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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
One of our residential children
One of our residential children

Dear Friends and Supporters of our School,

Thank you for all your wonderful support. A special Thank You to all those who generously participated in our Bonus Day at the beginning of August.

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.

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 future.

Our 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, social services and hospital doctors attended the training conference at the 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 transport 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.

The Minister of Culture, Her Exellency Sackona will donate some special Chapey Dong Veng instruments in December, so that our blind and sighted children can learn a new art form.

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. Those children with more functional 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)

Tro Sau lesson  with one of our blind students
Tro Sau lesson with one of our blind students
Folk dance practice
Folk dance practice

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Playing about before a folk dance lesson
Playing about before a folk dance lesson

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 very busy learning how to make traditional shadow puppets. During the dry season we dried and coloured the cow hide using an ancient, natural technique with tree-bark dyes. Now the rainy season has begun we are making the puppets. Our children are learning this skill in the afternoon after their state school scholastic lessons 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 in this way, is both 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 process of receiving medical checks and treatment. One of the children is already receiving treatment for a serious illness. Our school director Mr Sothy in coordination with the local authorities provided rice, canned fish, cooking oil and other emergency food supplies to their mothers. Their mothers were also ill and malnourished.

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

In the short space of a month, our folk dance teacher has said that they are also 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. In the last month and a half we have received two emergency cases of battered women with very young children. We have provided them with shelter and meals, then we have coordinated with other NGOs and the local authorities to provide long-term solutions for them.

This all requires support and so we will be focusing our fundraising 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 on the 18th July at 09.00am Eastern Time and end on the same day at 23.59 (ET). 

Donations from $100 to $499 will be matched 15%. Then donations from $500 - $749 will be matched 30% and finally donation from $750 to $1,000 will be matched 50%. The organisation who raises the most, or who gathers the most donors will also receive a bonus prize.

This Bonus Day is very important for us, as it helps as gather precious support in the middle of the year when it is harder to find funding in general.

Thank you all from everyone at the Kampot Traditional Music School!

(Photographs taken of our students and staff with their permission by kind courtesy of Steve Porte)

Folk Dance Lesson
Folk Dance Lesson
Master Samoeun trying out a shadow puppet
Master Samoeun trying out a shadow puppet

Links:

Lyda and Catherine Geach (founder) in main hall
Lyda and Catherine Geach (founder) in main hall

Dear Friends and Kind Supporters of our School,

Thank you for your wonderful help these last three months and to all those who so generously give each month.

You may wonder what happens to our former students when they graduate from our school. Well one boy Sameth who had lost both legs to an anti-personnel mine and who graduated in 2002, won both a scholarship to Thailand and then to Switzerland. He is now married with two children and a manger of a resort in Siem Reap. Sambo who also graduated in 2002 went to University in Phnom Penh before working at the National Theatre and Royal Palace as a Pin Peat musician. He now works at our school part-time whilst working at the Department of Culture in Kampot. He also specialises in research of minority artists and assisting Pin Peat musicians in the Province of Kampot to further their skills. Mao became a Pin Peat teacher and teaches in her district in Chumkiri. Saveth worked first for the Ministry of Culture and worked on a notation project to document traditional Cambodian music to prevent it from being lost. She now works in the Council of Ministers. The list goes on. Some former students went to teaching college and are teachers with a speciality in the arts, others decided to be farmers, accountants, technicians and most have married and have children. A very few sadly got lost on the way, but most have built their own lives and are well.

How about Lyda? Lyda came to our school in around 1997. First came her older sister Di in 1994, then Lyda who was the youngest and then Ngèth who was the oldest of all. He walked to our school when the Khmer Rouge were still active and the police took care of him and fed him when he came to a checkpoint. He decided to come when his granny wanted him to stay at home. They lost their father when they were very small, then their mother disappeared for many years, during which time the children came to our school. She then returned out of the blue. The children were then able to re-establish loving contact with her, but less than a year after her return she got sick and died. We nursed her in hospital, but alas there was nothing the doctors could do.

Lyda is a lovely, mischevous person and full of fun. We still remind each other when she rolled Sameth's wheelchair into the fish pond. Luckily Sameth wasn't in it at the time. 

She is (like her brother and sister), extremely talented. Di after graduating from University now teaches dance for a local NGO in Chumkriel and Ngèth performs in a jazz band as well as working with Lyda. But Lyda is the one who is full of courage. She formed her own Dance Company which not only teaches local children in her village, but also as an accomplished singer, she sings while her brother performs the stringed Tro in weddings and exhibitions. They are becoming more and more successful. Lyda manages the bookings both for dance performances and music, as well as managing the other artists attached to the company. She is married and has a lovely little son aged three. 

