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Mark arrived home in late September from Cambodia, so it’s a great time to provide an update on Champey.
The summer weeks were filled with the activities of the Summer Arts Camp program which hosted about 100 children for a 6 week program of music, art, dance and fun which combined with our usual roster of students. ( see more photos below)
This year we shortened the program from 8 weeks to six week as a way to conserve funds. Despite this change, it was an exciting time filled with growth as the regular dance students and campers focused on a new project: producing a new and somewhat version of an original work that we commissioned in 2000 “ Our Friends in the Forest”. This story has been performed many times in past years by our students in our former Apsara Arts Program, the historic platform from which Champey has evolved.
Students and campers drew and painted entirely new canvas backdrops for staging the new performance ahile dance roles were modified to be able to include our campers, some of whom are experiencing traditional Cambodian dance for the first time, as you can see these in the photos attached to this report.
“Our Friends in the Forest” is presented in a traditional format called "Mohori Theater.” All of the characters in our story are animals and every version of “Our Friends in the Forest” seeks to convey some sort of socially significant theme. This year’s version focused on the wide impact of corruption in society.
This years Camp project remains underfunded , with the deficit temporarily ( we hope) made up from general purpose funds. It is our hope that we can complete the remaining funding as it is the only way that we can continue to offer this wonderful program to these children. When you break down the costs, we have been able to provide 100 children a program 6 weeks long that provides fun and education for the astonishingly low cost of just $ 46.70 per child for all 6 weeks and which equals just $ 1.31 per day! Or put differently , one 'latte' can send 3 kids to camp for a day !
We are deeply grateful for the support that has come from our donors and hope that you will tell your friends about our projects.
Thank you again for helping to make a wonderful summer experience for our 100 Campers and regular students. Some photos are included, and more to follow soon!
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Summer Arts Camp at Champey 2014 starts Monday !
Monday, August 4, marks the start of the Summer Arts Camp 2014 at Champey Academy. This is the second year that we will be offering a Summer Arts Camp. A combination of increased attendance from local children combines with 20 children from the national Orphanage in Phnom Penh ranging in age from 7 to 17. Champey’s Summer Arts Camp program will in two sessions from 7:30 am to 11:00 am Monday through Saturday and 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm six days a week. The children from the National Orphanage are medically challenged and many of them have AIDS. It was determined in discussions with staff at the National Orphanage that attending 6 days per week could be too much activity for many of them to sustain, so their attendance will be limited to 5 daily sessions per week.
Children will enjoy a half day session learning traditional Cambodian dance and music and learning their stories. Added to this will be classes in painting and drawing and music.
In recent weeks our roster of daily students has increased to as many as 100 students per day as many local children come to participate. Our art and music classes are over subscribed and we are pleased to be seeing enrollment of both boys and girls into our programs. Our goal of building community and becoming known as a safe place for kids to engage in age appropriate activities is gaining ground among the local street vendors who have found that the summer program can be a great way to safely occupy their children during the 8 week school break.
We are still looking for funding for all of our arts programs. We are reminding all of our donors to as if their company might have a matching gifts program. If so, please let us know, we will be happy to assist in filling out any paperwork .
Thank you again for all of your generous support to give these children the opportunity to spend a happy 8 weeks of summer holiday while having the opportunity to learn more about Cambodia's rich cultural heritage.
Music ! Music ! Music !
We continue to see increased attendance at Champay Academy of Arts. Particularly popular is the recent addition of music classes, giving children an opportunity to learn to play traditional Cambodian musical instrumets. Demand has been strong, particularly among the boys. A recent day say 5 children in the morning session and 13 in the afternoon group. Children learn about the instruments that are part of the tranditional Cambodian ensemble called the " pinpeat".
There are 5 kinds of musical instruments being used in the class:
On Friday's we also have the loan of stringed instruments to introduce to the students, which is very popular.
With more students than instruments, students watch the instruction of others while waiting their turn.
This introduction and access to traditional Cambodian music is just one of several things that we are doing to bring education and inspiration to Cambodian children while teaching them about their rich cultural heritage.
None of this is possible without the continued generous support of you our donors. Thank you.1
Celebrating One Year Anniversary at Champey!
It has been a busy year as Champey Arts celebrated its first anniversary in January 2014. Bit by bit, the program has expanded from its original form as a summer arts camp program for disadvantaged children. Its newly expanded course offerings include not only dance, but traditional Cambodian ( Khmer) music and arts. We are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of a largely “ home grown” Kasumisou team. Our staff now numbers 3 dance instructors, all of whom were long time students and graduates from our former Apsara Arts program. Our senior art teacher, Ms. Dong Saree has been teaching children in various Kasumisou Foundation programs traditional Cambodian art since 1999. In addition to her work at Champey Arts , Dong Saree teaches traditional arts at the prestigious Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. She is capably assisted by Khun Sotha, a graduate of Kasumisou Foundation’s original art school at the Reyum Gallery in Phnom Penh. Finally, our program is rounded out by classical Khmer music instruction by Don, himself a classical music student at the Royal University of Fine Arts.
In addition to our teachers, we have four of our own university students from Prey Veng Province, who are working part time in various assistive jobs at the school while they attend university classes, three of whom board at the school.
Now that the recent civil unrest has quieted down, we are seeing about 50 to 60 students per day, spread over two sessions, one morning, the other afternoon, each spanning 3 hours. Some of our students are really inspired by the opportunity to dance. We have two students, teenagers, who bike nearly every day a distance of more than 5 miles from the National Orphanage to attend the afternoon session from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Their typical day is school in the morning, then back to the orphanage at lunch (they live there as their moms are employees who work rotating 48 hours on/off shifts) . After lunch they attend after school supplemental classes and then it’s time to bike over to Champey. In recognition of their strong motivation ( they rarely miss a dance class) and acknowledging their limited family budget, we help by providing an outside class stipend of $ 25 per month.
We will soon be planning the session for the school break and continue in our efforts to bring traditional dance, music and art to children.
Your support of our efforts gives us the opportunity create a sense of pride of culture in these students by exposing them to Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage.
Thank you !
Summer Arts Camp 2013
Champey Arts Association hosted its first Summer Arts Program in August and September. In addition to the children who are now becoming “ regulars” at Champey, summer campers came from included more than 30 children from the Phnom Penh Municipal Orphanage and several from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) . Children enjoyed a half day session learning traditional Cambodian dances and music. Traditional Cambodian music is a key part of the dance and teaches children the history and stories behind the dance.
Local daily attendance has continued to increase at Champey, with some days seeing as many as 100 local children coming to participate during the course of a day. Our goal of building community and becoming a place for kids is gaining ground among local street vendors who found the summer program a great way to safely occupy children during the school break.
The camp session ended with a field trip for all of the campers to a local water park and a graduation performance and party to celebrate their accomplishments.
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