ANJALI PHOTO WORKSHOPS in CAMBODIA
> What is the ‘Anjali Photo Workshops’?
The Anjali Photo Workshop is an annual photography workshop organised for the children of Anjali House, an NGO registered in France and Cambodia providing food, shelter and education for up to 110 underprivileged children in Siem Reap.
Held annually since 2005, the workshop was started by Antoine d’Agata (Magnum Photos) and is held alongside the Angkor Photo Festival – an annual weeklong international photography festival in Siem Reap.
As a non-profit initiative, we rely on the help of volunteers, and we work hard to ensure all our events and activities are kept free-of-charge.
With your support, we can continue the workshops for the children of Anjali House!
> What is the purpose of this workshop?
We believe in the power of creativity and to allow children access to various forms of self-expression. Creativity is an important tool to encourage social interaction and educational development, as well as being a proven form of therapy for mental and physical disabilities. The Anjali Photo Workshop aims to encourage each and every child’s creativity, and of course, to let them enjoy themselves and have fun!
The workshops complement the ultimate goal of Anjali House – to help the children develop into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the skills and support to be successful in their future endeavours.
> What happens during the Anjali Photo Workshops?
For 10 days, the children of Anjali House are given digital cameras to photograph their lives, friends, families and anything that catches their interest. They are guided by young volunteer photographers who advise them on technical knowledge and help to develop their creative skills. The children are also brought on special excursions and trips to new and fun places!
The children then share their photographs with the public on “Children’s Day”, a special day for the children which is a part of the Angkor Photo Festival.
> What is the future of the workshops?
We urgently need your help and support to realise the next Anjali Photo Workshops, which is scheduled to be held at the end of November 2013. With more funds, we will be able to include more children, and to provide them with a better workshop experience!
PHOTOS BY THE CHILDREN OF ANJALI HOUSE
Here are some photos by the children from the previous workshops!
ABOUT THE TEAM:
We, Jean-Yves Navel, Françoise Callier, Jessica Lim, Caroline Pévrier, are part of the Angkor Photo Association which organises the Angkor Photo Festival. We all come from different backgrounds – photography, humanitarian work, IT, communications – but we all have a passion for what we do, and a great love for the children of Anjali House.
Our combination of skills make us a strong team, and we are united in our dedication to a project that we believe makes a difference to the lives of the children of Anjali House.
MORE ON ANJALI HOUSE
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN ?
In 2005, a group of photographers got together to promote photography and highlight humanitarian issues in Southeast Asia. It was important for them to also be able to give back and benefit the local community at the same time.
Anjali began as a one-off dance troupe, led by Sangeeta Isvaran, and a photography workshop initiated by Magnum Photos photographer Antoine d’Agata. Through these activities, the children were encouraged to away from the streets, and after a week, they performed their dance routine and exhibited their photographs to an international audience. The success of these activities gave the children a sense of empowerment, pride and a sense of personal achievement.
Galvanised by the difference that first week made, the Angkor Photo Associated was inspired to expand its help, and pledged to provide education and practical support to the children and their families. After a lot of hard work, Anjali House opened its doors in 2005.
How does Anjali House help the children?
The Sanskrit word "anjali" translates to "offerings" in English. Anjali House therefore a house of offerings for local children in need. At Anjali House, the children receive free food, education and healthcare.
Anjali House provides nutritious meals and clean filtered water, along with classes in basic hygiene and free medical and dental care. All of the children are provided with free school supplies and registered in local schools, and Anjali House also conducts lessons in English and Khmer, while engaging the children in sports activities and creative arts classes. Their families receive 3kg of rice every week at a subsidised price, easing the pressure of feeding the family and helps to keep the children in school by compensating from the income lost when the children stop working.
Additionally, the new Young Adults Program provides the young adults at Anjali with the tools, skills and knowledge necessary in entering the workforce and becoming role models for their peers.
Anjali House is a safe haven where children can find support, friendship and shelter from the hardships of everyday life in Cambodia - where kids can be kids, playing, learning, discovering their strengths and having fun.
Who are the children at Anjali House?
All the children come from impoverished local families in Siem Reap who are brought to Anjali and public school every day by local transportation at no cost. These children previously had little or no opportunity to attend public school, and were encourage to beg or work by scavenging for recyclable materials or selling souvenirs to tourists.
Many of the children were ill and malnourished due to the lack of food, clean drinking water and adequate healthcare. Many also did not attend school as their families could not afford the associated costs, or because they had to work during school hours. Many of the parents have disabilities and/or suffer from drug, alcohol or gambling addictions.
What is the current situation in Cambodia?
Nearly thirty years after the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, years of civil war and famine, the country is slowly returning to stability. The devastating effect to Cambodian society, infrastructure and the economy, however, is still being felt today. One of the greatest challenges facing the development of the country is access to education, skills training and healthcare. A report by UNICEF in 2009 states 30.1% of Cambodians live below the poverty line, and almost 40% of children are chronically malnourished (World Food Programme).
At Anjali House we provide each child with free healthcare, food, clean drinking water and education. We believe that no child should be forced to beg or work. We believe that they have the right to enjoy their childhood - to learn, play, make friends and grow in a safe and happy environment. These are basic rights that no child should be denied.