The war from 1975-79 decimated the Cambodian arts, with few masters of the traditional arts forms surviving the terrible period of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Since 1994, KCDI has been working to revive and now protect and promote the traditional arts. This project now supports up to 150 impoverished children, aged 8 - 17, from surrounding villages to receive free quality tuition in the arts also as vocational training. Children from very disadvantaged backgrounds receive additional support.
During the Khmer Rogue period, nearly 90% of artists were killed. This once rich and thriving culture is in danger of disappearing, forever. There is little knowledge about or chance to learn about traditional art forms and young people risk losing an important part of their own cultural identity. As Cambodia develops, it is vital it does so with a clear self-identity, one that is fostered by a strong and diverse arts sector. Its also important that these ancient art forms are taught properly
The project will be provide free, high-quality training for up to 150 very poor children from villages in rural areas near to Kampot town. Tuition will be given in five traditional art forms: Yike, Mahori, Pin Peat, classical and folk dance. By providing training and awareness raising, KCDI will help reconnect young people to their culture. It will also provide a path towards future employment and as a form of therapy. The tuition of the arts is given by highly trained Cambodian artist
This program is of vital importance to those children who come from poor families with social problems, like gambling and addictions. The program lifts them up out of their desperate situation, provides them with hope. The teaching program provides them with quality training to become a professional artist (as many previous KCDI students have done). With more students training in the traditional arts, the greater the awareness & preservation of these ancient traditions, dating back 1000 years!