The project

Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) (approximately - 'the radiant power of art'), came into existence in 1986 in a refugee camp on the Thai border, with the aim of helping refugees to overcome the trauma of war through art and creative work. Following the return of the refugees to their own country, the PPS was designated an official NGO in Cambodia.

The development of children and youth is meant to be supported through the offer of social, educational and cultural activities. Phare Ponleu Selpak has set out a comprehensive approach. Every child is unique and requires special measures that are tailored to individual needs. What is seen as being of most importance is that all the children are enabled to realize children's rights for themselves.

The work of Phare Ponleu Selpaks centres primarily on practical artistic aspects.
Art is thus seen as not only a possibility for the children to express themselves, but also as an instrument to satisfy their psycho-social needs.

Among other things, PPS education includes life-long learning, social competence, and personal development. After the years of war, and the regime of the Khmer Rouge, cultural life in Cambodia was at a extreme low. Artistic practice, is today, an instrument to give the people their cultural identity back, and with it, some of their dignity.

PPS looks after 30 children at a child care centre, and 46 more are, together with their families, supported in their communities. These children are victims of the trade in children, ugly violence, neglect, disease and poverty.
All children take part in a nutrition programme (three meals a day), receive medical care, general support (help with homework, school materials, not formal education), as well as the offer of cultural and artistic activities.

Furthermore, 150 children are looked after daily at the PPS community centre, where educational, cultural, artistic, and other activities are offered.
75 children a day have access to books and games in the library.

PPS supports the state schools in the region, among other things, by supplying teacher training and additional material necessary for a qualitatively good education for 1,250 children. In addition, there is close cooperation between the schools and the PPS community centre.

The Project offers 450 children and youth, free leisure activities or training in three areas of art: The plastic arts: drawing, painting and sculpture, cartoons, design, illustration, and editing techniques. The performing arts: circus school and theatre programme. Music: the production of traditional as well as modern music.

More information available at:


education as a key to children's rights

leisure centre


musical school