Krousar Thmey Reunion
7 April 2008


Every year Krousar Thmey ("New Family"), a French-founded NGO serving Cambodian children at risk, has a family reunion and brings together all the children in their 40+ projects serving children who are deaf, blind, homeless, living on the streets, and otherwise vulnerable. This year the reunion or Prachum Nheat was held at the deaf school in Kampong Cham. Charlie Dittmeier and Keat Sokly, the DDP manager, were invited to attend.

Deaf dancer
Every ceremony in Cambodia begins with a traditional welcome dance. This young woman is one of a group of six deaf dancers who performed for the gathering.
Feet of some monks Buddhist monks are another necessary part of all ceremonies. They offer a blessing and receive gifts.
Benoit Duchateau-Arminjon, Krousar Thmey founder Benoit "Benito" Duchateau-Arminjon founded Krousar Thmey in 1991 so this was a 17th anniversary celebration as well as the 6th celebration of Prachum Nheat. His deaf schools were started in 1997, the same year the Deaf Development Programme began.
Student speakers Several present and former Krousar Thmey students spoke of the history of the organization and of their own experiences there.
Students performing the Peacock Dance In addition to classical welcoming dance, other students performed the Peacock Dance and other students presented a tribal dance.
Minister of Information His Excellency, Mr. Kheiv Kanharith, the Minister of Information gave the opening speech for the ceremony. One of the difficulties in Cambodia is knowing which government officials are really interested and concerned about such issues as the disabled, which ones are worth working with, and which ones should just be bypassed.
Giving offerings for the monks After the ceremony, the invited guests line up to give offerings of rice and money, putting the rice in the monks' begging bowls lined up on a table. The rice is spooned into the bowls, but each person uses his or her fingers to put a few grains of rice into the small orange plastic bowl at the end, symbolically casting aside all the bad luck and evil that may lie ahead.
Charlie and Kanitha Ms. Kong Kanitha is an official in the Ministry of Education and a good friend of Charlie and the people with disabilities. There is no doubt whose side she is on and she has been a long-time supporter of better services for people with disabilities.
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