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Circus desperately seeking new home

Chief executive of Phare Performing Social Enterprise, Huot Dara says Phare is seeking help to secure a permanent venue for the future security.
Chief executive of Phare Performing Social Enterprise, Huot Dara says Phare is seeking help to secure a permanent venue for the future security. Miranda Glasser

Circus desperately seeking new home

Soaring rents in downtown Siem Reap have caused several businesses to relocate, the latest among them being the town’s favourite – and one and only – circus.

After renting a plot of land near Angkor National Museum to install the red Big Top in February 2013, Phare artists have astonished audiences nightly with their passion, emotion and talent and a further plus is that artistes could earn a stable income.

But because the rental fee for the site is expected to increase, Phare decided to start a campaign to raise funds to purchase land for a permanent home.

Huot Dara, chief executive of Phare Performing Social Enterprise says the organisation is now seeking help to secure a permanent venue for the future of the artists and art revival.

“The big top in Siem Reap is on rented land, which means high costs and an uncertain future and the rental contract will end in February 2016,” he said. Phare needs to raise funds on its own to then enable it to secure social impact loans from Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation and other loan partners.

The big top of Phare the Cambodian circus situated behind Angkor National Museum.
The big top of Phare the Cambodian circus situated behind Angkor National Museum. PETER PHOENG

“We have to raise $200,000 on our own to complete the full financing need,” Huot Dara said. “Our crowd funding campaign on StartSomeGood.com/HomeForPhare has a minimum goal of $50,000. If we do not reach this goal we will not receive anything – the amount pledged will be refunded automatically.”

Dara said that land prices in Siem Reap are high and increasing rapidly as a result of the booming tourism industry.

“We need well situated land in town that is easily visible and accessible to tourists who only stay in town for a couple of days,” he said. “But that will cost a little more. With donors help, a permanent site can be purchased and continued success and sustainability assured.” Changing to the new site will give present some challenges for Phare as Dara claimed that the current site is very conveniently and strategically located.

“It attracts a lot of the passers-by who see the big top right in the centre of town,” he said. “But we are not able to afford the rental fee.”

He feels that because Phare is becoming a must-see top tourist attraction in Siem Reap, tourists won’t mind travelling ab it further for such an amazing show. “A permanent venue could be very accessible as long as it is no further than 10 minutes commute by car or tuk tuk from downtown Siem Reap,” he said.

“Donors help means the difference between a more certain or uncertain future for these young Cambodian artists. Any contribution large or small will bring them one step closer.”

“Owning our own land protects against cost increases, which means more income goes to the artists and to the children of the school”.

Contributions can be made by credit card via http://startsomegood.com/homeforphare or off-line in Cambodia by WING. Please call Ms Sinath on 010 900 223 for more information about the WING transaction.

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