It all started at a French restaurant in Phnom Penh, where we met French Canadian artist, Richard Trembley, who offered to give free Creative Art classes to the orphans of the Kolap 4 Orphanage at our Tuol Sleng Center.
Every Saturday for a year, Richard taught art to these orphan children. Not only did it help the children learn to draw and paint, but it also instilled in them the realization that they have something unique and valuable that they can contribute to society.
Recently, a friend of Richard’s, who is the UNDP Senior Representative and Advisor at the Cambodian House of Senate, organized an exposition of the orphans’ artwork, which was viewed by many VIP's, including Prince Sisowath, (who distributed gifts to the children for their participation), Her Excellency the Chairwoman of the Parliament, members of the National Assembly, Senators, and the media.
Some of the money that was raised from the sale of the children's paintings was used for a cultural and educational event that we organized for them. A team of 85 orphans, who had rarely left their orphanage before this, participated in a 2-day excursion that included visits to some of the most beautiful temples of the Angkorian civilization, as well as the famous Angkor Wat temple.