More than US$7,000 has been raised so far by Telstra OTC Australia to support the
National Dance Theatre and the Fine Arts Dance School. The fundraising campaign,
which was kicked off on June 18 at a premier showing of the film "The Tenth
Dancer," has engendered two major donations
of U.S. $1,300 and U.S. $500 from the Australian Permanent Mission and Samart Communications
respectively. More than 30 other individuals and institutions have made donations
to the Telstra-led funds appeal.
Telstra, for its part, contributed U.S. $4,000. The results of the campaign were
announced by Mara Moustafine, Telstra's representative for Cambodia, at a ceremony
at the Fine Arts Dance School on Jul. 9.
"We are delighted that our appeal has already met with a generous public response,"
Moustafine said. "At our reception, we collected U.S. $3,000 and more donations
are still expected."
Moustafine informed the school's administrators and students that the funds would
be divided equally between the Dance School and National Theatre. It is expected
that the funds will be used for the purchase of traditional costumes and headdresses,
some of which may cost up to $1,700
each. It is now up to each institution to submit a proposal to Telstra requesting
the funds with a specific outline of how the money will be used.
The Dance School currently has 280 students ranging in age from 8 to 20. The institution
and Khmer classical dance in general were devastated during the Pol Pot regime when
it is estimated that one in ten of the dancers lost their lives.
Telstra, as an integral part of its corporate philosophy, has chosen the restoration
of Khmer classical dance as a cause that it wants to actively promote.
"We're not just about telecommunications," Moustafine said. "Culture
is an on-going concern of ours and this year, on the inspirtation of my boss, John
Malcolm, we decided to focus on the Khmer dancers."
Moustafine encourages others interested in the restoration of the two institutes
to contact her at the Telstra office for further information.