Dear Kind Donors,
We Thank you all so much for the continued marvelleous help to our School and to our Children.
Since my last report, we completed the re-construction of our Main Hall Roof. A mammoth task of taking down every old tile and wooden beam and re-building the Pagoda-like roof and repairing the bas-relief and Garuda.
We are most grateful to the construction company for the care and attention given and to our Donors who enabled this essential repair work to be done, rendering our Hall, where our Students pratice daily, a safer place.
On the 14th of March, we will hold our "Suot Moan", Buddhist Blessing Ceremony inside our Hall.
I also wrote last time, of our Blind Students who performed in their home Districts, to demonstrate their talents as young professional Musicans. Remembering that through all their Childhood they suffered humiliation from extended family and some, even from close family, because they were considered worthless and useless due to their being blind.
In speaking with our Students today, these are some of the beautiful things they said about their recent Concerts, " My parents were so profoundly happy to see me Perform. They didn't know the level of skill I had attained. There was even the District Chief and Police Chief present at the Concert!" Another Student said, "My parents said they were so delighted and full of Joy, that they felt as though they were flying!"
Now, we are working on the next step for our Students, as they go along the path of becoming independent young adults with the support they need from us. A balance is needed now, between furthering their studies, as they must still grow technically and Musically, and gathering more professional performing experience. They will choose a name for their Traditional Khmer Orchestra and we will make them Traditional Costumes used for Professional Musicians and we will step by step organize the promotion of their most beautiful Orchestra. Later this year, we will be recording a CD of their Mohori Music and Smoet Chant. We will keep you all informed of our progress!
Another lovely piece of news, is that because of your great kindness and generosity on Giving Tuesday through December and those who regularly donate, we have been able to clear a nice piece of land between two of our buildings, (near our vegetable garden,) put down soft sand and buy a slide and a roundabout. The Children love their playground so much. How nice it is to see eveyone playing near the trees and flowers.
Thank you all so very much for your wonderful help and support. We are immensely Grateful.
(Photographs kind courtesy of Steve Porte and Loak Kru Sothy: Permission given by KCDI Student)
Dear Kind Friends and Donors,
Thank you all for your most Wonderful, Kind and Thoughtful Support of our School.
Some of you have kindly given all through the year, whilst others of you have generously given on Giving Tuesday and during the Christmas period. For each of you, we are profoundly grateful.
This Year on #Giving Tuesday, 29th November 2022, which starts at 00:00 Washington DC Time (EST) and ends 11:59:59 (EST), GlobalGiving will give Incentive Funding for each Unique Donor. Thus if you are able to Donate to this Project and to our School, your Wonderful Help will go even Further.
Each of you has helped keep our School open and running.... and supporting us as we help so many of our Children who have nowhere else safe left to go.
There is much Suffering in our World. Everywhere from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen there is war and famine. Sometimes the suffering of so many Fellow Beings is overwhelming.
I myself have been and am still also profoundly involved in Ukraine. But above all, I am responsible for all our Children and Staff at our School in Cambodia.
For 28 years I have taken care of them and watched with immense Joy as they have become stronger, more independent and autonomous. As those Children from nearly thirty years ago, then twenty years ago and then ten years ago have grown up, made careers for themselves and now have their own families. Yet still Cambodia is a forgotten Country. It is now thought of as a fast -growing meta for resorts, luxury golf and business investments, but yet beneath the veneer of high rise buildings, there lies the real Cambodia; a Country where around seventy percent of the Population live in rural areas, where there are mass evictions due to land grabs by the rich and powerful, where many live in utter poverty and still do not have access to clean drinking water, proper hospital care or higher education.
Our School has a profoundly simple but yet complex Job, of caring for those most Vulnerable of Children who have no parents, or who have been abandoned and who then have been let down, rejected or even abused by extended family, whilst some have no extended family at all. As Cambodia has erased orphanages, we are one of the very few approved Centres allowed to care long-term for Children who have no place and have been forgotten by everyone.
We are subject to rigorous checks and controls, not only by the Ministry and Department of Social Affairs, but by our NGO Partners in International Childsafe and also by Unicef. We are a member of International Childsafe and as such our Staff must undergo constant training and growth. We are ever grateful to our NGO Childsafe Partner, Friends International for their constant expertise.
Our Children who live at our School are currently aged from four to sixteen. There are those few who bear serious physical injuries due to abuse they have endured from extended family. Others have parents in prison for an indefinite period and no family who wants them, whilst there are those whose parents are dead and have no living, traceable family member. These our Children receive complete care, education at state school, training in Traditional Khmer Music and Performing Arts, as therapy and vocational training and myriad forms of assistance necessary to their well-being.
