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Sangkheum Summer Camp 2008

Over the last couple of weeks the kids at Sangkheum forgot about school and do what kids do best – enjoy themselves!! They excelled themselves in art classes and football matches! The camp was not only available for the resident kids but, for the kids in surrounding areas too. Divided into groups they leant how to work together and play together under the guidance of the young adults, who were learning how to look after the younger ones and develop key leadership skills.

The biggest excitement were the day trips… in individual groups they ventured as far as Bantey Srei and Kbal Spien while some stayed locally at Angkor Wat! Not wanting to get lost all kids were given a coloured scout scarf of either pink, purple, red, yellow or blue representing their team colours. Which they proudly wore on their heads or as a neckerchief or wherever they thought looked the coolest!

On Friday we were invited to see their work from the last few weeks, their art works were on display and the highlight of the day was a series of plays. The kids were challenged to put on a series of acts demonstrating the tough lives some children have and how every child has the right to a happy childhood.

To an audience of over 200 children, the kids acted impeccably, undaunted and professionally the tough story lines, which were not only needed to be heard but understood. They were delivered in a light hearted way and their acting, singing and performance left the audience in laughter, tears and wanting more!

The first play entitled Right to Freedom from Discrimination introduced the audience to two poor boys who whilst the other children are happily playing with friends are sat alone or cleaning rubbish. Through a number of exchanges and incidents the teacher finally explains to the class that all children have equal rights and should be treated with respect. Soon the boys are accepted and they all play together in harmony.

Right to Life was the second act where two young street kids begging for money were crudely ignored or shooed away. One of the kids was tragically knocked down by a vehicle and was rushed to hospital. After a fairly dramatic scene over the operation table the child recovers and the caring nurses decide to take the kids to Sangkheum Center where they will be looked after, have a roof over their heads, food on the table and clothes to wear.

The third act, Right to Protection, was a tough storyline to portray but the children took to the challenge and expressed themselves well with a good level of humour, empathy and sadness to get the storyline across. On a father’s deathbed in desperation for a secure future for his daughter he is convinced to hand is beautiful daughter over to some distant friends who will take her in as domestic help. The daughter is abused and is subsequently sold into prostitution. Whilst the deal is been made the police are informed and close the brothel and arrest not only the punter, the pimp and the distant friends that sold the daughter in the first place.

Three key messages delivered to an interested audience which hopefully will not only entertain them today, but impact them and influence them later in life.

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