The rural province of Svay Rieng is in the far east of Cambodia, near the border with Vietnam. During the Vietnam war, this area was carpet bombed heavily in secret by the US military in hopes that the North Vietnamese would not infiltrate the country. Today, Svay Rieng province is one of the poorest provinces and is home to mostly subsistence rice farmers. Most children are required to work during the day in the rice fields and doing other agricultural tasks and have little or no time and/or money to study.
Many children are interested in the arts, both visual and performing, but their family’s financial situation does not allow them the luxury of learning them. Thanks to IFACA Bhutan’s generous donation, I was able to host an art event at a small home in rural Svay Rieng on January 31st, 2012. Together with my Khmer friends, we spread the word about this event, which was free and open to all children who attended. Each child took part in coloring activities with crayons, markers, pens, and pencils on paper and coloring books purchased with IFACA Bhutan’s donation. It was a great community activity and was fun for the children and adults alike. Upon leaving the event, each child was given a blank lined notebook, several coloring implements, a ball point pen, and extra pages to color on later at home.