We recently begana Prohect, in August 2022, with the Students from the TaPream Primary School, in Tray Koh District, Kampot. These Children are extremely poor, some were suffering from malnutrition. All the Children wanted to study the Arts and Music and so in coordination with their Head Teacher and their parents, we give them free lessons in Khmer Music and Performing Arts, transport to and from our School, a nourishing evening meal after lessons, clothing, medical care and other material help. This Project is especially made to help with the Conservation of Traditional Cambodian Cultural Heritage whilst helping local Children and all is done in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, as are all our Cultural Programs.
Through and beyond the pandemic, we have reached out to over One Thousand Children and still counting, who are in grave difficulty and have faced severe malnutrition and destitution. With some support from Unicef and from yourselves, we have also been able to provide emergency food packages and support
During the pandemic, we also provided 4,000 cooked meals to, men, women and Children, who faced absolute hunger in our Community.
There is no social support system, no welfare, no assistance in emergency situations, for those who are already very poor and have no adequate housing. Without emergency help, some will starve and perish.
As always, we also run our Emergency Temporary Shelter, welcoming and providing immediate relief, shelter and food to Children in dangerous situations, on the street, or to parents who have become destitute and are with young Children. We also help pregnant women who have nowhere to live. In this program, we work together with our Childsafe Partners and with the local authorities. All Programs involving our Children are done in coordination with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Department of Social Affairs in Kampot Province.
All Donations go straight to the Heart of our School without any waste, because we do not have any hidden administrative or expatriate overheads and costs.
Our Financial Reporting is audited each year and also checked by Unicef and our NGO Partner in Childsafe, “Friends International”
I Thank my dear Colleagues some of whom have been with me for 28 years, for their wonderful Dedication, Love and Kindness and their devotion to our Children.
Thank You All.
Catherine Louise Geach (Founder)
*Photographs: Kind Courtesy of Steve Porte and made with the permission of our KCDI Students and Staff
Dear very Kind Donors,
Thank you all so much for your most wonderful help and support towards our School.
As always we take long-term care of extremely Vulnerable Children who have nowhere safe to live and we also provide Rehabilitation and Education and Vocational Training through tuition of Traditional Cambodian Music to Blind Youth.
We Give Emergency Food Packages to Children in Kampot Province and give Emergency Temporary Shelter to Children in danger, found on the streets and to parents (with Children) who have suddenly become destitute. We are a member of International Childsafe and all our Staff receive Training in Childcare and Child Protection.
Two weeks ago we began a new Project with the Boueng TaPream Primary School in Tray Koh District, Kampot Province
Thirteen very impoverished Children now come to our School every day, from Monday to Friday, to study Traditional Cambodian Music, Dance and Yike as well as Lakoun Sabaik Toch (Small Shadow Puppetry).
Our School provides them with Transport to and from their Village School and a Nourishing evening Meal, as well as Clothing, Medical care, School-books and Hygiene Materials. All is done with the coordination of the Headmaster of their Primary School and with their Parents. Some of the Children are also from the ethnic Islamic Chham Minority and they have a particular interest in our School's tuition of the ancient Yike, which is thought to originate from the era of the Ancient Kingdom of the Champa.
Many of the Children were so malnourished that their hair was red and they were anemic. As in all rural villages in Cambodia, water is not drinkable without first boiling it and electricity is intermittent. Many houses have no proper toilets or sewage disposal.
This Project is specifically for Assisting Impoverished Children and the Revival and Preservation of Traditional Khmer (Cambodian) Music and the Performing Arts. These Art-forms, designated “World Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO, are now in danger of obliteration. Although the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Royal University of Fine Arts and National Theatre do much work to preserve Cultural Heritage, however the negative effects of Social Media, iPhones, Western globalization, the domination of China over Cambodia and many other factors, renders these ancient Art Forms extremely vulnerable.
Between 1975 -1979 during the Khmer Rouge genocide, 90% of Cambodian Artists were killed or perished, at a period when a third of the Population of Cambodia was decimated. The Traditional Performing Arts and Music, dating back over one thousand years, was not written down but passed down through the Centuries from Master to Pupil using the oral traditon. The utter destruction by the Khmer Rouge of all Art forms, Buddhist Temples, Schools and Hospitals, the killing of intellectuals, Teachers, Monks, Engineers, Doctors and Artists completely destroyed Beautiful Cambodia, once known as "The Pearl of Southeast Asia".
It has therefore been the Vision of our School, since first I founded it in 1993 and in its construction during the Civil War in Southwestern Kampot, in 1994, that we take care of the most Vulnerable of all Children .... those who have no one and who have been forgotten.... and to Conserve and Revive Traditional Khmer Music and Arts for future generations of Cambodians.
