Arts for Cambodian Children & Orphans at Champey

by Kasumisou Foundation
Student transfers Kbach design to walls
Student transfers Kbach design to walls

Several  of our  senior art students are  transforming the walls of the Painting & Drawing classroom at Champey Academy. 

The problem ...

Our students sit on the floor during classes. As you can  imagine, the white walls of our Champey class rooms receive considerable wear as students place their hands on the walls as they get up from the floor  or lean against  the walls during breaks from their daily  classes.  Adding to the wear and tear are backpacks and parcels placed against the walls. The once white walls of the classroom have, over the past 4 years, become worn and dingy.

Our first  thought was just to repaint the white walls. As we thought more about it,  we decided to paint the walls a darker red color -which we call  " Champey red"-  about half way up the wall, the idea being that  the dark color would hide a lot of normal wear and tear. 

An idea takes shape ...

Next came the idea to add   "Kbach", an interpretive ancient  Cambodian design which comes from patterns and shapes in nature and  which from a distance sometimes  resembles paisley.  Dong Saree, our traditional painting teacher at Champey, readily agreed to take on  the project. Besides working at Champey, Dong Saree is also a professor  at the Royal University of Fine Arts  in Phnom Penh where for the  past 20 years, she has taught traditional Cambodian painting. Her background made her uniquely qualified to  supervise the project and work closely with our students as they prepared the walls and took on the complex work of transferring the design templates in preparation for  hand painting the Kbach.

The project ...

The project, which began in mid-November, is expected to be finished in the middle of January at an  estimated project  cost of $300, from which $100 will cover the costs of materials. We hope to use the remaining funds to reward our students for their hard work and commitment to this project. Although our students volunteered for this work, all of them come from very modest backgrounds and they would be thrilled to receive any sort of bonus for their work. We have tentatively  budgeted  into our project costs a modest bonus  for the six students involved in the project.  

Our artists ...

As we have often mentioned, our students come from a variety of backgrounds. For some time, ,Champey,  has had several young monks studying in the art program with the goal that one day they can perhaps help to preserve or restore some of the paintings in their temples.  The photos show  our team in action and gives you an idea of the  complexity of "just adding a bit of design" to walls .

The many benefits...

Your support for our art programs can provide unique opportunities like this  for our students to utilize their skills, learn project management  and team skills and create a sense of pride in accomplishment.

Stay tuned for more photos of our finished project in the first quarter of 2017.

We remain grateful to you all for your generous support.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Student transfering Kbach design
Student transfering Kbach design
Student preparing initial transfer for painting
Student preparing initial transfer for painting
Preparing the walls
Preparing the walls
Seeing the full project
Seeing the full project


Performing for Women
Performing for Women's Int'l Group Guests

November 29 is Giving Tuesday.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give $500,000 in matching funds for donations up to $1000 made on Giving Tuesday to supercharge your support ! Match day begins at 12:01 AM New York Time.


Multi-purpose – a key ingredient to the success of Champey Academy Programs

As the reputation of Champey and its students  grow , our students have recently been performing for groups of hotel tourists and other groups who have begun to visit Champey. After seeing our dancers perform at Champey in October, the Women’s International Group - Cambodia  asked our students to perform for their annual Christmans Bazaar at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh on November 27!

Champey Academy is more than just a dance and arts school.

Although our reports typically focus on our instruction programs, Champey also provides a lot of additional support to its youthful team members. Beyond  teaching music and art to students,  Champey provides  all of our young people, whether staff or student,  with a safe place to go and grow. On a more practical level, we also provide daily lunch to the members of our team. For both class participants and student workers, their abilities are respected and encouraged and many of our students attend classes daily.

What makes Champey run?

We have a dedicated group of young people, about 20 in all, ranging from age 16 to 25 who work in various capacities at Champey. Most are part time and their income is vitally needed as they are all from disadvantaged backgrounds. As you may imagine, we have almost no turnover in our student workers as we provide a unique opportunity: working in a safe, happy place which offers them a chance to learn and to  improve their skills .

The appearance and achievement of success of our students with smiling faces posing in their practice costumes or dance costumes are in most cases sharp contrast to the daily reality of live for many of these young people as they overcome significant obstacles such as extreme poverty. Many of our team and students also suffer from the impact of HIV where the death of a parent caused additional trauma and poverty and some our students and student workers themselves are HIV positive. Team members earn $35-$170 per month depending upon tasks and number of hours worked.

Accentuate the positive!

At every turn, our goal is to “ accentuate the positive” while respecting the unique life path of each student or student worker. Our view  has long been that while the arts and dance are a point of engagement, beyond this  exposure to the arts and Cambodia's rich cultural heritage,   is the development of a sense of personal pride of accomplishment, as well as building team skills and discipline, skills that spill over into the personal lives of our young people.  For example, our team of student " greeters" have practiced their English language skills to the degree that they are now also able to give a brief introductions and explanations about the basics of traditional Cambodian dance.

