This project provides a job track for 6 talented dancers from our previous dance school program. All six are under age 24, and have an average 10 years of intensive classical Khmer dance training. They are eager and able to serve as part time apprentice teachers for our Summer Arts Camp program and its newly developed growth into a year round program for dozens of local children. It also provides part time jobs for 3 of our college students who do various jobs at the school.
There is no established job track for students who have spent years studying classical Cambodian (Khmer) dance. Dancers, mostly female, must rely upon uncertain performances during the short tourist season and the rest of the time, supplement their income as bar girls, which in Cambodia often leads as a route to prostitution. Our project additionally employs 3 of the students in our college program, providing a small income to provide for basic food and liviing expenses for the students
Our program provides year round employment to apprentice teachers allowing these talented young dancers an opportunity to continue their studies of dance and gain experience as teachers. Our college students come from poor families and could not afford food and board. We provide free housing and pay a small salary for administrative and other work at the camp/school. We require our teachers to study English and improve their computer skills to enhance their future employment prospects.
Although these classes in dance, music and art provide fun, education and friendship to orphaned and disadvantaged children, we clearly see that participation in the program builds self esteem and allows at risk children to be better prepared for adult life. Over the past 15 years we have seen several of our students transform themselves from student to teacher and mentor as they become the teachers in our classes, providing an identifyable job track to future students .