Khmer Cultural Development Institute, Kampot, Cambodia

KCDI aims to simultaneously preserve Cambodia's rich historical culture and assist the development of disadvantaged children through a series of programmes that offer collaborative learning experiences to strengthen solidarity and build a better future. Since the establishment of the school in 1994, KCDI has been working closely with orphans (often victims of war, malaria and AIDS epidemics) to ensure that their development was not hindered by the harsh afflictions they had lived through. 

The school has since developed and expanded to include music, performing arts and fine arts; but the school is more than just an educational facility, it is a 24 hour sanctuary for the disadvantaged children of the Kampot area. The school provides food, clothes and beds as the children continue to grow and develop in ways that would never have been possible before its inception. The education available covers everything from primary levels all the way up to university entrance level, but also infuses this formal education with a traditional tutoring in the ways of Cambodian dance and performing arts. 

The outreach programme that KCDI has fostered reaches out to around 400 children from the surrounding areas who are trained in the ways of traditional Cambodian culture and in the process receive a meal and medical attention; naturally this helps to alleviate the burden of poverty on families from the neighbouring communities and helps create a strong sense of solidarity between the live-in students and the visiting children. This has helped to prevent child labour and juvenile deliquency, but also helps to improve the future prospects of the children by giving them a chance to express themselves in ways that otherwise would not be available.

The cultural elements of the school are also used as a means of therapy for those suffering from spiritual or emotional damage; not only does this keep the traditional arts alive after the purge enforced by the Khmer Rouge, but it also offers vocational skills to the children and better prepares them for the world outside of childhood.

For more information please visit their website.