Lyda also works part-time at our school as our Folk Dance Teacher. She is an excellent choreographer and is loved by us all. She regards our elderly Mohori music teacher Loak Kru Samouen as a father and comes to him for advice on all aspects of Mohori and Wedding music. Mohori music is used to accompany Folk Dance as well.

Our director Mr Sothy gave Lyda and her husband (when they were newly weds) the use of his countryside cabin to live in and he paid for their electiricty and water until such time as they were self-sufficient. 

Lyda's students recently performed during the visit by Her Excellency the Minister of Culture Phourng Sackona to our school and also during the opening ceremony of the Kampot Arts Festival in January 2019.

One of my favourite photos is one taken in January of this year when Lyda has come back from perfoming in a wedding, she is very tired, but is her usual optimistic, hilarious self and she and I are sitting for a chat during a pause at our school during Folk Dance lessons. The photographer Steve Porte took it quietly without us noticing! He comes from time to time and with everyone's permission goes round and takes photographs of our daily life. 

Just a quick note about our main hall roof. After raising some funds, but unfortunately not all the sum we needed on our GlobalGiving microproject, we have at last begun to repair our roof. We had to order tiles from Vietnam as Cambodia does not make them anymore. After interviewing nearly ten construction companies, we at last found one willing to scale the roof and to wear protective ropes etc; I also did raise a little funds in the UK in a concert in Leominster in April. Those donors who gave support towards our roof will be receiving their project report in the next few days.

 

* The full names of former students are not given in order to protect their privacy.

** Our thanks to Steve Porte for his beautiful photographs. The third photo was taken in 2000 before we knew Steve!

Some of Lyda
Some of Lyda's students perform at KAF ceremony
Lyda on the right and Di on the left in 2000
Lyda on the right and Di on the left in 2000

Links:

Bath time for our cats! Photo courtesy Steve Porte
Bath time for our cats! Photo courtesy Steve Porte

Dear Friends and Supporters of our school,

Thank you for your most wonderful and kind support. This Christmas season we raised over $10,000 from your donations. This is quite amazing and incredibly helpful. We will use your donations to provide our children with food, clothing, medical care, transport to hospital, Braille materials, Braille teacher support, our childcare program and our traditional arts training program.

I have been at our school this January and would like to let you know how everyone is doing, most especially our children.

As you may remember, almost all of our children in residence have suffered severe trauma.

We have two sisters, the older of whom after their mother died was sold into slavery by their father and was neglected and physically abused by her "owners". Her younger sister has severe epilepsy requiring monthly treatment 137km away in the capital Phnom Penh. One child of ours lost her eye because her uncle hit her accross the face with a bamboo stick. Her parents disappeared into Thailand years ago when she was a baby and there has been no word from them since. Another little boy whose father disappeared while his mother was pregnant, nursed his dying mother until her death. Five children of ours all sisters with their little brother were abandoned by their abusive mother and their father who is a gambler put them in an orphanage where they were abused and neglected for years. Our blind children have also endured verbal abuse and isolation due to the profound ignorance of villagers and family members in their communities.

Having these children in our care, means that we also know their villages and rural districts in Kampot Province. Many people, too many, are dying from preventable diseases because of poverty and lack of expert medical care. None have clean drinking water and malnutrtion takes it's toll, with a high rate of tuberculosis causing death or lasting health problems post-treatment.

For two years some of our children were really quite (understandably) disturbed, suffering from post-traumatic stress, nightmares, anxiety, psychosis, behavioural problems, bed-wetting and so on. It is only now that a feeling of peace and stability has been found and real healing has begun. I cannot thank my staff enough for their dedication, patience and love.

One example is our classical dance teacher Madame Kim An who comes from Phnom Penh to teach Cambodian ballet. She is originally a dancer from the Royal Ballet and her knowledge and skill are renown. She of her own volition and love of our children takes complete care of our adolescent girls. She understood that they were quite wild and stood in danger of going down the wrong path and getting lost in life, because they had never had a mother figure to guide them in early childhood. Although we have other staff, it is at this moment that our adolescent girls need Madame An, with her kind, sensible firmness and good education and use of language. They have flourished under her guidance and are doing very well.

