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Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia

by Khmer Cultural Development Institute
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia
Free Arts Training for 150 Children in Cambodia


Please send out on the 11th July 2020
Project Report: Please Join us on the 15th July!
By: Catherine Louise Geach 
Position: Founder
Project Location: 1, Ousaphea, Pleauv Eikreach, Kampong Bay, Kampot, Kingdom of Cambodia
Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for your most wonderful support and and generous solidarity.
Even though our world is going through a very difficult and seemingly tumultuous time, your marvellous help shines through.
Even though we haven’t been able to teach children who aren't resident at our school on our Outreach Program, we’ve still been able to take care of All our children Resident at our school. Your support has helped us take care of seven new little children together with all our other children already resident at our school. In the last two months, the local authorities and Kampot Childsafe agents, alerted our school to several children from different families who were suffering severe distress and were at risk. Some had been abandoned by their parents and left with an elderly, disabled grandparent in a remote rural area, two little children had been beaten for a prolonged period by their stepfather and one little girl lost both parents to AIDS herself being infected with HIV. These were all emergency cases requiring swift research and intervention.
Our wonderful staff with great care and loving attention have been looking after our little children. They are all settling down well and are integrating remarkably rapidly into our school. Our other children are kind and caring towards them. 
In my last report I wrote that our blind students had gone to stay with their families during lock-down, as some had health problems which put them at risk from Covid-19 complications. Thankfully for now the Cambodian Government has taken stringent measures to control the spread of the virus and there have been no deaths. Our blind students were in touch with our school and finally said to our director Mr Sothy that they were very bored at home and could they please could come back to our school!? Since mid-May they have been living at our school and have continued with their music studies. They cannot yet go to their physical therapy training classes nor to their state school lessons, as state schools are still closed. All our children and students, whether sighted or blind, do some studying and homework in the morning at our school. Our smaller children then do drawing, reading and other creative activities after homework. Our children also made a vegetable garden too!
We are also immensely grateful to GlobalGiving who awarded us a $1,000 emergency Covid-19 Grant. Our school has kept going all this time. Even though we’ve been isolating to prevent infections, we have continued to look after all our resident children and their myriad needs every day. We’ve continued to teach traditional Cambodian music, dance and Yike theatre. We’ve been able to do this because our staff chose to isolate with our children in order to provide continuity, protection and education for them. We must not close because our children don’t have anywhere else safe to go. The GlobalGiving Grant as well as your donations present and future go towards providing nourishing meals for our children, clothing, electricity, water, bedding, mosquito nets, sanitary materials, face masks, hand sanitisers, repairs and also adds to our medical care budget. We also use your donations to continue our arts and childcare programs and provide scholastic and arts materials.
Please may I ask you all to help us by sharing the news of a special and important fundraising day on GlobalGiving, which will benefit our school. This fundraising day will be held on Wednesday 15th July, starting at 09.00 (ET) and ending 23.59.59 (ET) or until matching funds run out. GlobalGiving is encouraging larger donations and will be matching unique donations from $100 to $499 at 15%, then from $500 to $749 at 30% and from $750 to $1,000 at 50%! In order to be sure that matching funds don’t run out, it’s important to give as early as possible (after the official start time of course). Due to the fact that it is a one day campaign, GlobalGiving can only accept credit card, debit card or Apple Pay.
The Matching Funds day on 15th July is very important for us because we want to be sure we can take care of our children, feed, clothe, care, house and provide education and arts for them into 2021, especially as the world’s economic situation is so uncertain and we may not be able to gather any official funding from foundations or organisations.
I would like to thank each and everyone of you as well as the GlobalGiving Team from the bottom of my heart.
May you and your loved ones all stay well and safe,
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One of our blind students studying the Tro
One of our blind students studying the Tro

Dear kind Supporters,

Thank you all so much for your donations and kind help these last few months. We deeply appreciate your care towards our school.

Our school has two main programs. The first is our Residential Program where children who have lost their parents, or who have been abandoned and abused can live at our school full-time in peace and safety. Additionally we also have blind children and youth resident at our school. All our children resident have state school lessons, receive complete care, study traditional Cambodian arts and older children have vocational training. For our blind youth their academic lessons are accompanied by a Braille teacher and they use Braille materials. They also study physiotherapy and have computer lessons as well as music lessons, in order to increase their knowledge and skills to equip them for adulthood.

