Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
On February 20, 2012, I was able to visit the Kasumisou Foundation's project for Apsara Arts Program where youth and orphans, whether poor or rich, can learn traditional Cambodian dance, drawing, and music while not in school and during summers (instead of being on the streets).
There I was able to meet Sithen, the local Kasumisou foundation staff for this project. He welcomed me and sat me down to discuss his background, how he came to Kasumisou, and its current support for the Apsara Arts Program. His background was in accounting and management and had applied for the position, and now he has become an advocate of the efforts.
Additionally, I met the Apsara Arts Program director's wife who told me that before Kasumisou, the program ran in a small house. Kasumisou donated the training center where now many youth can learn traditional Cambodian arts and the culture can be passed down for generations to come. What kept her going? It was because it was preserving the culture, and although she sometimes felt discouraged when kids did not show up.. in the end "she kept going to preserve the culture for future generations". She was very happy and very grateful. I also learned that she was a former dancer for the Royal Palace back in her performing days - you can still see the grace and pride in her when she shares with visitors he meaning of the dance movements.
Every movement had a meaning - each signifying something in nature. The ages of the children (both boys and girls) ranged from age 3 to 20. 9 children were orphaned and were able to live at the center, and the most talented went on to become teaching assistants - a way to make a living and to break their cycles of poverty. Earlier in the day, I met 3 children that had attended the Apsara Arts Summer Program and benefitted from this project. They shared with me the song and dance they learned, and how they loved going.
The laughs of the kids were contagious (all had on traditional uniforms), and their focus was admirable. See HERE for a short clip of the training. Several of the youth who were part of the Kasumisou foundation support were present at the time (3 to be exact).
The funding is based on donor-support and highly dependent on it. Only 1 person managed this funding locally (Sithen), discussed increases or decreases with the Apsara director and staff, and provided accounting for the 2 main founders that visit every few months. Everyone were extremely welcoming to me, eager to share their experience with Kasumisou, and answer any questions I had. The common sentiment throughout the day was that all were so grateful for Kasumisou.
In the end, I was even was able to participate. I was dragged on stage even though I repeatedly oh-kooned (thank-you'd ) and declined, but to no avail.. up on stage I went and was guided with clear English 1,2,3’s throughout the entire dance (you can see me in one of the photos in the back with a green sweater)…
For more details and pictures about my visit please visit: JacquelineInTheField
Recap & Review: Summer Arts Camp 2011
Our 2011 Summer Arts Camp hosted 67 campers for a fun filled 6 week session during the summer break from school. Hosting 67 campers, the 2011 Camp saw a 50/50 mix of new campers and returning campers with children coming from an AIDS hospice, the Phnom Penh Municipal Orphanage and children our own AIDS Patient Family Support Program.
The structure remained as in previous years, with resident Apsara Arts Association students actively engaged to offer Campers a warm welcome and extra assistance as needed. Campers participated in a curriculum that included a an introduction and /or review of the basics of Cambodian dance, introduction to traditional Khmer stories, music and instruments. Teaching staff included Senior Apsara students apprentice teachers and staff teachers. Some campers also participated in music lessons, which depended upon availability of instruments. Campers who completed the full 6 weeks session received a certificate of achievement and participated in the end of session recital performance and party.
A new play was introduced in 2011 as a modern compliment to the traditional Cambodian dance experience. This new play was expressed in dance with characters portrayed as animals in the forest. This new play centered upon a theme that showed how corruption and abuse of can impact a community, and was meant to provide moral insights to students that can easily be transferred to modern daily life in Cambodia.
The new play was performed at the recital performance and the closing party was attended by members of the clergy, staff from the Orphanage and a few parents from children from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program.
Originally started as a trial program in 2009, we will continue the Summer Arts Camp as long as dedicated funding support can be found .
To everyone who made this Camp possible, please accept our heartfelt thanks and the thanks of children who attended the 2011 Summer Arts Camp.
With best wishes for 2011, we look forward to haring another summer with you and the children in our Summer Arts Camp.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
2011 Summer Arts Camp reinstated due to generosity of last minute donors !
Our 2011 Summer Arts Camp , initially cancelled for 2011 due to lack of funding, received a last minute reprieve due to unexpected generous donations. The 2011 Summer Arts Camp is hosting just 65 students, a lower number than before, to an abbreviated 6 week session.
2011 Camp , which began in August 2, will provide 6 weeks of instruction in traditional Cambodian dance and music to 65 enthusiastic campers which include 35 children from the Phnom Penh Municipal Orphanage, 20 children from a local AIDS hospice and 10 children from Kasumisou Foundation’s AIDS Patient Family Support Program.
Campers will continue to build skills in the performing arts, as well as building self discipline, self esteem and an understanding of the power and responsibility of volunteering . As before, Summer Art Camp classes will be taught by Senior students of the Apsara Arts Association , under the guidance of staff teachers. Peer mentoring is a key part of this program, where disadvantaged children can learn from their peer teachers, who are now advanced to rank of student teacher.
More information on the Apsara Arts Association, its students and performances can be seen on the Kasumisou Foundation website at www.kasumisou.org.
Our sincere thanks to all who have continued in support of our efforts to continue the Summer Arts Camp. We would be grateful for additional donations to help us ofset related expenses for this program.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Funding Goals Met -Summer Arts Camp for Orphans
Thank you! We did it! Your generous support of our project campaign during the GlobalGiving Open Challenge has made it possible for 75 orphans to attend 8 weeks of Kasumisou Foundation’s 2009 Summer Arts Camp.
Thanks to your support, we have now been welcomed onto the GlobalGiving.com website, which should significantly broaden our exposure through personal and social networking as well as a result of the prominence of GlobalGiving in the media and within the non-profit arena.
Donations made to our Summer Arts Camp for Orphans project totaled $ 6,400 from 77 donors, with net proceeds of $5, 584 ( 87.25%) to coming Kasumisou Foundation and $816 (12.75%) retained by GlobalGiving which is also a non-profit organization.
As most of you know, this was our first project campaign with GlobalGiving. Like all new things on-line, there has been a technology learning curve.
For the past 10 years, at Kasumisou Foundation, we have tried to thank each of our donors personally by letter. However, in reviewing our successful campaign, we have learned that the information of donors who had checked “ anonymous” is not available to us. Consequently, our only method of contact to these donors to personally express our heartfelt thanks is via project updates through the GlobalGiving site.
We would like to continue our long standing tradition of direct contact with all of our donors and in this regard we would be grateful if you would send your contact information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
New website launch:
Mark has just launched a new website for Kasumisou Foundation. To see photos from our 2009 Summer Arts Camp, please visit the new website at www.kasumisou-foundation.info . Click on the “WHAT’S NEW” tab and there is a link will take you to the photo album.
Permission based email list change:
We will soon start using a top rated permission based email firm to handle our future campaign emails. Our goal is to eliminate annoying duplicate emails and have a 100% permission based email list. This will also you an immediate “opt out” ability should you wish to be taken off our list. Again, there is a technology learning curve and we are doing our best to be current with the times.
Questions or Comments:
Please contact us with questions or comments at email@example.com .
Thank you again! Our efforts are only possible because of the generous support of friends like you!
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
October 16, 2009
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