Our little children are also doing much better. I spent a lot of time with them listening to their accounts of their early childhood and working with them to find relief and let go of fear and pain. This is a continual process, but I have found that they are happier and more serene than before. I have shared my findings with our staff and will now work on other ways for us to give assistance and comfort to our children. In particular I will be assisting our folk dance teacher Mrs Vy Lyda to learn how to give childcare for their specific needs. In Cambodian culture there is no interpretation or specific words for psychological-emotional issues and so this is new territory. Mrs Lyda is a former student at our school whilst I was director there. She is now an adult, married with a young child and has founded her own dance and music troupe! As she grew up at our school, she has a closer understanding of the meaning of therapy and how trauma can affect behaviour.

In order to help all our children on the path of healing, we have decided not to take in any more new resident children for the moment. We need to keep the equilibrium our children have found, until they are sufficiently strengthened to cope with the challenges of a new child or children coming to our school.

However we have not forgotten the needs of those children who live in and near Kampot town who are desperately poor and in danger. I met with the head of the Department of Social Affairs to organise the assistance of several children who have no father and whose mother uses them for begging. They do not go to school because they are too poor. Our new project will include facilitating state school education, providing them with clothing and school uniforms, giving them meals and of course tuition in traditional Cambodian arts and then providing them with transport so that they may return to their mothers' in the evening. Our school together with the Deparment of Social Affairs will make an agreement with their mothers requesting that these children will not ever more be used for begging or other such activites.

Our Outreach program continues to expand. We have several children from local schools who attend traditional dance lessons and Mohori music lessons. We have a group of girls from the Lyceum who study Mohori music with Master Samouen. Additionally we have several youth with disabilities who come and study traditional singing.

Last month as part of the Kampot Arts Festival which we did in partnership with Epic Arts and which we hosted, we gave dance, music and shadow puppet making lessons to over two hundred school children. The organisation SVA also brought their mobile library.

Kampot town is currently in a bizarre situation which is difficult to know where it will lead. Thousands of expatriates have decided that this little town is ideal for their new home. Although there are some responsible and well behaved expatriates, unfortunately too many have alcohol and drug problems, as well as behavioural issues, whilst others are just culturally insensitive. The sheer numbers of foreigners (over seven thousand and counting) has created economic problems for the local population, pushing the price of goods, food, housing and so on to levels which are unreachable and untenable for ordinary Cambodians. There is now no longer any bar or restaurant along the river front that is Cambodian.  

Investors want to buy swathes of land towards Kep by the sea and turn it into luxury resorts. This would alienate local Cambodian people even more, so that it would become a Kampot within a Kampot. Following on from this, we are involved in meetings with the local Ministry of Tourism and other concerned agencies to find a way forward so that Kampot can have more measured levels of tourism, protecting the environment and making sure that Cambodian people are not pushed out of their own lands.

Very seriously the large number of foreigners of whom their past is unknown has raised concern. Local authorities know that there are foreign phedophiles and criminals in Kampot and they are very worried.  Our own staff are very gentle people and have had to learn very quickly that even foreigners wanting to "help" must not have any contact with our children and that we do not allow any volunteers at all. We have come accross some very unbalanced individuals and we have put into action several protective measures to protect our children and our school.

In January I held over the course of two evenings special Child Protection Workshops for our staff, based on International Child Safety Guidelines. This involved discussions on stranger danger, reinforced protection policies for our school, a deeper understanding of the UN Covenant on Children's Rights and the recapitulation of our own Child Protection Policy. We also covered childcare and hygiene standards for our school.

Additionally I met with local authorities to discuss concerns about child protection not just for our own children, but for all children in Kampot. I have also started coordinating with M'lop Tapeng from neighbouring Sihanoukville Province, who are experts on child protection. We are now organising extra workshops not only for our staff but also for police, school teachers, social workers in Kampot on child safety and identifying suspicious activity. We are also now in contact with APLE (and local police) in the eventuality of emergency intervention to save a child in danger and to request an arrest if necessary.

Our school has been very busy recently. The Kampot Arts Festival which lasted three days was hosted at our school including the opening and closing ceremonies. Her Excellency the Minister of Culture Phourng Sackona came on an official visit and was very pleased and supportive with our work. Additionally Uon Sambo our Pin Peat master and myself gave an interview in Khmer language for VDP radio in Phnom Penh about our school. We also visited the University of Fine Arts (near the Royal Palace) in Phnom Penh to reinforce our communication and friendship with the University and Cambodian music professors there. As Kampot is far away, it's quite important to keep contact, as our own arts professors come from the University of Fine Arts or the National Theatre. We also collected new shadow puppet making tools from the puppet masters Sovannah Phum.

