Jan 27, 2017

Read Chea's Story & See the Change You Funded!

Our Inclusive Arts Course began in April 2015 thanks to you and your generous donations. We welcomed 12 students on to the course this included Chea, who tells his story below.

I want to tell you my story. I didn’t know that when I joined Epic Arts I’d grow in confidence and that I’d discover a talent and passion for drawing!

I was 16 when I dropped out of school. This is normal in Cambodia it’s what you do when you’re old enough to work and help your family. There was a lot of construction work around my town so I decided that’s what I’d do. In total I worked on construction sites for five years before my accident.

In 2011 I started on working for a new company. It was a good job, I’d been working there for 20 days when my boss asked me to install a roof. I’d done this loads of times before so I climbed up the 4 metre-tall concrete column to begin my work.

I don’t remember much after that except my life changed forever.

I was holding the metal roof panel. I didn’t notice the electricity cables above me. Thinking about it now, it was a death trap.

Electrocuted, that’s what doctors told me when I woke up.

My friends said they saw me catapulted through the air whilst they watched in shock as I hit the ground.

The metal roof had connected to the cables above me and I was on the floor unconscious.

I woke up in the hospital to these stories and two arms that were turning black. Day after day I watched as the dark rot crept up my arms like a poison, they couldn’t be saved. I had to have surgery to have them removed.

After the amputation doctors told me I was lucky. I still had the use of my elbow joints, but I was hopeless. All I could think of was terrible things like “How can I live like this? It would be better to die”

Devastated all I could do was cry. I became a different person, I used to be so full-of-life. It wasn’t long before I spiraled into a deep depression, drinking everyday and hardly leaving my parents house for three years.

Terrified and angry I felt alone and useless. I couldn’t see a future for myself that’s why during those three years I stayed inside and drank rice wine.

An uncle of mine wanted to help me. He visited every week and gave me a small bit of money to feed his ducks. I began to drag myself out of the depression.

Soon after that a Social Worker from Epic Arts met my mother and told her about the Inclusive Arts Course. “How can a person who uses a wheelchair dance? It’s impossible, I can’t even use a spoon!” was my first thought when I heard about Epic Arts. I wanted to see for myself.

I went along to the open day where I met Epic Arts staff. I was so surprised, they had disabilities but they were having fun and they were happy. That’s when I knew I wanted to join Epic Arts

After two years of studying at Epic Arts I am myself again! I wake up happy everyday something I never thought I’d feel again. I think that because of Epic Arts I have a future and I can do anything I want. I used to cover my arms with a towel and get angry when people stared now I show them my arms in a funny way and I tell them my story. I used to pity people with disabilities, even myself, but now I think that if you have a disability it doesn’t matter! We can all do anything we set our minds to.

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Whilst editing Chea's story I've been able to hear him as he laughs and sings from across the building. He's a completely different man to the one I met almost two years ago. Back to being the life and soul of the party, the cheeky chappy, the confident young man he was before his accident.

Thanks to your donations Chea and 11 other students will graduate from our course in April.

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Nov 10, 2016

New Term for Arts in Schools

Summer break is coming to an end in Cambodia and our team of Arts Leaders are ready and waiting to get back to our partner schools.

 After two terms of Arts and Crafts classes, this term The Arts Team will be delivering Movement and Drama lessons in the schools we work with.


I think Drama is a good way for students to express their feelings, create and play!” - Arts Team Facilitator

 During the summer break The Arts Team have been on a community tours as part of a UNICEF Cambodia and Epic Arts Project ‘I Can’. During the tour Arts Team delivered dance workshops about the rights of those with disabilities to children and young people with and without disabilities. Working with a range of children The Arts Team have become stronger in their leadership skills. They think that what they’ve learnt on tour will help them improve their teaching on the Arts in Schools project. 


“On the I can tour I learnt to work with children of all abilities and how to adapt the activities. I’m more confident leading workshops and I think I’m clearer with giving instructions and getting students to focus. I’m looking forward to getting back to the schools in Kampot and working to bring art to the children” - Arts Team Facilitator

 Here’s to another term of great art workshops in Kampot! Thank you for supporting our project

Nov 1, 2016

Channy's Story: From Not Accepted at School To Star Pupil

Channy shows her writing skills
Channy shows her writing skills

Every child deserves an education and todayhundreds of children with disabilities in Cambodia are missing out on their right to an education.

Meet Channy* a student at one of the Integrated classes we run at local government schools in Kampot. Channy turned 16 this year yet for those first 15 years of her life she'd never had the chance to attend school.

This May she enrolled at our ‘Integrated class’ in her village school made possible through your generous donations. Channy’s parents tried in the past to enroll her in public education but schools, especially in rural areas, just dont accept a child with Down’s Syndrome.

Sadly in Cambodia children with disabilities are considered unable to learn and their education is seen as only a waste time and money.

On a recent visit to the class I saw firsthand how Channy enjoys learning, she’s a very enthusiastic student, throwing her hand up to answer questions and writing letters on her whiteboard with so much care. 

Channy’s teacher told me about Channy - “She loves to learn! In fact her mum told me that before Channy could come to school, she would wait for her nephews to arrive home from school everyday. Channy wanted to practice the Khmer alphabet and learn to write with them”

 

At Epic Arts we’re working hard to make sure children with disabilities get to school. We’re helping to train teachers in inclusive practice, creating classes in local schools and changing perceptions around disability.

Our courses inspire students to learn & be active members of society through arts based education.

The Inclusive Education Programme (IEP) provides education to children and young people living with and without disabilities. We have two courses, the Special Education Project (SEP) for children and young adults with disabilities and the Inclusive Arts Course (IAC) for young people with and without disabilities.

 Thanks for reading the latest from our programme.Help us continue to make positive changes in the lives of children like Channy by donating to our project through Global Giving.

 Remember if you want more updates you can follow our latest new by following and liking us on your favourite social media network here Facebook,InstagramTwitter

*Name changed for privacy

Enrolling at school for the first time with mum
Enrolling at school for the first time with mum
Happy to finally be able to go to school!
Happy to finally be able to go to school!
Learning together
Learning together
Top student writing with care
Top student writing with care
 
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