Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Orphans heading to Hawaii

Orphans heading to Hawaii

Orphans heading to Hawaii

3-STORY-1.jpg
3-STORY-1.jpg

Thirty children to travel to the American tropical island state for a series of traditional Khmer dance performances and to learn how to surf

VANDY RATTANA

One of the 30 orphans heading to Hawaii helps pack the traditional Khmer instruments and props the group is taking.

CHECK Sreysrash could not keep the smile off her face as she described her upcoming trip to Hawaii with 29 other children from the Future Light Orphanage of Worldmate (FLOW). "It is a golden opportunity," she said, beaming. 

Funded by the online organisation Email Foster Parents International (EFPI), 30 children are to fly to Hawaii today where they will stay for two weeks, performing traditional Khmer dances for audiences across the American state.

Check Sreysrash, who wants to become a lawyer, was put into the orphanage when she was two years old because her family could not afford to take care of her. The 18-year-old has been dancing for seven years now. She has been to Japan once to perform and said she has gotten over her fear of flying.

"Japan was very interesting and the people were very friendly. Hawaii will be different, maybe more beautiful," she told the Post Monday.

Sharing Khmer culture

Joining her will be 19-year-old Yann Sambath, who was preparing for his first overseas trip and looking forward to showing other nations traditional Khmer dance.

"I've been practicing dance for almost five years, and what I like most about it is we can show our culture to other countries," he said.

In Yann Sambath's imagination, Hawaii is "like heaven with all the beautiful beaches and high mountains."

What excites him most, however, is not beaches but classrooms. "I would like to learn about [Hawaii's] education system in order to develop my own country," he said.

Rob Hail, founder of EFPI, has been based in Hawaii for 35 years and said the children on tour will not just be performing.

"We're going to the zoo, aquarium and surfing," he said. "They're going to be performing in three high schools, so they have the chance to sit in some classes."

Though the last few days have been full of pre-departure preparations, Hail said they had a blessing ceremony Sunday.

"We privately held a memorial for one of our main dancers, Srey Poch, who died in March from [autoimmune disease] lupus and would have loved to be on this trip."

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially

  • American convicted of raping boy, 10, in Siem Reap

    A 79-year-old American man was sentenced to one year in prison for raping a 10-year-old boy by Siem Reap Provincial Court on Wednesday. John Paul Zollbrecht, of Washington state, was sentenced to one year in prison while a Cambodian man who helped facilitate the abuse, 23

  • PM derides talk of government affairs, hinting phone records could reveal all

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday night told Cambodia’s starlets to either name their high-profile government lovers or keep quiet, telling a room full of journalists he did not want to be tarred with the same brush. Addressing more than 3,400 people at the second