Arts for Cambodian Children & Orphans at Champey

by Kasumisou Foundation

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


Student drawing of a pug photo
Student drawing of a pug photo

Champey Academy of Arts - Focus on Art

We often talk about the opportunity for cultural enrichment that Champey Academy offers its young students. Although much of our  effort focuses on music and dance, as you can see from these photos, we also have some wonderfully talented young artists. Your generous support  provides the opportunities for these kids to develop and demonstrate their skills. This report has a few photos that will give you an idea of some of our student  accomplishments:

The first drawing is a drawing made by a student and  taken from a photo of  a beautiful pug dog.  Next you see  a variety of other photos that speak for themselves and which showcase the  considerable ability that  classes at Champey  is developing through instruction and also  the knock on effect of creating a sense of pride and accomplishment in our students. The last photo shows  the scenery back-drop for our original eco play , Our Friends In the Forrest, which was  was painted by our own art students a couple of years ago. 

As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to send  all of you our sincere  thanks for believing in our students as much as we do and to again say thank you to you all  for your generous support.


Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Artist, age 10, shows still life she is working on
Artist, age 10, shows still life she is working on
Students practice drawings of dancer
Students practice drawings of dancer's hand
Student shows drawing he is working on
Student shows drawing he is working on
Scenery painted by our students for our own play
Scenery painted by our students for our own play


Mark is just back from his quarterly trip Cambodia . During each trip, Mark meets with all of the staff and leaders and reviews each project thoroughly for progress , participation and to explore areas of future innovation and improvement.

Key to our continued success with this program is reliable funding. GlobalGiving will offer a first month match on recurring donations made during the month of December . Not only do recurring donations help us to have stable funding, the bonus match on the first month's contribution will add to our year end fundraising goals.

Champey Academy continues to fulfill its roll as a “ go to “ place for young people in its neighborhood in Phnom Penh. Daily dance classes, in traditional Cambodian dance,  are quite full most days, averaging 60 or more participants . The school is becoming better known as a tourist destination, which gives students a receptive audience for their practice sessions.

Music and art  classes are full to over flowing.  Eager music students typically  outnumber the traditional Cambodian instruments that they seek to learn, so teaching is not as efficient as one might hope as students must take turns on the instruments. The Roneat Ek, which is a xylophone like instrument is the most popular among all the students. Champey owns one and our music teacher frequently brings one to class. If possible, we would like to purchase another Roneat Ek in 2016, funds permitting.

There are 5 kinds of musical instruments being used in the class:

  1. Roneat Ek which is a xylophone like instrument of which there are three general types
  2. Roheat Thoong ( one of the three types)
  3. Kong Thom which is a bell type instruments of various tones arranged in a circle on a stand
  4. Skor thom or Big Drum
  5. Skor Samphor - another type of drum that is similar to the big drum

At times we may also have loans of stringed instruments for use by the students.

This introduction and access to traditional Cambodian music is just one of several things that we introduced in 2014 and which has been a great success amount the students.

All of this is possibly only through the generous support of our donors for which we are deeply grateful.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco


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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Menlo Park, Ca. United States

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