On the surface level, especially in towns and cities, Cambodia has come a long way and the war and the genocide seem distant memories, but if one looks more profoundly, underneath the surface, there is enormous, unexpressed trauma of an entire generation of Cambodians and in rural areas, severe poverty and poverty-related illness and malnutrition, a large swathe of the Cambodian Population, completely forgotten.
Your help provides all our Children who live at School and in our various projects, with Nourishing meals, clothing, transport, medical care, Tuition of the Arts, electricity, water and School Books, School bags, repairs to our Buildings, Transport for our Children who live at our School, to to to and from our School to State School for scholastic education and the countless, myriad things needed to run a School and take Care of so many Children.
In the photographs attached to my Report, I include those of our new Students from the Tray Koh TaPream Primary School, but also one of our many Birthday Parties for those of our Children who live at our School long-term, for whom we are their Family.
We Thank you All from the Depth of our Hearts, for so Kindly and Generously Supporting us.
*(Photographs by Neark Kru Tara and Loak Kru Sambo: Taken with permission by our Masters and Students at KCDI)
Dear Kind Donors,
Thank you all for your most generous and kind help to our School!
This year, we celebrate twenty-eight years since I founded our School. We have seen War, Shelling, Khmer Rouge strongholds, Kidnapping, We have known Cambodian Colleagues killed by the Khmer Rouge, then Disarmament, Peace, the influx of Expatriates, Covid and now a very unstable World, on the verge of World War Three.
I can only feel immense Gratitude and profound Awe that our School has been so Protected and Helped... and that I have the most Wonderful Cambodian Colleagues, who have dedicated their Lives to the Preservation of Traditional Khmer Music and Arts and to our Children, past and present. I also feel immensely moved looking back over the years, at all our Children. now grown and with families of their own. We are nearly all in touch and get visits from many of them. I have over one hundred Grandchildren!!
My Work in Cambodia, began thirty-two years ago, at the age of eighteen, first compiling a report on the Violation of Human Rights by the Khmer Rouge in areas affected by war, and then a year later, whilst teaching Violin at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and then living in a Cambodian village without electricity or running water, during the civil war and during the post-Vietnamese, Communist Government, I saw every suffering imaginable. At the same Time, I taught as a therapy the Traditional Tro Sau instrument to Cambodian veteran soldiers, badly mutilated by the War at the Khean Khlang Rehabilitation Centre. In those days the bridge over the Mekong had been blown up and I would travel by bicycle and then boat accross the river. Both teaching at the Royal University and the Rehabilitation Centre were done without stipend and as a volunteer.
At the Royal University of Fine Arts, I saw that Traditional Khmer Music was in danger of dying out forever, as those Masters left alive after the genocide, numbered only seven, and the Traditional Music Students were too poor to be able to come and study frequently. It is estimated that the Khmer Rouge killed 90% of all Cambodian Artists. I loved Traditional Khmer Music very much and studied Mohori Music. Later with funds from the British Embassy I ran a Scholarship Project, to financially support Traditional Music Students for a year, so that they could afford to come and study and keep alive their precious traditions. Still to this day I am moved to tears when hearing Traditional Khmer Music beautifully rendered, or watching the Royal Cambodian Ballet.
In those days the International community did not recognize the importance of Traditional Cambodian Arts, and my efforts were not yet understood. Later in the year 2000, UNESCO was to declare Cambodian Performing Arts, (which date back over a thousand years), as "World Intangible Cultural Heritage"
When living in a village, early in the morning, around 5.30am I would wake and come from my rented room and find on the verendah, Children and adults with infections, cuts and wounds and I would treat them with my first-aid kit. Those Children who had no parents or whose parents were ill, were suffering from severe malnutrition.
All these Profound experiences, enabled me to envision our School in Kampot (then greatly affected by the war). I knew that in order to restore Traditional Khmer Music and the Arts for future generations, we must help those Children who were most in need with practical, loving help and education.
The land on which our School is built, was donated by the Governor of Kampot (this in itself a story of its own) and ratified by the Ministry of Culture. I began the building of our School in 1994 during the hostage crisis in Kampot and when government forces attacked the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Phnom Voar.
Yet despite all the terror and chaos around us, an Oasis of Peace was Created. Our School has four buildings and a beautiful, mature garden full of large trees, fruit trees, fish ponds and vegetable gardens and plenty of green space for our Children to run around in and play.
Now we are in June 2022, In these last three months, we have received into our School, Children in great difficulty.
One little boy aged six came into our Care after both parents were put in prison and his relatives disassociated themselves from him. He has settled in really well, which is quite miraculous after what he has been through. He plays with his new friends and chirps about and joins in with everything.
