Future of Cambodia relies on education and the transmission of its cultural heritage to children.
In october 2016 I visited the secondary school of fine arts in Phnom Penh, a place very dear to my heart ever since I discovered it and started helping a few years ago. I was back there during the kids’ fall vacation. It made me so sad to notice that, since last time I was there, the school had fallen in a state of disarray.
The following is what I found a few months ago, since this date some things have changed :
HYGIENE AND SANITATION: unfortunately TERRIBLE !
When walking around the grounds, I was struck by the numerous huge puddles of DIRTY STAGNANT WATER, a breeding mosquito ground which could lead to diseases for the children. It was explained to me that is was due to upper level construction and poor sewage evacuation. I was told by the deputy manager that the problem would be fixed by next week? How?
There is an enormous amount of GARBAGE bags lying around and garbage is scattered around all over the property. There again, the deputy manager assured me that the garbage bags would be picked up before the
school start and that the students would clean the grounds upon their return.
FILTHY BATHROOMS: unusable. No running water in the toilets, the showers have no shower heads and their floor is so filthy that no one should step in a stall without shoes on. The answer I got was: “It has always been like that!”
There is a lot to do to educate the students about hygiene. The few teachers who tried to do so were not taken seriously.
A NEW LIBRARY has been built – unfortunately, there are very few books in it. Somehow, we must manage to supply them with books.
We went to visit the small deye theatre. Since the roof is leaking, parts of the stage are flooded, have huge holes which makes it impossible for the kids to perform safely. The roof and the stage have to be fixed.
I found out that a few girls were still living in the dorms during their vacation. They chose to remain in the school during their vacation hoping that they might be selected as dance performers for local events and will make some money.
The school is in need of everything. There is almost no equipment for needy students of the music department. 20 students want to learn how to play the violin. But there are no longer any instrument for them.
Children coming from destitute families have no supplies for the fine arts classes.
For physical training, they need shoes, basic equipment and tatami for the circus school. This list is minute compared to what is really needed to turn the secondary school of fine arts into a functioning school again.
The next days , I urged the teachers to give me a list of the neediest kid to see what could be done to help them. I learnt from them what kind of equipment’s desperately missing.This visits showed urgent needs such as
- toilets, showers
- scholar basic furnitures
- fine arts supplies, clay
- music instruments
- costumes, theatre decors
- training shoes , tatami
- garbage containers
Donations received through www.gofund.me/phnompenhkids (a site suggested by a friend) created last summer allowed me to buy what was urgently needed ; free meals for the very needy kids, violins, scholar furnitures, fine arts supplies, bicycles , clay.
To be able to bring an immediate help was positive but that was not enough to face the numerous needs of the school for the coming years.
Thinking and thinking again about the above listed items, I realized a proper structure was necessary to raise funds, assure scholarship in good conditions for all the students as well as supplying adequate tools on long term actions .
To go further acedak* prevailed.
*access to education and khmer arts
Acedak is non profit organization according to the french law of 1901, and registered at the Greffe of the Bordeaux Préfecture on April 26, 2017, under number W332021754. The bureau is composed of 5 members, 3 are active members.
The obligatory formal insert in the official paper – Journal officiel – was published on April 29, 2017 under number 00488.
SIRET number : 830 520 391 00012
The headworks are located : 18 avenue Conrad Gaussens, 33520 Bruges.
The President and founder is Marie-Christine Amelot.