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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:

Nov 30, 2019

Join us to celebrate our 25th Anniversary!

Taking a break during dance class
Taking a break during dance class

Dear Friends and Supporters of our school,

Thank you so much for your marvelleous support this year and to those who kindly donated each month, as well as those who have given a special one-off donation.

Your precious help has provided our children resident at our school with nourishing food, clothing, medical care, transport to school, Braille materials, musical instruments and scholastic materials, as well as electricity, water, sanitary products and of course our childcare and vocational training programs. You have helped enable and empower many children to receive proper life-saving care and protection, scholastic education and vocational and therapeutic training in traditional Cambodian arts. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and good-will.

This year we celebrate 25 years since the beginning of our school. The Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children - Khmer Cultural Development Institute (KCDI), was founded in 1993 and built in 1994 during the civil war in Kampot. Remembering what it was like then and all the challenges we faced during the war, the heartbreaks we have experienced as well as the love, joy and solidarity we have shared.  Today we look back at a quarter of a century of caring for so many children and working to preserve Cambodia's precious ancient cultural heritage.

We will celebrate our 25th Anniversary this December by giving a big concert at our school in the presence of His Excellency the Director  General from the Ministry of Culture, involving our current students and former alumni from our school. We will also hold an exhibition in our main hall of photographs of our children from 1994 and what they look like today, as well as archive material from the building of our school.

You are all welcome to come to our Concert at our school on Saturday the 7th December at 6.30pm in Kampot!

On 3rd December we will also be having #Giving Tuesday on GlobalGiving where Each donation will be matched by GlobalGiving. #Giving Tuesday starts at 00.00.00 ET (Eastern Time) and ends at 23.59.59 ET. Donations can be made using credit card, Apple Pay and Paypal.

If you are not able to join us on # Giving Tuesday, then you can participate in the End of Year Campaign, from the 4th December at 00.00 (ET) to the 31st December 2019 at 23.59.59 (ET) you can donate for both campaigns using this link:-

www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-arts-orphan-disabled-children-cambodia/       Project No 16371

The projects that engage the most donors will also receive a Bonus Prize from GlobalGiving.  Both #Giving Tuesday and The year End Campaign are vitally important for our school. The funds raised help us keep on running  and allow us to help many vulnerable children, who would otherwise have nowhere else to go. These include children resident at our school who have no parents, but have been neglected and abused by their extended families, with some affected by chronic and serious illnesses and life-changing injuries; Blind children and youth; Vulnerable children on our Outreach program.  Please share with your friends and family and anyone you think might be interested.

Thank You!

Catherine and Everyone at KCDI

(Photographs kind courtesy of Steve Porte. Taken with permission by the students and staff of KCDI)

Robam Chuon Puor (Blessing Dance at KCDI)
Robam Chuon Puor (Blessing Dance at KCDI)
KCDI Blind student at state school using Braille
KCDI Blind student at state school using Braille

Links:

Oct 8, 2019

What We've Been Up To

Folk dance lesson
Folk dance lesson

Dear Friends and Supporters of our School,

Thank you for all your wonderful support and continuous help.

As you know, we have multiple programs and so I will try to give you as many updates as possible here.

Our Emergency Outreach program for Ten Vulnerable Children is developing positively. The children who come from situations of extreme poverty and whose fathers have left them, are doing well. Their health has already improved and they are less anxious and more happy. They are studying Traditional Cambodian Performing Arts at our school, as well as having nourishing meals with us. We also faciliate their state school studies too. Additionally we provide them with clothing and medical care. They go home every evening to their mothers. We are very happy to be able to make a positive difference and we thank you for your support of this program. I will be writing a specific report next week for all those who donated to this program. We have however to monitor this program, because some mothers are inclined to use their older children for work or begging. This is a very big problem in Cambodia, especially amongst very poor or illiterate people. In such cases we ask for the local authorities to support us.