We then took under our wing, a young Mother with two babies. Her husband had also been imprisoned. Unable to pay the rent, she had been evicted and was sleeping with her babies in the market. Her food, cooking stove and money were stolen from her there. We paid rent for her and took her for medical visits, brought clothing, food, baby diapers etc; In the end she came to our School with her babies, because she was suffering from exhaustion. We will help her get her strength back and then very gradually help her find employment compatible with caring for two infants. This is long-term, because both she and her babies are in a very precarious and vulnerable position.
We are also looking after a boy and girl, aged ten and fifteen, after they too lost their parent to prison.
Another two little girls, aged six and eight are with us too, because their mother left them and their Father is very ill. We are also helping their Father and while we care for the two little ones, we try and keep everyone together.
Our Children who have been with us for some years now, are all doing well!
Our Bind Students have been joined by another youth who would like the opportunity to study Traditional Khmer Music as a vocation.
Our Mohori Teacher who is in his seventies and is our treasure and School Grandfather, broke his leg in a motorcycle accident near his home two months ago. He is now well. He survived imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge and was shackled to other prisoners, narrowly avoiding execution.
There are not words enough to Thank you all for your constant support and kindness through all these years.
Each of you has helped in some way, even to save the Life of another Human Being and to render possible that our School stay open year after year.
With my most Profound Gratitude
(Photographs taken of our Students and Masters with their Permission. Kind Courtesy of Steve Porte)
Dear Kind Donors,
We would like to Thank You All for your incredibly Kind and Generous Donations to our School! For those who donated in December and those who donate each Month.
Your thoughtful warm-hearted generosity raised over $15,000 for our School!
This is an immense help and we are profoundly Grateful.
On our Residential Program, many of our Children and Youth, have no safe place to be and no living relatives and so they stay with us for long periods until they are young adults and can go to University (with our support) or find employment (again with our support). We also provide Emergency Temporary Shelter. Sometimes this is a matter of a few days, but other times, it is not easy to find a safe solution so quickly and Children can stay a few months or longer with us....as long as they need.
In these last three months, we have helped a little girl with HIV be settled with her Aunt and Uncle, after her parents both died of AIDS. She stayed with us for two years and at first she had serious health conditions and was suffering from shock. Then she began to play with new friends, dance and play Music at our School and happily settled in.
We are following her progress with her relatives, who previously due to economic problems could not yet care for her, but who now can welcome her. On our visit to her last week, she was well. Her Aunt and Uncle are very loving.
We also had two young Children, a boy and a girl, who due to domestic violence took shelter for two years at our School. Their Mother has now been able to leave behind the person inflicting violence and move to another Province where her relatives live, and start her life again. Therefore her Children were then able to live with their Mother once more. Through the period of two years, the two Children were able to see their Mother at regular intervals and she sometimes came to stay at our School too. Through Childsafe- partner NGOs, we are also able to check on the well-being of the two Children, despite them now living far away. We remain as always, ready to help and provide loving care and shelter if they or any other Child from our Emergency Temporary Shelter Program, were to need this again.
Each Child, who does have loving relatives, is carefully helped back into their families and then we make sure that they are well.
Our Blind Students are doing very well. Two have started higher education (University) and we are supporting them through this. Their Music Program is growing and recently two journalists came to make a special reportage on their Music Education.
Our Children in Residence, who have nowhere else safe to live, are also very well and continue with their Schooling and all our Traditional Music and Arts programs.
Our dear Staff continue with their Childsafe, Child Protecton and Childcare Training. I Thank them together with our director Mr Sothy, with all my Heart, for their loving dedication to the Children of our School and to our School itself..
There have been grave economic and social problems in Cambodia, because of the Pandemic. Many, many people already very poor and with no extra resources, because of the very long economic shut-downs, became destitute, malnourished and some faced starvation. Last year, with emergency funds, we were able to provide approximately 4000 cooked meals and from the beginning of 2021 until January 2022, we have provided almost 300 vulnerable families in Kampot with Emergency Food Packages, Cooking Utensils and support for rent and utility bills. This Program shall continue until September 2022 and has been mainly funded by Unicef, but also by very generous donors on GobalGiving and privately too.
As I write, I am now in Rome, Italy and assisting the Ukranian Church of Santa Sofia in very quickly gathering donations for emergency medical supplies. These medical supplies, which are primarly used for war wounds and emergencies, (together with warm clothing and non-perishable foodstuffs) are Every day being driven in three large trucks, accross Europe into Ukraine through a Humanitarian corridor. There is no Time to waste.
As our World is facing such tragedy in Ukraine, Myanmar (Burma), Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria....I thank You for shedding Light with your Goodness and for Remembering our Children in Cambodia.
May there be Peace in the Hearts of All Beings.
Thank You All.
(The photographs are kind courtesy of Steve Porte. For the Protection of their Privacy, I have not shown the Children written about in this report, but other Children resident at our School.)
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.
Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.Start a Fundraiser