Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia

by Khmer Cultural Development Institute
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Education/Arts Orphan, Disabled Children Cambodia
Chapey lesson with blind KCDI students
Chapey lesson with blind KCDI students
Title:  Our Chapey Program for Our Blind Students   
Dear Kind Donors,
I hope that you are all well and safe? On behalf of our school, I wish for you and your families good-health and for the World, Healing!
Thank You all for so kindly and generously continuing to support our School despite the pandemic. We are immensely Grateful!
In January of 2021, we began our Chapey Dong Veng Program for our Blind Students resident at our school. Their Teacher is himself blind and is a well-known Master of the Chapey Instrument in Kampot Province. 
The Chapey Dong Veng is a Traditional Cambodian Instrument, which looks similar to (but is unrelated) a guitar.  The Chapey Player learns to play chords with a special rhythm and harmony sequence as a base…then they learn to sing over that…but it isn’t  just singing, it is in fact telling a story. Often Chapey players observe what is going on in their communities or in their country and sing humorous but quite pointed stories about the things that they perceive are unjust, funny, or the idiosyncrasies of their fellow human beings . It’s quite an art to first learn how to play the chord sequences and rhythms and then add the story. People love to listen to Chapey players (although there aren’t many left in Cambodia and most are elderly) because they can tell wonderful,relevant stories.
The Chapey instrument is particularly suited to blind people, because it is for a Solo Musician and there are no limits imposed.
Our students began learning with their Master in January and have started to make good progress…and get on very well with their Teacher. Learning this new instrument, is not just great fun and helps boost confidence, it is also a form of vocational training, adding to their skills as Mohori and Yike Musicians and Physiotherapists. Interestingly and fortunately, those students who have done best in Mohori and Yike have done less well in physiotherapy and one student who did less well in both these areas, is excelling in the Chapey, so that there is something for everyone!
With Best Wishes from Everyone at the Kampot Traditional Music School (KCDI)
Report by Catherine Louise Geach : (Founder)
Location: Kampot Town, Cambodia
Photo: Some of KCDI Students having their Chapey Lesson: 
(Photo Taken with permission of students and teacher.)
Chapey Master and Tai, learning at KCDI
Chapey Master and Tai, learning at KCDI


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Some of our new children dancing
Some of our new children dancing

Dear Kind Donors,

Thank you all for your wonderful support to our school, despite these difficult and challenging times. 

Although Covid has affected almost the whole world, including Cambodia, our school has continued to stay open and care for all our children. We are their home and many have nowhere else safe to stay.

Together with the local authorities and our Childsafe Partners, seven very vulnerable children were identified as needing urgent help. Two little sisters had been abandoned by their parents who after their divorce, left without trace and nobody knows their whereabouts. The little girls grandmother is disabled and lives in a little hut in a remote part of the countryside, without electricity, running water or toilets and far away from school. We provided material help and food for their grandmother and brought her together with the little girls to stay at our school, so that they could all get used to a new environment and not feel too daunted, or that the children were being "abandoned" a second time. After the sisters settled in, their grandmother went back to her home. We faciliate visits between them at regular intervals.

Another two brothers were abandoned by their mother and left with their father, who working as a labourer, lives on building sites and has no proper home and no extended family. One of the brothers was placed in a seperate centre from our school and so we managed to reunite the two brothers and we take care of them both. They are also able to see their father regularly. If their father were able to procure himself a home, then of course they would be able to return there and we would support them from there.

Then a little brother and sister were brought to our school by their mother who was in a desperate situation. Her second husband, the children's stepfather was beating the two children very badly. He did not beat his own birth children. She was at the time pregnant with another child and felt she could not protect her children from her second husband. Although the authorities assisted her in placing her children at our school, Cambodian laws are not vigorous in protecting children from domestic violence. We organised for the mother to be able to visit our school when she needed and wished so that she could meet her children in a safe space.

Another little girl lost both parents to AIDS and has herself HIV. She was then living with elderly relatives (great-aunt and uncle), who did not have the energy or resources to care for her properly. They lived in a little hut in a remote part of Dang Tung in Kampot Province, without electricity, water, toilet or access to school. The little girl now lives with us and is able to visit her great-aunt and uncle regularly. She receives Retroviral medicine for her HIV from the Kampot AIDS and HIV clinic. 

All the children have really settled in well and are playing and happy together with our other children already living at our school. They are learnng music, dance and Yike as well as Shadow Puppet Theatre, they go to state school for their schooling, have created a lovely vegetable garden and play in our big garden.

We also received into our care two blind youth who are studying on our rehabiltiation and education program. 

Our blind students are also doing very well. We are also supporting two through university and one other student will start teaching college soon.

Although this year must have been very difficult for some of you, yet you have all continued to help us. We are so very grateful.

If you would like to help us and make a big difference, we will be part of GlobalGiving's #Giving Tuesday on the 1st December 2020 starting at 09.00am ET and ending on the same day at 23.59 ET. GlobalGiving will be giving away $1 million in Matching Funds! This means that each individual donation gets matched, providing essential funding for our school and helping us to continue helping our children through 2021.

Meanwhile we wish you all well and to stay safe, healthy and happy!

Thank you all again!

