The Anjali Photo Workshops give underprivileged Cambodian children the means to tell their own stories, and encourage self-esteem and self-discovery - a key tool in fostering scholastic development. The resulting works are publicly screened on "Children's Day" during the internationally acclaimed Angkor Photo Festival. This event introduces the children to a world they might never have known, and exposes the public to the realities of everyday Cambodians.
Cambodia remains deeply impoverished after decades of war, but historically it is rich in the arts. One of the great challenges remains access to education. 30% live below the poverty line. Many families who can't afford school fees, send their kid's to beg or sell goods in the streets. The legacy of war left emotional scars too that continue to impact communities, yet there are few opportunities for creative expression - a proven form of therapy, and a strong Cambodian that is worth reviving.
Angkor Photo created Anjali House in 2005, an NGO that provides schooling, practical support, and arts education to disadvantaged children. The Anjali Photo Workshops help children develop into well-adjusted young adults, giving them a sense of empowerment and personal achievement. For 10 years, Anjali House has been a safe haven where children find support, friendship, and shelter from the hardships of everyday life - where kids can be kids, learn, and discover their strengths and talents.
An integral part of Angkor Photo Festival, Children's Day is a 'youth-oriented' projection evening attended by the public. The highlight is when we reveal the work created during the workshops. The kids get validation from, and take great pride in the audience's reaction. In 2009, 17-year old Sophal attended the workshops. Today she is able to support her family with her income as staff photographer at Halo Trust, a British NGO specialising in landmine clearance.