Our second main program (this very project that you are sponsoring) which is free Traditional Cambodian Arts tuition for impoverished children and youth. Some of our programs are cyclic, so for example we taught 450 children from Di Pok school, we also trained musicians from local pagoda schools before them. We taught disabled children and youth in coordination with Epic Arts and we have helped extremely poor children by providing their basic needs as well as giving scholastic education and arts training. Our new programs to train college students in Cambodian arts, as they prepare to become primary and secondary school teachers and high level training in the arts as vocational training for poor state school students, has had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Our school is now in isolation, with some external staff now staying at their homes and receiving their salaries, whilst other residential staff observe strict rules to avoid contamination. Some of our resident children have serious health issues like HIV, epilepsy, asthma etc; and we must protect them and our staff.

Some of our blind youth with underlying health issues are now with their families in their remote villages and we stay in touch with them by telephone. They will return after the Khmer New Year. The rest of our resident children have nowhere else to go and we are their home and we will always take care of them at our school for as long as they need. In fact most of them come as young children and then graduate as young adults.

Our second program will resume as soon as the Covid-19 crisis has passed. Funds donated for this program will be saved and will be used for this program.

We will inform all donors on GlobalGiving through a new report when our Second Program activities commence again.

Thank you so much for your understanding.

Our school wishes everyone well and we wish you all good health and safety. 

With love from us all


(Photos by kind courtesy of Steve Porte with permission given by our KCDI students)


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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


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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


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Dear Kind Friends and Supporters of our School,

Thank you so much for your marvelleous help and continued support. We are immensely grateful for your good-will!

Our children have been busy learning how to make traditional shadow puppets. During the dry season we dried and coloured the cow-hide using natural dyes derived from tree bark. This is an ancient method and completely natural. Now the rainy season has begun, we are making the puppets. Our children are learning this skill in the afternoons, after their state school lessons in the mornings and before their music and dance lessons. Our children love making puppets and find it very satisfying creating these lovely works of art. Indeed working with their hands this way is very calming and therapeutic. Soon our puppets will be ready for performance! Our oldest students and our masters also make puppets which can be put on sale to raise funds for our school.

I am very happy to say that after a month at our school, our new group of ten very vulnerable children are already in better health. They are eating nourishing food and are in the proces of receiving medical checks and treatment. One child was already receiving treatment for a serious illness. Our school director in coordination with the local authorities, provided rice, canned fish, cooking oil and other foodstuffs to the mothers of these children. The mothers were also ill and malnourished.

The new children have also been enthusiastically learning new skills, including traditional Cambodian music, dance and Yike.

In just a month, we have noticed that the children are able to speak and articulate better. At the beginning they were so hungry and sick that their brain function had slowed down.

As we are now part of the ChildSafe Alliance and our staff are receiving continual training from the NGO "Friends International", we now open our doors to provide temporary, emergency shelter. Last month we received two emergency cases of battered women with two very young children. We have provided them with shelter and meals,  we then coordinated with other NGOs and the local authorities to provde long-term solutions for them.

This all requires support and so we will be focusing our fund-raising efforts on the 18th July GlobalGiving Bonus Day for our "Emergency Program for Vulnerable Children, Cambodia" (Project Number 40599). 

Please spread the word about our Bonus Day. It will start at 09:00am (ET) and end on the same day at 11.59pm (ET - Eastern Time, USA).

Donations from $100 to $499 will be matched by GlobalGiving 15%

Donations from $500 to $749 will be  matched at 30%

Donations from $750 to $1,000 will be matched 50%

The organisation who raises the most, or who gathers the most donors will receive a bonus prize too!

The Bonus Day is very important for us, because it helps us raise vital funds in the middle of the year, when it is harder to find funds in general.

Thank you from everyone at the Kampot Traditional Music School!


*(Photographs taken with permission by students and staff of KCDI, kind courtesy of Steve Porte)

Learning the Coconut Folk Dance
Learning the Coconut Folk Dance
Folk Dance
Folk Dance


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Organization Information

Khmer Cultural Development Institute

Location: Kampot Town, Kampot Province - Cambodia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Catherine Geach
Kampot, Cambodia
$13,189 raised of $20,000 goal
368 donations
$6,811 to go
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