We  began our documentary film project to show how the ancient art of shadow puppets still continues. The film maker Ian Wiggins and sound recorder Rob O'Hara are very kindly and generously assisting us with this project free of charge.

We are doing a project to raise funds to repair our main hall roof, as storm damage blew off roof tiles and there is leakage. This micro-project on Globalgiving has now closed but anyone wanting to help us can give on our main project link.

Very sadly the wife of our director passed away last week and so we are all in mourning. We loved her very much and we miss her a great deal. Our hearts go out to our dear director Mr Sothy and his wife's family for their loss.

On a happier note the first photograph of our report is of two of our girls who have just given a bath to their beloved cats. Our children really love their animals and this photo captures beautifully the joy and the laughter that reverberates round our school.

Thank you for reading this report and thank you all once again for your extraordinary help!

Brother and Sister at KCDI. Photo Steve Porte
Brother and Sister at KCDI. Photo Steve Porte
Our blind boys in Concert: Photo Steve Porte
Our blind boys in Concert: Photo Steve Porte
Singing the National Anthem official concert
Singing the National Anthem official concert
Playing with the cat. Photo courtesy Steve Porte
Playing with the cat. Photo courtesy Steve Porte

Links:

Our oldest girl having a Mohori music lesson
Our oldest girl having a Mohori music lesson

Dear friends and supporters of our school,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the incredible generosity and wonderful support you have given our school. I cannot express enough how important and heart-warming your help has been. There are those who donate each month and then there are those who give super donations at critical times and during campaigns. There are those who donate when I am least expecting help and they don't give their email or want to be thanked and these suprises are so deeply moving. Each of you inspire profound gratitude.

This year we will be starting our most important fundraising campaign starting with #Giving Tuesday on 27th November 2018 at 00:00:00 ET ending 23:59:59 ET on the 27th November. This is super important for us because all donations will be matched by GlobalGiving, so what ever is donated we receive extra! This means even more help for our school.

Then on Wednesday 28th November at 00:00:00 ET our Year End Campaign starts and runs all the way through December ending on the 31st December at 23:59:59 ET. We aim to raise $10,000 and more. Please invite your friends and family too, every donation even the smallest, makes an important difference. With funds donated on #Giving Tuesday and the End of Year Campaign we will give our children food, clothing, medical care, transport to school for our blind children and bicycle repairs for our sighted children to go to school, Braille materials, Braille teacher for our blind children, childcare, counselling, hygiene products, cleaning and cooking materials, electricity, water, school materials and arts training.

So as not to bore you too much, I will write the details about how to donate at the end of this report. For now I will update you all on what we have been doing.

 As you know we work with children who have been left behind and forgotten. Our efforts can sometimes feel lonely and uphill, especially in the current Western influenced climate of condemning and ostracizing care centres, without proper knowledge of the historical and social challenges that country faces. None of these "experts" have taken into account the severe damage done to the very fabric of Cambodian society by the Khmer Rouge genocide and the two and half decades of war. How many Cambodian people have difficulty giving love because they are so hurt themselves. How old social-cultural beliefs affect the way Cambodian people view orphans and disabled children, as inferior beings.

Each one of you has been with us supporting us and read our reports about our children, about those who have been so badly abused that they have been disfigured, or who have been sold, neglected and abandoned. I am thankful to say that all our children are doing well and healing, some more gradually and some quickly in leaps and bounds. There those of our children who have severe epilepsy, HIV or asthma and so need constant medical care. You have supported our blind children and you have also learned through us of a great challenge in Cambodia, which is the education of girls. How we have experienced  both heartbreak and success in  helping girls to reach higher education, facing the difficulties of extended family who once abandoned them step in and try and claim them back for early marriage or factory work. Yet those who visit our school have no inkling of the trauma so many have been through and there is lots of fun, joy, laughter, camadarie and also lots of love.

These last two months I have been working in coordination with our director Mr Sothy,  on organising a series of training workshops for our staff with different Cambodian professionals who will kindly volunteer their expertise and time. Although our staff are loving and caring, they still need continual training and development in childcare, hygiene and children's rights. These three, important areas of training will be taking place starting from December 2018 and going through the year of 2019. We are extremely grateful to these wonderful Khmer (Cambodian) people for their precious help and good-will.

