.. for a start in Life.
The Angels are young dancers of the Apsara Dance Association in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Many of them are orphans and the dance school is their home. The rigorous training programme has brought a routine into their lives and keeps them from a life on the streets. But what will happen to them when they are older and can no longer dance in the group? The basic education in Cambodian schools is not enough to ensure that they get a good job and can make a living for themselves and their families later on.
The traditional Apsara Dancing was almost lost when the dancers were followed, tortured or even killed during the Cambodian civil war. After the war the Apsara Dance Association was born like a phoenix from the ashes.
Apsara Dancers – Photos ©Jochen Voigt, Collage, ©Kasia-D
Jochen Voigt, a TV author, film maker and photographer, worked as a photo journalist in Vietnam in the sixties, leaving as the war spread. He returned recently to the region and travelled widely in Vietnam, Lagos and Cambodia, where he learnt about the Apsara dancers. Jochen went back later to record their story for North German Radio (NDR).
Jochen Voigt, Photo ©Kasia-D
One of the tiny dancers, Raksmey, tugged at the strings of Jochen’s heart when she said that she would like to go to school like the other children, but she can’t as she has no father. After some deliberation, Jochen decided to sponsor Raksmey through school. Now aged 7, her English is already so good that she can translate whole sentences into Khmer for the other kids.
Raksmey – ©Jochen Voigt
But Raksmey is not alone. Jochen is actively leading a number of long-term projects to help further children: The programme is now sponsoring 22 boys and girls. Additional children are only taken on when there are enough funds to sponsor their education until they are 18. In parallel, there are a number of activities to improve their living accomodation and overall daily lives. Basic things like bedding, toilets and showers, or ensuring that they can keep free of lice. Longer-term they also need a place to do homework with books and internet access, suppport with after-hours tuition, etc.
How can you help the Apsara Angels to get their wings?
By donating to one of the current projects via Betterplace.org. Apsara e.g. “Nice Without Lice” (Mäuse gegen Läuse – Kammerjäger), “A Lick of Fresh Paint” (Anstrich, Malerarbeiten) or “Bedding & Co.” (Matratzen, Bettwäsche, Hygieneartikel)
Thank you very much in advance for your support, however big or small it will be highly appreciated.
Please share this link with others who may be interested.
(Both posters for Sale on Redbubble – proceeds go to the fund).
The Angels are young dancers of the Apsara Dance School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Many are orphans and the dance school their home. The rigorous training programme has brought a routine into their lives and keeps them from a life on the streets. But what will happen to them when they are older and can no longer dance in the group?
Help them grow their wings and fly by donating to one of the ongoing projects.