Your continued support of our program provides these multiple opportunities to the young people on our staff and as well as to the local neighborhood children who can at attend our classes free of charges.

We couldn’t do this without you!

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Getting ready for costume...
Getting ready for costume...
After the Performance
After the Performance



I can't think of a better title for this project report than " planting the seeds".

Planting is a word rich with many meanings.   I love that our student demonstration of this foundation movement of Cambodian dance, teaches us  the  visual word , "  planting "   . It is a word  in a visually expressed "language" that tells a story that is a common thread  of every  civilization: planting new crops, sustaining life, creating new beginnings.

For our students especially, Champey Academy and the opportunities it offers our students,makes  the theme of "planting" and  new beginnings particularly appropriate. Champey Academy opens up the  world of art, music and dance to students and  is all about new beginnings, a new awakenings as students discover the vast talents that exist within themselves.  Champey plants the seeds of a new beginning for each of our students.

Mark is in Cambodia right now  and spending time at Champey where our  Champey students continue to amaze us with their creativity, their excellence  and their strong work ethic. This time of year, during school vacation,  Champey is  a  very  busy  place  as it also  serves as an " overflow" community center  for local students and children in the community as they come to participate in classes offered twice each day, teaching them about their rich cultural heritage of art, painting , music and dance, many of them, introduced to this world  for the first time.

Link 1 below:

Our  senior and middle students  have been working hard to help us better showcase  their talents and skills . This update will   introduce you to our new slide show which shows several of the  core hand movements that are essential in Cambodia dance to tell traditional stories.  See our video below and learn about the hand movements that are the foundation of Cambodian classical dance.

Link 2 below:

On Sunday, April 3, Champey's dance students performed in a recital at Phnom Penh's  well known  Chaktomuk theater. The program that day included performances by arts groups from around Phnom Penh.  The Champey students performed an original, nature themed piece choreographed by our teacher, Mr. Hang Sela.  Their performance earned them rave reviews and helped to raise Champey Academy's profile in the Phnom Penh arts community.  Click on the link below to view a brief video from their performance.

Link 3 below:

Our students present Lesson I in Classical Cambodian Dance along with an English narration.

More news:

As the reputation of Champey and its students  grows , our students have recently been performing for groups of hotel tourists who have visited Champey. Our team of student " greeters" have been practicing their English language skills to the degree that they are now able to give a brief introduction and explanation about some of the basics of traditional Cambodian dance which is what has led to the video you  can see in Link 3.

We are so grateful to our  donors who have generously  supported Champey and whose kind donations  make these wonderful programs possible over a period of many years.  Your support has and continues to make a real difference in the lives of our students,  our student apprentice teachers and our adult  teachers.  We hope that you will continue to support our Champey students on this terrific artistic voyage  upon which they  have embarked.

Mark will return to the US on September 13, so please stay tuned for a more updates and new photos.


Thank you,

Barbara Rosasco

Champey performs at Chaktomuk Theatre
Champey performs at Chaktomuk Theatre
Lesson 1~ Classical Cambodian Dance
Lesson 1~ Classical Cambodian Dance


Several members of our youthful team at Champey
Several members of our youthful team at Champey

 GlobalGiving Annual Bonus Match Day is June 15  from 9:00 am New York time !

  • Bonus Match Day  ( 9:00-23:59  EDTon June 15, 2016 
  • There are $110,000 in matching funds available.
  • Max donation  of $1,000 per donor per organization ( not per project!)

About Champey Academy

For more than 15 years, Kasumisou Foundation has offered classes to disadvantaged children and teens impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Our  Champey Academy of Arts, which opened in January 2013, teaches students about their rich cultural heritage and builds individual and  team skills,  developing and utilizing  the many wonderful talents of our students.

A long journey to today

When you watch our videos that show the stage at Champey and you see the beautifully painted back drop and well costumed dancers, it is  hard to remember back to January 2013 when we opened Champey. There was no stage, just a courtyard and small classrooms.

When we talk about building and utilizing the skills of our young team, we are talking serious business. The stage that you see, our new patio  canopy covering, the canvas stage backdrop  are all the results of our student’s efforts.Several of our college students, who work part time at Champey, grew up on farms in Prey Veng province and have practical experience in small building projects.

There is a saying that help comes to those who help themselves and our student’s hard work is tangible proof of that sentiment. Now, after three years, our students have a stage, scenery and the ability to practice and stage performances and allows indoor classrooms to be used for painting and drawing classes.

