Epic Arts Cambodia

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Epic Arts Cambodia is an organization that works with children with functional variations and their families, under the motto that all people are valuable and count. Cambodia is a country where many parents, due to lack of knowledge and fear, hide children with functional variations away from the world – not even the neighbors know that they exist; they have never been to school and they have never had friends.

Epic Arts’ foremost purpose is to include and strengthen children and to show them and their closest relatives that they can do whatever they want, if only they receive the right support and environment. When the organization conveys its message, it mainly uses the power of art, giving children and young people with functional variations the chance to sing and dance in music videos or on stage – at a highly artistic level. Epic Arts Cambodia has become world famous for its cover of the Pharell Williams song “Happy,” where they dispel many of the myths about what people with functional variations can and cannot do. Art is also the tool used by Epic Arts to bring children, young people and adults who have functional variations together with those who do not. Some of the organization’s work is paid for by the earnings from its own café and shop as well as theater and dance performances.

Epic Arts also offers various types of training: Some children need preparatory support before they start at a government school or other school; others receive training directly from Epic Arts as they will never be able to attend another school (since other schools are most often not adapted for functional variations).

The project supported by Childhood aims to ensure that children with functional variations have the right to safety and protection in their everyday lives, which for many of them is characterized by mistreatment, violence, abuse and exploitation. Epic Arts wants everyone who works for the organization to learn more about established child protection measures and use this knowledge to reach out to children, their families and others in their community. The project also enables younger children with functional variations (three to five years of age) to attend the Epic Arts center twice a week with their parents, to promote the child’s development and to provide the parents with tips and advice on how to best support their child.