Today the war of attrition has ended, but the many serious social problems related to trauma and poverty have not. Children who now attend our Residential Program have lost their parents to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some children have also been abandoned or neglected, others may have a physical disability related to Polio or Tuberculosis, but also importantly they have lost the support of extended family, either through death, abandonment or social stigma, whilst some have one elderly relative too old and ill to follow-up the child’s welfare and education long-term.
Since 1994 our school has assisted vulnerable children from primary school age to university entrance level from all over Kampot as well as from other provinces, providing residential care, scholastic education, traditional Cambodian arts training, vocational training, food, clothing, medical care and counselling. In this case traditional music, theatre and dance is also a form of therapy and healing as well as vocational training. Additionally those older students preparing for graduation are assisted in the delicate phase from adolescence to adulthood in our Transition Program (see link), helping them choose the career path of their choice, whether in the fine arts, or at university, or in business, farming and so on. Today we house up to 25 children on our Residential program.
Working side by side with the Department of Social Affairs, Village and Provincial Chiefs, as well as the Departments of Education and Culture, our school is very careful to evaluate each individual need and to provide Residential Care only for those children who have no alternative. In some cases our school also provides re-integration back into the child’s village. Our school also encourages remaining relatives, often grandparents or adult siblings to keep active contact with our Residential Children and let children participate in National holidays in their villages.