Our oldest boy has graduated and is doing vocational training in Phnom Penh under the protective umbrella of another NGO. Our oldest girl is preparing her graduation for next year.  We have been notified by authorities of a little boy who has lost both parents and is in dire circumstances, so we are investigating his situation. We have also been notified of other blind children who need assistance in education and rehabilitation.

Our wonderful classical dance teacher Madame An has rejoined us after being on leave for family reasons and she has opened a new class for children who live outside our school to receive free dance lessons at our school. There are many children from outside our school who live in poverty or difficult family situations who benefit from free arts education at our school.

We will be starting to make new shadow puppets now as the dry season sets in as we cure the raw leather with ancient techniques of natural drying methods and tree-bark based dyes and we cannot do so in the rainy season. We will be making a documentary film about the making of shadow puppets with the help of the filmmaker Ian Wiggins who has kindly made beautiful documentary films for free in the past. As you know our school revived the ancient art of shadow puppet theatre in Kampot Province which had been completely lost in this part of Cambodia.

This last year we did a micro-project to raise funds for new beds for all of our children. Through the generosity of donors we are now making new beds for all our children, having already completed several. You can see our project report and photographs on GlobalGiving. 

Our blind children received top marks in national school exams this year. This is a special achievement given that the other national participants were all sighted.

We also made traditional music recordings for an international radio station and gave several official concerts including the opening of the Kampot Arts Festival. 

Mrs An will also help us as assistant director until we can find a suitable person. We have been looking for some time, but it is quite difficult to find a loving, compassionate person with the right qualifications. We only have Cambodian staff at our school. Our director Mr Sothy has had all of this year a very sad and difficult family problem and has had to be in hospital with that family member in Phnom Penh for long periods. 

I was at our school for June and July and could help our director for that period and my observations on our school led to us creating the upcoming childcare workshops for our staff and doing our plastic recycling project. (You can look at our facebook page to see what we have been doing to combat climate change and prevent pollution).

Due to climate change in Cambodia, Kampot has seen over two years of perpetual rain without proper seperation of the dry season and the wet season. This has led to problems with pepper and salt production, but has also damaged buildings. This year unprecendented storms tore tiles off our main hall roof and the constant rain rotted the roof beams. We have now set up a micro-project on GlobalGiving to raise funds for repairing our roof including wooden beams and tiles. Our main hall is essential for us, it's where we teach our children the arts, where we hold workshops, concerts and therapy sessions. At the back of the main hall are a series of bedrooms where our residential staff live. A leaking roof and rotten beams puts people at risk and so we feel this problem needs urgent resolution. It seems for the first time in over two years a proper dry season is emerging and we would like to take advantage in order to repair our roof and make our shadow puppets (we also make our shadow puppets in the main hall).

Today as Cambodia boasts economic growth and international and government donors have withdrawn almost all aid from the country. Great swathes of society (approximately 70%) who live in rural areas have not been included in economic statistics and have been left completely behind. Still today hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people are without running water, clean drinking water, access to health care, adequate schooling and many die of preventable diseases because of poverty and under-qualified doctors making serious mistakes in diagnosis and treatment. There are those who sell everything they have to get medical treatment for a family member. In order to receive a complete education, children have to pay for extra courses which many cannot afford and so they drop out. 

As many wealthier countries have turned to Cambodia to invest in rubber, sugar, oil, minerals and tourism almost nothing has been done to address this extreme poverty. Richer countries ignore human rights violations and the erosion of democracy has been seriously under-reported by international news agencies. In this way many are complicit in allowing violations and poverty to continue.

If you would like to participate on our #Giving Tuesday and End of Year Campaign it is a good idea to donate to this project only, because the more donors we receive on a single project the more likely we are to recieve bonus prizes. All donations raised reach all our children and all our projects at our school. Payments can be made using credit card, debit card, Paypal, Apple Pay and official GlobalGiving Gift Cards. Unfortunately cheques and wire transfers cannot be accepted for #Giving Tuesday because of the length of time it takes for them to reach GlobalGiving.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report and for your lovely help!

Kind wishes to all from everyone at the Kampot Traditional Music School

 

 

 

 

  

Shadow Puppet rehearsals
Shadow Puppet rehearsals
Official performance by our students
Official performance by our students
Yike dance class
Yike dance class
Football!
Football!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Khmer Cultural Development Institute

Location: Kampot Town, Kampot Province - Cambodia
Website:
Project Leader:
Catherine Geach
Founder
Kampot Town, Kampot Province Cambodia
$51,085 raised of $80,000 goal
 
601 donations
$28,915 to go
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