The project in summary

Consolidation of the first Cambodian professional school in Visual Arts, offering free courses to vulnerable children and young people from the rural suburbs of Battambang.

The project in detail

Allow the young beneficiaries to develop their professional careers in Graphic Design, Web Design, Illustration e 2D Animation, sectors in full bloom in Cambodia.

319 children and youths with backgrounds characterized by poverty, violence and abuse in the rural outskirts of Battambang.

The idea behind Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS: “the luminosity of art”) was born in 1986 by nine, young, Cambodian refugees who had taken part in a drawing class offered at the “Site 2” refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. When they returned to their country at the end of the terrible Khmer Rouge regime, they created the PPS association to help children express and overcome the trauma of war through art, and to contribute to the reconstruction of their country via the recuperation and recognition of Khmer art and culture.

Today, the PPS campus in Battambang hosts renown art schools (circus, theatre, dance, music and visual arts) as well as public, government schools for 900 children, nursery schools and social service facilities to assist disadvantaged children and youth.  

The project, supported by AMI/AMG (and till 2016 also by French partners AFD and CCFD) foresaw the consolidation and professionalization of the Visual and Applied Art School (VAAS) begun in 1994 and currently being recognized as a Professional School on the part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Youth of Cambodia. At the new headquarters, inaugurated in November 2015, the VAAS offers free, three-year professional courses to students who are older than 16 and have completed secondary school. The first year is dedicated to instruction in the fundamentals of visual arts and their application. The second and third years focus on a specialization in either graphic design, web design, illustration or 2D animation. During the third year, students can participate in an internship in one of the 35 companies selected by PPS with the assistance of a job facilitator who works to foster relationships with professionals and reinforce the communication skills of students. The art school also offers free art classes to children in pre-school, elementary and secondary schools, organized as extra-curricular activities, in order to develop concentration, communication and creative thought.