Women with disabilities and the students you funded are making a noise in Cambodia and saying “no more” to inequality in our latest original song and music video “Rise Up”
On International Women’s day 2020 we released a new video which included students from our Inclusive Education Programme, which you helped to fund!
The video was part of a community arts project which worked with women, girls and mothers affected by disability across Cambodia, from Epic Arts and other disability sector NGOs.
Through creative storytelling workshops we turned women’s stories of discrimination & abuse into a powerful, catchy original song with an inspiring music video featuring over 50 people with disabilities.
We believe in equality, inclusion and diversity, so of course the video included a huge range of people from all walks of life, from Epic Arts special education students to a Cambodian Vlogger.
Thanks to your donations we have the opportunity for our students to take part in projects like this, which not only creates inclusive projects and brings positive representation of people with disabilities in the media.
Most importantly, students involvement in these creative projects increases their confidence and pride as they work alongside professional dancers and well-known figures.
‘Rise Up’ video has been a big success and had over 130k views in Cambodia in just a week.
We wanted to encourage and inspire viewers to challenge their perceptions around disability and discrimination and to also inspire people with and without disabilities to rise up from the violence and advocate for equal rights. We believe ‘Rise up’ is doing just that as it’s had over 130k views and over 2k shares on Facebook and numerous supportive comments.
Click the link to watch the video and see if you can spot our students.
Once again, thank you for supporting Epic Arts
45 children and young people with disabilities say "Thank You!"
Over the last year your donation has meant that we could provide education to 45 children and young people with disabilities. Our work simply cannot happen without you! We appreciate every donation, every video viewed and shared on social media, every race run to raise money and every time you tell someone about our work!
Because of your generous donation
Our pre-school class has brought young children with all kinds of disabilities and their parents to play together, to learn from each other’s challenges and to believe in their child’s ability to learn.
Our Peace Class has encouraged children with learning disabilities to believe in themselves and to give them the chance to learn and have a education Our Independence Class has provided much needed support, independent life skills and a supportive community to young adults with learning disabilities who don’t have any other services to turn too.
Our Inclusive Arts Course saw 12 young people with and without disabilities use the arts to transform from shy students to empowered people who believe in themselves and advocate for an inclusive society.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all Epic Arts staff and students.
Thank you once again for giving the gift of education to children and young people with disabilities in Cambodia!
Please help us to continue our work by making a one-off or recurring donation
The Epic Arts Team
Can you help children with disabilities go to school?! We can with some exciting news here at Epic Arts which will raise our influence at government level!
Country Director Onn Sokny has been selected for the NGO Education Partnership Committee on Primary Education. This is great news for our Inclusive Education Programme which aims to empower, educate and transformchildren and young people to lead independent &fulfilled lives.
Over the next two years Sokny and the committee will be working together with the Cambodian Government to create a strategy to reach the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal to ensure inclusive and quality education for all!
Sokny has humble beginnings at Epic Arts and has risen through the ranks over the last 12 years from Dance Workshop Participant to Country Director.
Describing how she felt about her disability as a child Sokny said,
“I used to pretend that I didn’t have a disability. I would cover my leg every day with a long sarong. I wouldn’t dare to look in a mirror because I hated what I saw and how I looked. Each day I wished that people would be nice to me, that they wouldn’t look down on me. I didn’t realise that I had the right to dream, that I even had a right to a future. When I think back to that little girl I want make her believe in herself. I want to tell her it will get better, you are unique & valued. You’ll find people who will believe in you and eventually you’ll believe in yourself!”
Growing up with a disability Sokny knows the challenges that children with disabilities face and she’ll now be making sure that they’re represented and their needs are considered at government level.
Most importantly Sokny is on a mission to make sure that children with disabilities have the same access to education as non-disabled children and they can dare to dream.
Your Gift Means a Lot
We receive no statutory funding for our programme so we rely on donations from generous donors like you to fund our life-changing courses and advocacy work.
Please consider setting up a monthly donation to help us continue our transformational work.
From all of the Epic Arts team thank you for your continued support
The Inclusive Arts course came to an end for another round of students in April. Ten young people with disabilities graduated our 18-month course with not just arts and performance skills but with increased confidence in themselves.
During the transition the students had exit interviews and applied for full-time positions at Epic Arts. 60% of the students gained full-time employment with Epic Arts social enterprises, half of them are young women with disabilities. The other 40% of graduates were supported by the Inclusive Education Team through the exit process to find employment or creative opportunities in other organizations.
Sok and Malis joined our community outreach team and have been working hard with the team to learn new performances, they have already delivered 5 creative workshops in local schools as part of an ongoing partner project with WaterAid.
“My family and community have changed the way they think about me, before the course they thought that I couldn’t do anything, but now they admired because I have ability good attitude and I’m thoughtful. My dream is to go on to become an excellent drama performer.” - Malis, 2019 Graduate and Performer
Sakiros, Ly, and Kakada applied to work at Epic Arts Café and they’ve been happily practicing their English with customers and learning new skills from senior café staff
Hang is working at Epic Creations Shop, where she is enthusiastically making handicrafts and learning about customer service
“ I really support other young people with and without disabilities to join Epic Arts course, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m more independent. I’m happy that I got a job with Epic Arts, I really like to make handicrafts and trying to talk to customers!” - Hang, 2019 Graduate and Epic Creations Assistant
Your Gift Means a Lot
We receive no statutory funding for this course so we rely on donations from generous donors like you to fund our life-changing course and empower young people with disabilities. Please consider setting up a monthly donation to help us continue our transformational work.
SEP Teachers See Positive Change in Parents
Last May we began a new class, Growing Class. The class is for children with disabilities aged between 3 and 6 and their caregivers. Special Education Teacher, Kagna, shares with us some of the changes she’s seen in parents in the first year of the class
“Before the parents started attending the Growing Class, they didn’t know how to support the needs of their children. The parents were unsure of the best ways to support their child’s development or even how their child should be developing. After joining the Growing Class, the parents are more confident in supporting their children.
Many of the children are living in communities where their neighbours refer to the child as their disability (Deaf, Blind, Brain Problem) rather than the child’s given name. I’ve heard from the parents that they now feel that they can discuss disability openly with people in their communities and that they can explain to people that their child has a name and not to call them by their disability.
Having a child with a disability can isolate you so I think it’s important to have a place where parents of children with disability can meet because they understand each other’s feelings. I’m happy to see that the parents have good relationships. I often observe the parents, at snack time they will all talk and share stories together about their child’s experiences, as soon as one parent stops another parent will pick up the conversation and follow on with a similar story.
Myself and the other teachers always share our own experiences with the parents. Of course, the parents still worry about their children, ‘How will their disability affect their lives?’ ‘What will their children’s futures look like?’ I always share my own experiences and tell them that of course we don’t know what the future will hold but having a support network around you is important and that access to education, services and advice at an early age is the best start for any child!”
Kagna and the rest of the Epic Arts Special Education team are excited to hold more classes in 2019 as part of the Childhood funded project. If you’d like to keep support parents of children with disabilities, please consider setting up a reoccurring donation for 2019!
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