My name is Sokun, two years ago I joined Epic Arts Inclusive Arts Course (IAC) to study Art, Dance, Drama & other life skills like English, Literacy and Computers. At Epic Arts there is a house for IAC students to call home while they study, but it needs to be improved. I am cycling i a half marathon in my wheelchair at Angkor Watt Temple in December to raise money to improve accessibility inside The Epic House so more people like me can join the inclusive arts course in the future.
The house is a traditional Khmer house and while it's great that students have somewhere to live it's not fully accessible and there is not much room for more students. Last year there were four students living in the Epic House, now there are eleven! Epic Arts recently had to turn a young person away because of lack of space in the house. Downstairs is accessible but it was hard for me to go up the wooden stairs so I never got the chance to have a chat with friends upstairs.
I want to make the house more accessible and extend it so that more young people with and without disabilities can come to study with Epic Arts and have an education like me. There is still little understanding of people with disabilities in Cambodia and the buildings here are just not accessible. Buildings don't include ramps, enough space for wheelchairs and there are hardly any elevators, I think our new house will inspire other people to build accessible buildings in Cambodia.
In my experience of Cambodia 80% of buildings are not accessible for wheelchairs, when somewhere is not accessible you feel like you don't belong, like you're not equal. The Epic Arts Centre is different to other buildings its totally accessible! I feel free because I can go anywhere. I want other people with disabilities to join IAC if we improve accessibility in The Epic House it will mean that 10 more students join the course, access education, have more opportunities and grow in confidence.