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Jul 1, 2019

Epic Arts Employs the Students You Funded!

Sok leading a dance workshop at a local schools
Sok leading a dance workshop at a local schools

The Inclusive Arts course came to an end for another round of students in April. Ten young people with disabilities graduated our 18-month course with not just arts and performance skills but with increased confidence in themselves.

During the transition the students had exit interviews and applied for full-time positions at Epic Arts. 60% of the students gained full-time employment with Epic Arts social enterprises, half of them are young women with disabilities. The other 40% of graduates were supported by the Inclusive Education Team through the exit process to find employment or creative opportunities in other organizations.

Sok and Malis joined our community outreach team and have been working hard with the team to learn new performances, they have already delivered 5 creative workshops in local schools as part of an ongoing partner project with WaterAid.

“My family and community have changed the way they think about me, before the course they thought that I couldn’t do anything, but now they admired because I have ability good attitude and I’m thoughtful. My dream is to go on to become an excellent drama performer.” - Malis, 2019 Graduate and Performer

Sakiros, Ly, and Kakada applied to work at Epic Arts Café and they’ve been happily practicing their English with customers and learning new skills from senior café staff

Hang is working at Epic Creations Shop, where she is enthusiastically making handicrafts and learning about customer service

“ I really support other young people with and without disabilities to join Epic Arts course, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m more independent. I’m happy that I got a job with Epic Arts, I really like to make handicrafts and trying to talk to customers!” - Hang, 2019 Graduate and Epic Creations Assistant

Your Gift Means a Lot

We receive no statutory funding for this course so we rely on donations from generous donors like you to fund our life-changing course and empower young people with disabilities. Please consider setting up a monthly donation to help us continue our transformational work.

Thank you

Malis teaches a student proper hand washing steps
Malis teaches a student proper hand washing steps
Apr 15, 2019

Epic Arts Students Graduate! Find Out What's Next!

Co-Director, Onn Sokny, with graduate, Sophat
Co-Director, Onn Sokny, with graduate, Sophat

We can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since a bunch of new faces stepped in to the Epic Arts Centre in Kampot and joined the Inclusive Arts Course. All thanks to your donations and profits from our social enterprises.

This month the course has come to a close and the students have spent 3 weeks travelling around Cambodia touring local schools, leading creative workshops and performing.

They travelled from Kampot & Kep to Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Battambang. A huge feat considering some of the students had never left Kampot! They also got a chance to visit the Angkor Wat Temple Complex, one student commented “Thank you for organizing the tour I never thought I would get to visit Angkor Wat in my life!”

The aim of the tour is to inspire children with and without disabilities and showing that young people with disabilities can achieve anything if they set their mind to it. The tour also gave the students a huge learning curve and a taste of what it’s like to be a professional artist. They performed at 8 schools and NGOs to over 950 children, young adults and teachers. 

What’s Next?

We held a special graduation event this week as we saw our 8 students graduate from the Inclusive Arts Course. It’s an exciting time for the graduates and one that our Inclusive Education team have been supporting them through. 

One Graduate will be employed as a full-time Performer in our Dance Company, Epic Encounters. Watch this space for a profile in our next newsletter!

Four more students have been interviewed and offered employment through Epic Arts in admin and social enterprise programme. And the remaining three students have been working closely with our team to explore what they want to do next and the Inclusive Education team have been helping them to take their next steps. 

Whatever the graduates do next, whether at Epic Arts or elsewhere, they will do with more confidence and belief in themselves than they did when they walked through our doors 18 months ago.

Thank you for donating to our programme without the collective effort of you and other donors we wouldn’t be able to run our course and transform the lives of young people with disabilities in Cambodia! Over the last 2 years you’ve helped us to raise over $3,000 to support our students on their journeys.

Our Inclusive Education team are now taking a well-deserved break but we will be back over Khmer New Year reflecting on the course curriculum and structure ready for a new intake in October 2019!

A big thank you for supporting the work we do in Cambodia from all Epic Arts staff and students

IAC team and Class of 2017 - 2019
IAC team and Class of 2017 - 2019
Apr 1, 2019

Parent Power at Epic Arts!

SEP Teachers See Positive Change in Parents

Last May we began a new class, Growing Class. The class is for children with disabilities aged between 3 and 6 and their caregivers. Special Education Teacher, Kagna, shares with us some of the changes she’s seen in parents in the first year of the class

“Before the parents started attending the Growing Class, they didn’t know how to support the needs of their children. The parents were unsure of the best ways to support their child’s development or even how their child should be developing. After joining the Growing Class, the parents are more confident in supporting their children.

 Many of the children are living in communities where their neighbours refer to the child as their disability (Deaf, Blind, Brain Problem) rather than the child’s given name. I’ve heard from the parents that they now feel that they can discuss disability openly with people in their communities and that they can explain to people that their child has a name and not to call them by their disability.

Having a child with a disability can isolate you so I think it’s important to have a place where parents of children with disability can meet because they understand each other’s feelings. I’m happy to see that the parents have good relationships. I often observe the parents, at snack time they will all talk and share stories together about their child’s experiences, as soon as one parent stops another parent will pick up the conversation and follow on with a similar story.

Myself and the other teachers always share our own experiences with the parents. Of course, the parents still worry about their children, ‘How will their disability affect their lives?’ ‘What will their children’s futures look like?’ I always share my own experiences and tell them that of course we don’t know what the future will hold but having a support network around you is important and that access to education, services and advice at an early age is the best start for any child!”

Kagna and the rest of the Epic Arts Special Education team are excited to hold more classes in 2019 as part of the Childhood funded project. If you’d like to keep support parents of children with disabilities, please consider setting up a reoccurring donation for 2019!

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