Farms, fields, and football
Our Cambodian photographer is Ly Leap, Publicity Officer for United World Schools in Cambodia. United World Schools is an educational NGO, working in some of the world's poorest areas to give children access to school. In Cambodia they have developed over 90 schools since 2008. Ly told us about football in the village of Nong Ka Tong.
Who is in the photos?
The photos are of the students and community of Nong Ka Tong, located in northeast Cambodia. All the children attend the community school, UWS Nong Ka Tong. The village is very rural, and the families survive as farmers, harvesting crops like cashew nuts. Most of the community are not able to read and count, meaning they have only ever been able to work as farmers. The school opened in 2017 and now over 250 children attend this school every day. This is the first time they have ever been to school.
Where were the photos taken?
Most of the photos were taken in the school playground. The school is a place to learn and a space to play. The children love playing football during break time.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I tried to show the daily life of this rural community and how sport is a part of this. Football is the most popular sport here in Cambodia, and these photos show how much the children enjoy football. The photos also show the children going to the farms in their free time to help their parents with work.
Children in these communities are often expected to work from a young age. Sometimes that is helping with chores, helping look after young siblings, or going to family farms to harvest food.
Why is football so important for Cambodia and Cambodian people?
Football is the most popular sport in Cambodia, as it is so easy to play. We just need an open space. Sometimes when we don't have footballs, we use balloon-shaped objects with heavy objects inside instead. Even the poorest people can play football, as they don't need anything to play.
What is the future for Cambodian football?
We hope that the Cambodian national football team will qualify for the next World Cup!