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Mar 20, 2020

How our School is Coping with Covid-19

Folk Dance at KCDI
Folk Dance at KCDI

Dear Kind Supporters,

Thank you all again for your marvelleous support. It's so wonderful for us to know that you are there, some of you have been helping us for years.

We were recently asked by the local authorities to urgently help six young children originally from three families. Four of the children from two families had been abandoned by their parents and had no adequate family care-giver, no home or support. The parents of the fourth little girl had died and she had not received proper care since and was severely emaciated.

Last month we also took into our school a young boy of twelve, who had lost both his parents and after extensive background research, it was found he had been wandering the streets for six years! All our new children are doing well and have lots of happy moments of playtime with our other children.

At the end of April a blind youth will come to join us too and so add to our group of blind children and youth on our vocational training and rehabilitation program. Our older blind students have been doing a phsyiotherapy course, on top of their music and education classes. Their physiotherapy lessons which were held in a therapy centre have had to be stopped due to Covid-19. We will continue when all is well again.

In mid-January after noting news from Wuhan, China, I requested our school to observe the hygiene measures recommended by the World Health Organisation, to ensure that the Covid-19 virus was not spread to our school. Recently there have been signs that Covid-19 is picking up speed in Cambodia and so I have requested our school to follow the protocol for Lockdown. Resident staff and children won't leave our school and only our cook is able to go in and out, together with our director and accountant, but they observe rigorous hygiene practices and safety measures to safeguard their own health and ensure that they don't spread the virus.

Some of our external staff are now taking leave, especially those with pregnancies or older staff with health issues. They will continue to receive a stipend. All our external staff have been asked to observe lockdown with their own families. Our director Mr Sothy has stocked our school with rice, cooking oil and canned fish. We grow some of our own fruit and vegetables and have our own fish in our fishponds.This is because there are no clear trading laws in Cambodia and speculation during war or disaster is rife and we would risk not being able to feed our children. 

The Cambodian Government has shut-down all schools and universities to stem the tide of infection. Our own children no longer go to state school in the mornings, but they will follow a scholastic learning program in the morning inside our school and then in the afternoon they will continue their arts classes. There will also be lots of playtime and drawing...but all within our school. Thank goodness we have a lovely big garden with lots of trees! We are not only a school but also their home.

As  you know, most of our children have nowhere else to go and so we are dedicated to providing full-time care for them, whatever happens in the world outside.

Please join us for the Little by Little GlobalGiving Campaign from Monday the 23rd March to Friday 27th March. All donations up to $50 will be matched by GlobalGiving 50%. 

To Donate Please go to our link is www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-arts-orphan-disabled-children-cambodia/

Every donation makes a difference.

Please may I take this opportunity to wish you all well and hope for healing in our world.

Thank you,

Links:

Feb 25, 2020

Students from 1994 Celebrate our 25th Anniversary

Former students from 1995 onwards with the founder
Former students from 1995 onwards with the founder

Dear Kind Friends and Supporters of our school,

Thank you so very much for your extraordinary generosity during our End of Year Campaign and Giving Tuesday, as well as all those who gave each month last year. In December we raised over $9,000 which is an amazing sum and such a big help to our school.

Your donations will provide our children with nourishing food, clothing, medical care (when our current donor for medical care ends), scholastic materials, electricity, water, cooking utensils, mosquito nets, bedding, eating utensils, hygiene products, repairs to our building, transport, bicycle repairs, support for our Childcare team and support for our Traditional Arts Training Program.

In December we celebrated 25 years since our school began. Our school was built during the civil war when the Khmer Rouge had their stronghold in Phnom Vor in Kampot. Some of our colleagues working in the countryside were killed by Khmer Rouge. There was shelling, a hostage crisis and a lot of the countryside was littered with anti-personnel mines.

Many of our students at the time had been badly affected by the war. Either they had lost parents because of crossfire or Khmer Rouge attacks, or they themselves were injured by mines. Some were affected by Polio when the disease was not yet eradicated. 