(Photos taken with permission of our students and staff at KCDI)

Pin Peat music lesson
Pin Peat music lesson


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Please send out on the 11th July 2020

Project Report: A Ray of Light in our Troubled World

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 incredible support and solidarity.
Even though our world is going through a very difficult and seemingly tumultuous time, your marvellous help shines through.
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 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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Folk Dance at KCDI
Folk Dance at KCDI

Dear Kind Supporters,

Thank you all again for your marvelleous support. It's so wonderful for us to know that you are there, some of you have been helping us for years.

We were recently asked by the local authorities to urgently help six young children originally from three families. Four of the children from two families had been abandoned by their parents and had no adequate family care-giver, no home or support. The parents of the fourth little girl had died and she had not received proper care since and was severely emaciated.

Last month we also took into our school a young boy of twelve, who had lost both his parents and after extensive background research, it was found he had been wandering the streets for six years! All our new children are doing well and have lots of happy moments of playtime with our other children.

At the end of April a blind youth will come to join us too and so add to our group of blind children and youth on our vocational training and rehabilitation program. Our older blind students have been doing a phsyiotherapy course, on top of their music and education classes. Their physiotherapy lessons which were held in a therapy centre have had to be stopped due to Covid-19. We will continue when all is well again.

In mid-January after noting news from Wuhan, China, I requested our school to observe the hygiene measures recommended by the World Health Organisation, to ensure that the Covid-19 virus was not spread to our school. Recently there have been signs that Covid-19 is picking up speed in Cambodia and so I have requested our school to follow the protocol for Lockdown. Resident staff and children won't leave our school and only our cook is able to go in and out, together with our director and accountant, but they observe rigorous hygiene practices and safety measures to safeguard their own health and ensure that they don't spread the virus.

Some of our external staff are now taking leave, especially those with pregnancies or older staff with health issues. They will continue to receive a stipend. All our external staff have been asked to observe lockdown with their own families. Our director Mr Sothy has stocked our school with rice, cooking oil and canned fish. We grow some of our own fruit and vegetables and have our own fish in our fishponds.This is because there are no clear trading laws in Cambodia and speculation during war or disaster is rife and we would risk not being able to feed our children. 

The Cambodian Government has shut-down all schools and universities to stem the tide of infection. Our own children no longer go to state school in the mornings, but they will follow a scholastic learning program in the morning inside our school and then in the afternoon they will continue their arts classes. There will also be lots of playtime and drawing...but all within our school. Thank goodness we have a lovely big garden with lots of trees! We are not only a school but also their home.

As  you know, most of our children have nowhere else to go and so we are dedicated to providing full-time care for them, whatever happens in the world outside.

Please join us for the Little by Little GlobalGiving Campaign from Monday the 23rd March to Friday 27th March. All donations up to $50 will be matched by GlobalGiving 50%. 

To Donate Please go to our link is

Every donation makes a difference.

Please may I take this opportunity to wish you all well and hope for healing in our world.

Thank you,


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Former students from 1995 onwards with the founder
Former students from 1995 onwards with the founder

Dear Kind Friends and Supporters of our school,

Thank you so very much for your extraordinary generosity during our End of Year Campaign and Giving Tuesday, as well as all those who gave each month last year. In December we raised over $9,000 which is an amazing sum and such a big help to our school.

Your donations will provide our children with nourishing food, clothing, medical care (when our current donor for medical care ends), scholastic materials, electricity, water, cooking utensils, mosquito nets, bedding, eating utensils, hygiene products, repairs to our building, transport, bicycle repairs, support for our Childcare team and support for our Traditional Arts Training Program.

In December we celebrated 25 years since our school began. Our school was built during the civil war when the Khmer Rouge had their stronghold in Phnom Vor in Kampot. Some of our colleagues working in the countryside were killed by Khmer Rouge. There was shelling, a hostage crisis and a lot of the countryside was littered with anti-personnel mines.

Many of our students at the time had been badly affected by the war. Either they had lost parents because of crossfire or Khmer Rouge attacks, or they themselves were injured by mines. Some were affected by Polio when the disease was not yet eradicated. 

This December we gave a big concert and many of our students from 1994 and onwards came and joined in. Some, who are professional musicians performed alongside our current students. Others brought their spouses and children. His Excellency Hab Touch, Secretary of State for Culture also attended and at the end we had a buffet underrneath the trees by our fish-ponds and then a big birthday cake. We also had an exhibition of archive photographs from 1992 when the founder was first given the land by the Governor of Kampot and what it looked like then, to actually building the school and the first students. At the beginning, the land was wasteland and had originally housed a Pagoda which had been moved by the french Protecterate. There remains today a Stupa with a Boddhi tree growing around it. The land of our school is considered sacred and for this reason, permission was given to build a Music School, because Traditional Cambodian Arts are considered sacred.

Many people attended the concert and could enjoy our performance and the exhibition in the main hall afterwards. Former students from 1994 also laughed at photos of themselves and the changes after a quarter of a century. 

We are incredibly grateful and moved to have this opportunity and we would like to express our profound thanks to you all and to all those who have donated throughout the years, making it possible to keep our school open and running. 

Thank You!

Official Opening of KCDI, 1994
Official Opening of KCDI, 1994
Khorn looking at her own photo from 1994
Khorn looking at her own photo from 1994
KCDI Blind Students and founder performing 2019
KCDI Blind Students and founder performing 2019


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Organization Information

Khmer Cultural Development Institute

Location: Kampot Town, Kampot Province - Cambodia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Catherine Geach
Kampot Town, Kampot Province Cambodia
$79,912 raised of $100,000 goal
824 donations
$20,088 to go
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