Phare Ponleu Selpak – The brightness of art

Standing for the Khmer voice ‘the brightness of arts’, Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) is a cultural organisation based in Battambang province and was created in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from refugee camps to promote and develop Khmer culture in the years following the Khmer Rouge genocide.

This NGO collaborates with a variety of international organisations on development, culture and arts to address Cambodian children’s needs, aiming to enhance the quality of life of children and their families, as well as to promote Cambodian arts and culture at both national and international levels.

What do they do?

Phare Ponleu Selpak meets the needs of underprivileged children, young adults and their families through 3 interwoven strands of intervention:  Arts schools, Social support and Education.

PPS passionately believes in the power of the arts as a tool for human development and social change. Arts are used to foster expression, but also as a complete set of tools answering children’s needs: education, life skills, social skills and personal development. It allows the population to reclaim their cultural practices and to rebuild their identity. It gives them a reason to hope for a better future and believe in themselves. PPS receives foreign artists and perform throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

In Battambang where they are based, two artistic schools form the core of PPS’ work: the school of Visual Arts and the school of Performing Art (Circus, Music and Theatre school). Thanks to PPS’ Child Protecting Unit, 90 underprivileged children (affected by child trafficking, domestic violence, abandonment, disease, extreme poverty, and street begging) benefit from a nutrition program consisting of three meals a day, free primary medical care and referral, formal and non-formal education and are also provided with school uniforms and materials. Furthermore, 300 children are welcomed daily in the Child Development Centre, and another 800 children a day have access to the library. PPS supports the public school (1000 children) through teacher training and additional salaries in order to ensure free quality education for all. This proximity allows enriching exchanges with the art schools.

What can you do to help?

Ask your travel agent to attend one of the performances, guided tours or art exhibitions organised by PPS, so that you can directly contribute to the enhancement of students’ training possibilities and help their career progression.

In Battambang where they are based, you can follow guided tours (in French, English or Khmer) to the association, including a film on the history of the organisation, visit the schools and art center and attend some performances by PPS’ students under the big top, which are fun for the whole family.

In Siem Reap, circus performances can now be seen daily in the recently opened circus new stage.

In Phnom Penh visit the Romeet Art Gallery where regular exhibitions of paintings and sculptures from local artists will give you further insight into the Cambodian arts scene in the making. Workshops, training courses, and conferences are part of the project.

Your donation directly benefit their needs:

  • US$ 30         Child protection program sponsoring for one month
  • US$ 40         Individual student sponsoring for one month
  • US$ 100      Materiel for non-formal education for one month
  • US$ 250      1 month salary for 1 skilled art training teacher
  • US$ 500      Support to re-vamp their 20 year-old campus

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