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 www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-arts-orphan-disabled-children-cambodia/
Every donation makes a difference.
Please may I take this opportunity to wish you all well and hope for healing in our world.
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.
Dear Friends and Supporters of our school,
Thank you so much for your marvelleous support this year and to those who kindly donated each month, as well as those who have given a special one-off donation.
Your precious help has provided our children resident at our school with nourishing food, clothing, medical care, transport to school, Braille materials, musical instruments and scholastic materials, as well as electricity, water, sanitary products and of course our childcare and vocational training programs. You have helped enable and empower many children to receive proper life-saving care and protection, scholastic education and vocational and therapeutic training in traditional Cambodian arts. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and good-will.
This year we celebrate 25 years since the beginning of our school. The Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children - Khmer Cultural Development Institute (KCDI), was founded in 1993 and built in 1994 during the civil war in Kampot. Remembering what it was like then and all the challenges we faced during the war, the heartbreaks we have experienced as well as the love, joy and solidarity we have shared. Today we look back at a quarter of a century of caring for so many children and working to preserve Cambodia's precious ancient cultural heritage.
We will celebrate our 25th Anniversary this December by giving a big concert at our school in the presence of His Excellency the Director General from the Ministry of Culture, involving our current students and former alumni from our school. We will also hold an exhibition in our main hall of photographs of our children from 1994 and what they look like today, as well as archive material from the building of our school.
You are all welcome to come to our Concert at our school on Saturday the 7th December at 6.30pm in Kampot!
On 3rd December we will also be having #Giving Tuesday on GlobalGiving where Each donation will be matched by GlobalGiving. #Giving Tuesday starts at 00.00.00 ET (Eastern Time) and ends at 23.59.59 ET. Donations can be made using credit card, Apple Pay and Paypal.
If you are not able to join us on # Giving Tuesday, then you can participate in the End of Year Campaign, from the 4th December at 00.00 (ET) to the 31st December 2019 at 23.59.59 (ET) you can donate for both campaigns using this link:-
www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-arts-orphan-disabled-children-cambodia/ Project No 16371
The projects that engage the most donors will also receive a Bonus Prize from GlobalGiving. Both #Giving Tuesday and The year End Campaign are vitally important for our school. The funds raised help us keep on running and allow us to help many vulnerable children, who would otherwise have nowhere else to go. These include children resident at our school who have no parents, but have been neglected and abused by their extended families, with some affected by chronic and serious illnesses and life-changing injuries; Blind children and youth; Vulnerable children on our Outreach program. Please share with your friends and family and anyone you think might be interested.
Catherine and Everyone at KCDI
(Photographs kind courtesy of Steve Porte. Taken with permission by the students and staff of KCDI)
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.
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)
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)
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