2020 at Moms Against Poverty Cambodia (MAPC) started with the opening of the MAPC Media Academy. Fueled by the success of MAP home-grown bands like DOCH CHKAE with their 2019 Wacken Open Air music festival performance in Germany, and Vartey Ganiva with her regular TV appearances on national Cambodian TV channels, MAP decided to launch the MAPC Media Academy with the goal of introducing multimedia and design production skills into our MAPC school curriculum.
Located just 30 minutes away from the capitol Phnom Penh and its booming entertainment industry, jobs that can break the cycle of poverty are well within reach of MAPC. The Academy has a hands-on approach that teaches Graphic Design, Photography and Videography, Marketing and Lyric Writing, which coordinates with the release schedule of the teenage bands of MAP MUSIC.
February saw another success story for the Academy, our Country Director and Vartey Ganiva headed north to Battambang. There, they teamed up with Visal Sorn from Forum Civil Peace Service to hold a panel discussion about Gender Equality at the Buddhist University of Battambang. The panel discussion was followed by the launch of Vartey Ganiva’s latest music video “Chub Cher” and a concert in the city of Battambang.
In Spring, COVID-19 had a massive impact across the world and in Cambodia schools were forced to close. Our teachers and directors discussed at length how to tackle this major problem and all classes were moved online – an environment where the virus can’t survive! We then quickly mobilized and distributed laptops and smartphones so that students could access their classes and homework remotely.
Outdoor vocational training classes continued under strict hygiene measures and with a maximum of four students each. As sad and difficult as the lockdown was, our Hydroponics Program still managed to install 4 systems in the community, to help grow food and alleviate the level of concern as people grew worried about their food supply.
Our first Media Academy success really brightened up the dark days of the pandemic in June. The Mekong Boyz released their first song and our design students came up with a great cover design for their song.
In addition to our music and vocational training, we helped many struggling families with food packages and rice provisions. We are grateful to our social workers who did everything they could supporting the children and our community during the pandemic closures. They regularly visited the children and their families, spoke to them directly, checked on their wellbeing and taught them about hygiene and hand washing.
Finally, in October, the Cambodian Ministry of Education announced a slow reopening of the schools. This exciting news was accompanied by another outstanding event for MAPC which was our move into a new, larger building. We signed a two-year contract for the new school building and then, at last, beginning in November, MAPC School opened its gates once again to 110 students and a new school year. Each class is restricted to six students and mask-wearing is required for all.
Our Computer Teacher Pok Prak has continued his computer classes with home visits. We have to give a special shout out to his coding class, who are in the final stages of building customized data-based attendance list software, which the class will present to MAPC beginning December.
In summary, 2020 has been marked with many exciting achievements and events for us even though the COVID-19 pandemic impacted us negatively, like everywhere else in the world.
Although in 2021 we will probably also be affected by COVID-19 and its restrictions, nevertheless, we look forward to continuing our mission of empowering and educating the underprivileged kids and teenagers in our community.
Here is a sneak peak at the year to come, we are looking forward to having our former MAPC English Teacher, Roma Navab, once again involved with the construction of a more playful, fun and child-orientated English curriculum.
The coding class will reach a new level of skills by building new exciting customized programs and maybe even a game. We are in the process of establishing powerful business partnerships with local businesses in the community in order to provide regular internships and job opportunities to our students. And the MAPC Media Academy will release more songs composed by our students, and music video releases filmed and edited by our MAPC videography students.
All this is made possible, thanks to the generosity of MAP donors. We are truly grateful to all of you! Wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and safe and healthy new year to come!
From all of us at MAP Cambodia
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