Everybody Counts is the message that is delivered here. Epic Cambodia has been committed to educating and empowering Cambodian people to see ability, not disability. Through various projects relating to art this organisation is managing to do just that.
Epic Arts believes in a world where people with disabilities are valued, accepted and respected. It was founded in 2001. The work in Cambodia was set up in 2003, establishing the Epic Arts Cafe in Kampot and, in 2009, a fully-accessible Arts Centre, the first of its kind in South East Asia.
Through art the organisation helps people to be able to feel valued, included, understood and to feel as equals and not be excluded due to the fact that they have a disability. People are welcomed. For many of them this might be the first time that they have been able to make friends and feel part of a community.
The good thing about art is that it breaks down barriers. Many of the people that have come here would have been made to feel worthless and that they have nothing to offer in life in terms of a career, making friends and having a family. I disagree with that. We are all people at the end of the day. Each and everyone of us, has something that is unique about us, that makes us different from everyone else and thats what makes us all special.
Organisations like this help give people a chance in life that they so deserve. Look how happy all the guys are in the video dancing and singing to the song “Happy”. Some have no arms or legs, are blind or have Down Syndrome. The performing arts side has opened up the way that we look at creating movement to words, such as plays and also music. Each and every person regardless fo their disability is able to participate and show the world that just because you have no legs, doesn’t mean you can’t dance.
Inclusive Arts Course (IAC)
This Cours started in March 2013. New students, from the hearing and visually impaired, able and disabled community began working together on a two-year Arts-focused course.The aim of the course is to use the Arts to transform expectations and broaden horizons about the potential of a more inclusive society.
Students undertake modules in Drama & Theatre, Creative Movement, Music, Film making and Visual Arts, plus lessons in Khmer and English Literacy. This is seen as providing a non-traditional skills training in management,leadership and problem solving, delivered through an Arts- based approach. The courses can then lead onto further study and also help the people gain work all of which they would have thought was previously impossible.
Arts Cafe Kampot
Established in 2006, the idea for the Epic Arts Caf grew from a desire to provide work opportunities for deaf and disabled people as well as a hang-out for deaf students. Today, the Cafe stands as a model for an inclusive working environment within the local community providing work for ten people and raising funds for the work of Epic Arts.
Already a hub for the local community, the caf enjoys a regular stream of international visitors, usually armed with a copy of The Lonely Planet, a good appetite and a desire to learn about the organisation.
What an amazing charity this is. It is of course run in otheer countries, but I decided to pick Cambodia to show that good things are happening for people in some of the less fortunate countries like Cambodia, where money is not always available.
If you would like further details of how to get involved or even donate. Please visit www.epicarts.org.uk.