Setting the stage has been  a team effort

  • Our inside space is small, but we do have a courtyard, so our students built our stage   using  the traditional wooden sleeping platforms that most Cambodians still use today.  By cutting the legs off of the platforms, the strong platforms were then sanded smooth and joined together, these platforms give our students an ample stage at a cost of about $1000.
  • Other students from our drawing and art program painted the canvas backdrop.
  • Cambodia has a rainy season, which could limit use of the stage, so the next project was to build a secure canopy using heavy industrial plastic tarps and steel  cables to shield the stage from rain at a cost of about $600
  • Our students most recently to built a thatched canopy to provide cover for a seating area at a cost of  $425.

Our classes in traditional Cambodian dance, music and art are all  free of charge. Our goals are to help our students to foster pride of culture  and  to  build a sense of  individual empowerment.   Our program also offers safe and suitable jobs for high school and college  students  ranging in scope from apprentice teacher to guest relations , greeters, maintenance and   performing  administrative tasks.

Our staff utilizes many of our students as apprentice workers who receive small stipends to cover the costs of their transportation and to give them a small income for personal use. Some of our youthful team are students in our college program who earn money for basic necessities and a few of the college age boys live at the school. Despite the fact that the costs for every aspect of managing Champey is run at minimal cost, in aggregate it costs about $ 45,000 per year to run the school.

We hope that you will join us on the GlobalGiving Match day in continued support of Champey Academy. We are deeply grateful to you all for your generous support.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Building our stage
Building our stage
Trying out the stage for size
Trying out the stage for size
Our stage in use for classes
Our stage in use for classes
New thatch canopy to cover "guest" seating area
New thatch canopy to cover "guest" seating area
Under the canopy
Under the canopy
Our students & student painted stage backdrop
Our students & student painted stage backdrop


Scenery painted by our students, Champey dancers
Scenery painted by our students, Champey dancers

Video of Champey Dancers & Students

Leap Forward for Art !  Please participate in our fundraising activities!

GlobalGiving Pro-rated Match Day on March 16 !

  • Bonus Day  ( 9:00-23:59  EDTon March 16, 2016 
  • There is $75,000 in matching funds available.
  • Max donation  of $1,000 per donor per organization ( not per project!)
  • Matching will be determined on a pro-rated basis:   ($  you raise/total $  raised) x $75,000 = match 
  • Final match %  decided  March 18th

                           ( May 2015 partner match was 25.9%)

Leap Forward for Art !

In this Leap Year, we are hosting a variety of activities to encourage our supporters to Leap Forward for Art!  

Beginning on February 29, 2016, Kasumisou Foundation is  concentrating on  raising  money for  arts programs for disadvantaged children and teens in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Kasumisou Foundation is a California based US 501 c  ( 3 ) non profit organization.

For more than 15 years, Kasumisou Foundation has offered classes to children and teens impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty.  We offer instruction   in traditional Cambodian dance, music and art  free of charge, helping our students to build pride of culture . Our  Champey Academy of Arts teaches students about their rich cultural heritage,    while building individual and  team skills, discipline and developing the wonderful talents of our students. Our program also offers safe and suitable jobs for high school and college  students  ranging in scope from apprentice teacher to guest relations , greeters and performing  administrative tasks. These student workers, many of whom are themselves from disadvantaged backgrounds, serve as peer role models to the children in our programs.

Please view the videos and see our kids in action !  In the second  video you will also see a little girl who besides fidgeting with her skirt and belt, looks far too young for instruction. Yet, to our surprise, she suddenly shows us that she too, is learning , formally and informally.

The scenery you see was painted by some our art students.

Our complete payroll list has 25 names but a large number of those on the list  are  young girls who study dance with us but who are sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to act as part time  assistant teachers a few hours a week, other do administrative tasks such as greet guests, prepare the stage, help young students learn to manage their costumes and so on. Some of these young people  are  orphans or they  come from families of very modest means so we give them very small monthly payments of $20 to $50 to encourage them to continue their study of dance. As such, they are included on our staff list, and so they also are eligible to  receive very basic accident (not health) insurance coverage under our group plan.

Our basic, bare bones   operating budget for this project   for 2016 is projected at  $45,000. We are hoping in addition to raising those funds, we hope  to raise money for more  new costumes and masks to perform more traditional dances. Our students are increasingly invited to give performances but we need more costumes and masks.  We also  need additional musical instruments so that each student can spend a meaningful amount of practice time using an instrument.

But most importantly , we need to plan  to replace our temporary outdoor wooden   garden stage  which was made by tightly  tying together the legs of wooden sleeping  pallets and replace it with a  properly constructed and  sturdy stage. Estimated cost is about $ 2500 to do this.

We are deeply grateful to all of our supporters for their generosity which continues to bring the arts to our students.

Barbara & Mark



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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Menlo Park, Ca. United States
$30,334 raised of $45,000 goal
197 donations
$14,666 to go
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