More than a Museum - More of a Home
Behind the museum we have built a 4 room school where children can come after their normal school lessons. We have an art room, computer room, library and playground. Currently we have one English teacher, Jill Morse, who offers classes to local children.
The history of the Museum School goes back to when Aki Ra first started his original museum. He found child victims of landmines after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. It was then that he had the idea to bring home these children to raise as his own. Since then, we have added a lot to the program, i.e. creating the Relief Center, to enrich their lives.
The children who have lived at Relief Center ranged in age from 8 to 21 years old. Once our children have graduated from high school, they are eligible to receive a university scholarship from us. As of 2019, we have 9 students that attend university in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Many children who lived at the Relief Center today have been landmine victims, abandoned by their families, orphaned, or come from destitute families. Others suffered from Polio. The Relief Center is supported by the income of the Museum, and is much more than an orphanage. It is a life giving opportunity for children who would otherwise have no chance to receive an education or to become productive members of society.
Currently, the Relief Center is closed. In 2018 the children were all moved to other facilities in Siem Reap, where they are being adequately taken care of. For the foreseeable future, the children will be staying at these new facilities in town, run by local NGOs. Living in Siem Reap instead of in Banteay Srey, where the Museum is located, gives the children access to better schools so that they can receive a better education. Since the facilities they’re now staying at are also a lot larger than the Museum’s Relief Center, the children also have many more peers to play and socialize with. We are confident the children are safe and well taken care of at these facilities, and we will of course remain in touch with them and continue to support them in any way we are able to.