Cambodia: Circus of Hope – An introduction to Phare Ponleu Selak
In Battambang, Cambodia a school is celebrating 25 years of helping street children in the most challenging and imaginative ways. Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPSA) or “The Brightness of the Arts” is a non-profit Cambodian association improving the lives of children, young adults, and their families with art schools, educational programs, and social support since 1994. The seed of Phare Ponleu Selpak was planted in 1986, in the Site II Refugee Camp on the Thai-Cambodia border. In the camps, nine young Cambodians began taking drawing classes with Veronique Decrop, a french Humanitarian worker. The sessions worked as art therapy, allowing the children to express through art the emotions that they couldn’t put into words. In a country where the artistic culture was destroyed through years of conflict, Phare Ponleu Selpak promotes a sense of Cambodian pride and identity.