“Day’s End”, taken by Chan Sokdam, depicts Eang, a daughter of a staff member at Anjali House.
Photo by: Anjali House
PHOTOGRAPHS taken by former street children from Anjali House formed part of the backdrop for a book launch in London last night.
Projections of the children’s work accompanied author Sue Guiney’s reading of her newly published novel, A Clash of Innocents (Ward Wood Publishing), at the launch at Asia House in fashionable Fitzrovia near Regent’s Park.
Against the shadow of Cambodia’s violent past and the beginnings of its new tribunal, A Clash of Innocents is a story of displaced souls. The author has built the novel on the idea of innocence – both real and assumed – and those who, for reasons of their own, adopt the guilt of others.
According to a review by novelist Fiona Tobyn, the novel is “the heart-warming story of the indomitable Deborah, who runs an orphanage and fights with her own demons as the country struggles to come to terms with its bloody history”.
Last night’s launch party, which also included a print exhibition of the children’s works, a slideshow, and a fundraising photo sale, also marked the pre-launch activity for Anjali House’s own book, Cambodia: Our Vision; a collection of striking images taken by the former street children of Angkor. The formal launch for that book will take place during the Angkor Photo Festival in November.
Sam Flint, director of Anjali, is very happy with the creation of the new book.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It’s really nice to have got things so far. We’ve all been working hard to turn the children’s work into something that’s valued and I think we’re there. Just as importantly, we’re creating real future opportunities for the children, some of whom have already had their own exhibitions.”
Anjali House is a shelter for street children in Siem Reap that provides education and health care, linked with a strong emphasis on creative expression.
The organisation was founded out of the Angkor Photo Festival, and has maintained links with photographers from all over the world who come to work with and train the children.
Postcards showing the children’s work have been available in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh for almost one year and sales have been strong, officials say.