In late summer our residential and blind children did their national exams in line with the national curriculum. The National Centre for the Blind (Krousar Thmey) in Phnom Penh is now government-run. This means that all Braille materials are no longer sponsored by Krousar Thmey and we must purchase Braille materials ourselves. We are concerned for the future of Braille-teacher training at Krousar Thmey and we do hope that there will continue to be an influx of trained teachers, so that our school can continue to hire Braille teachers in the futureOur school together with Epic Arts and other partner NGOs (Friends International- Phnom Penh, M'Lop Tapang - Sihanoukville and APLE - Phnom Penh) have set up the Childsafe Movement in Kampot. The first step was to receive training at our school together with Epic Arts staff. The training was given by M'Lop Tapang and Friends International. Our director Mr Sothy also went for furher training in Sihaoukville at the M'Lop Tapang centre. This was followed by the first conference on Childsafe in Kampot. Our school partnered with Epic Arts and the local authorities, police and Department of Social Affairs. We were very pleased at the response and the determination by authorities to prevent abuse and protect children in Kampot, especially with the huge influx of expatriates now living in the town. This problem has suddenly got very big and out of control. Authorities have been struggling and so it was vital that we harnessed people's attention and efforts under one umbrella to create a workable and sustainable program.

Our school will participate in further training next week given by M'Lop Tapang and hosted by our school. Epic Arts will also attend. Our senior staff will receive training in how to train local hotels, restuarants and taxis (tuk-tuk drivers) in specific preventative measures and child protection training. We will also host APLE next weekend and members of the Swedish police to discuss progress being made. Next week we will also receive a training session given by Friends International in Kep and an assessment at our school. These assessments are regularly given and help our school to develop in expertise.

We will also be receiving support so that we can have an in-house Social worker. Apart from the care we give to residential children, blind children and our vulnerable outreach children and children who come and study for free during the day, we have opened our doors (the only NGO so far in Kampot) to receive emergency cases. We provide emergency temporary shelter and food for battered or homeless women who have very young children, as well as street children who have got lost from their families. Working together with the Department of Social Affairs and our partners in Childsafe Epic Arts, we coordinate to make case assessments and help provide reintegration and ttransport back to their homes or a safe place.

There is so much work here, that our director Mr Sothy and our senior staff are rather overwhelmed, hence the need for a Social worker who can help with assessments, coordination with Epic Arts Social worker and the multiple documents needed to be filled with local authorities.

We are also working on trying to rehabilitate and house a group of street children in Kampot. The situation is very complex as Cambodian adults are also involved in a lucrative begging business. The problem is greatly exacerbated because of the presence of hundreds of foreign tourists and residents, who hand out money and gifts to children, thereby encouraging the begging business. Some of the children are addicted to glue sniffing or drugs. Together with Epic Arts we will distribute educational leaflets (created by Friends International) to all hotels, bars and restuarants, which give important tips to tourists on how to behave appropriately towards children.

We ourselves had a heart-breaking and unique case of taking care of a boy who had lived on the streets but who had issues with dependency and begging. For his safety and well-being we coordinated with another NGO in the countryside to provide foster-case to this child in a safe place with a loving Cambodian family far away from the town. For sixteen months he did well, but then began to revert back to stealing and begging. He ran away and is now once again in Kampot town and part of the group of begging children. We all want to help him together with the other lost children.

Arts Program

We will be having a new Pin Peat music teacher from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, as Mr Sambo who is our accountant and also a Pin Peat teacher cannot for obvious reasons do both.

Mr Sambo was able to raise funds amongst Cambodian business people in Kampot to create a clean, safe play space at the back of our dining area. We are very pleased at the positive participation of Cambodian people, who often donate rice and food to help us.

 

Master Samouen our Mohori teacher has been busy making shadow puppets with our students. Following the ancient art of drying leather and using tree-bark dyes to colour it during the dry season, we then use the wet season to cut out and create our beautiful puppets for new plays and also to sell too. Our children love making puppets and often make small ones for fun and personal use too.

We recently had the Pchum Bun Festival where Cambodian people pay homage to their departed loved ones and their ancestors. Those children with well-adjusted extended-families were able to spend time in their villages with them, whilst some of our children who would be in danger if they returned home, stayed at our school with special staff members.

This year is our 25th Anniversary. To celebrate we have been posting archive photos and stories on our Facebook page. We will give a special concert in December and hold Buddhist ceremonies to bless our school.

Thank you all for being part of our journey and for your beautiful support!

 

(Photographs kind courtesy Steve Porte: Taken with the permission of our students and staff)

More dance lessons!
More dance lessons!
Master Bem with his Yike drum
Master Bem with his Yike drum

Links:

 
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