For the early detection of leprosy through educational messages conveyed by Khmer shadow theatre


Sovanna Phum Art Association | Khmer shadow theatre is part of Cambodia’s cultural heritage, it also represents an important way to convey fundamental and educational messages to a community with a high illiteracy rate.


Khmer shadow theatre, like all traditional arts, was particularly affected during the Khmer Rouge regime. Founded in 1994, Sovanna Phum Art Association intervened to revive shadow theatre and to promote the preservation of these treasures of ancestral Khmer culture. The association provides a platform allowing Cambodian artists to live from their art thanks to the many performances organized all over the country.


The project supported by Carène in 2010 consisted in recreating a new set of shadow puppets for the association. It is important to underline that the manufacturing of the puppets is also a traditional art that employs numerous artisans and artists. The largest puppet can require up to two months of work for an experienced craftsman.


In 2010, Fondation Carène made a contribution of USD 13’270 to replace the collection of traditional puppets used during the performances of the association. In 2011 Fondation Carène funded the acquisition of a new truck and mobile stage (USD 16’988), hence allowing the Association to tour the country, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the CIOMAL[1] Foundation, for the early detection of leprosy.


Now Sovanna Phum Art Association is regularly requested to develop educational traveling shows on important issues in order to raise awareness in a society where the illiteracy rate is still very high.


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