This December we gave a big concert and many of our students from 1994 and onwards came and joined in. Some, who are professional musicians performed alongside our current students. Others brought their spouses and children. His Excellency Hab Touch, Secretary of State for Culture also attended and at the end we had a buffet underrneath the trees by our fish-ponds and then a big birthday cake. We also had an exhibition of archive photographs from 1992 when the founder was first given the land by the Governor of Kampot and what it looked like then, to actually building the school and the first students. At the beginning, the land was wasteland and had originally housed a Pagoda which had been moved by the french Protecterate. There remains today a Stupa with a Boddhi tree growing around it. The land of our school is considered sacred and for this reason, permission was given to build a Music School, because Traditional Cambodian Arts are considered sacred.

Many people attended the concert and could enjoy our performance and the exhibition in the main hall afterwards. Former students from 1994 also laughed at photos of themselves and the changes after a quarter of a century. 

We are incredibly grateful and moved to have this opportunity and we would like to express our profound thanks to you all and to all those who have donated throughout the years, making it possible to keep our school open and running. 

Thank You!

Official Opening of KCDI, 1994
Official Opening of KCDI, 1994
Khorn looking at her own photo from 1994
Khorn looking at her own photo from 1994
KCDI Blind Students and founder performing 2019
KCDI Blind Students and founder performing 2019

Links:

Jan 6, 2020

Celebrating Twenty-Five Years!

Tim Khorn looking at her photo from 1994!
Tim Khorn looking at her photo from 1994!

Dear Kind Donors,

In December 2019, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary since the founding of our school in Autumn 1994.

Our school - The Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children, (Khmer Cultural Development Institute - KCDI), was built during the Cambodian civil war in Southwestern Cambodia, at the time a Khmer Rouge stronghold.

Building our school and working in the remoter districts to coordinate with local authorities for children to come and study at our school, was dangerous. Two of the people I worked with, the District Chief of Chumkiri in Kampot Province and the Chief of Kus Tramkak in neighbouring Takeo Province, were killed by Khmer Rouge forces. There was often no running water and electricity was rationed, there was a curfew at 3pm on the main highway from Kampot to Phnom Penh 137km away. There were anti-personnel mines everywhere and government soldiers would rob people at gun-point.

In these conditions our school was built. After twenty-five years this December 7th 2019 we celebrated and gave thanks for all the marvelleous and enriching experiences we have had and are having. Former students from 1994 onwards came for our Anniversary Concert. We held a special exhibition in our main hall with photos from 1992 onwards, when the Governor of Kampot first donated the land (despite being held a sacred place, it was a wasteland and rubbish dump with scrub and human bones left over from the genocide).

We gave a wonderful concert with our current students and former alumni performing as well. The Secretary of State for Culture came, His Excellency Hab Touch and on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, he presented our school with two beautiful Chapey Dong Veng instruments as part of a new project we have for our blind children and youth. Afterwards we had a lovely buffet under the trees by our fishponds with a big cake to finish!

As we welcome 2020 we expect to give training to teacher-college students as part of a partnership with the Ministry of Education, so that these young teachers may then transmit their knowledge of the arts to future generations of Cambodian children. We will continue assisting vulnerable children who come and study the arts during the day, some receiving nourishing meals and medical care, then going home at nights. Of course we will always care for our children who have no parents and have suffered neglect and abuse, as well as our blind children and youth.

Thank you for making all this possible by generously donating and for being part of our Twenty-Five years and Counting - service to Cambodian children and the Community. We are so grateful.

Happy New Year 2020!

Love from us all at KCDI

Presentation of a Chapey Dong Veng Instrument
Presentation of a Chapey Dong Veng Instrument
Performance with Blind Students
Performance with Blind Students
Picture of Khorn (on the right front) in 1994
Picture of Khorn (on the right front) in 1994

Links:

 
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