline, the organization is well-known for its work with homeless kids in Cambodia and one of the two NGOS that dares to work with drug users in this country. Mith Samlanh's programs have been mentioned on blogs by expats, like Sweet Cucumber and Jungle Blog.

Life as a homeless child in Cambodia is a very difficult life, as this poem by a former orphan and blogged by Tharum indicates. There is a ray of hope, as this struggling poet was able to improve his circumstances.


  • […] Beth Kanter […]

  • Thanks for your inciteful log on your travels and stay in Cambodia :) and wish you all the success and inspiration to come by.. your blog was an inciteful blog and I hope to have a great time on my third visit to Cambodia in 5 days time and will try and post an up to date travelog of my travels whilst i am over there:)

  • I would just like to pick up on the point you made about how difficult is life in Cambodia for a homeless child. I visited an orphanage recently in Phnom Penh. Otside the front gate there is a tree. The workers in the orphanage call it the ‘crying tree’. Every morning they check to see if any children have been left under the tree.

    I have recently started a self help effort in cambodia to support this and other children’s charities. At Sage Insights we help people organise their travel to Cambodia and pass the profits from this work to the neediest Cambodian children. Presently there is a tourist boom going on in Cambodia but few of the benefits ever reach the neediest. We are aiming to redress this balance.

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