Transforming the lives of Children with Disabilities At Epic Arts, we strive to make an impact in the lives of those who need it most, children and youth with disabilities.
Over the last year, we've brought more holistic services to children with disabilities because of our increased focus on enhancing the welfare of children with disabilities.
In 2023 Epic Arts Social Workers interacted with 115 children and youth through the social work project, approx. 46% of them had disabilities. Here's the story of one girl whose life has changed for the better through Epic Arts support and interventions:
"I went to do a school survey at primary schools in Kampot to find children with disabilities. I met many children with disabilities and referred them to Epic Arts Social Work Team". Explains Projects Officer, Sokhorn, who led this outreach activity. Sokhorn continues, "I meet Saroh*, a 15-year-old Cham Muslim girl with a disability studying in grade 5. Her teacher introduced us, and I saw that she had a physical disability with one of her legs, but she had no wheelchair. When I met her, she was so shy and began crying. I think she was so moved because she had never met anyone from an NGO who saw her challenge and wanted to help her."
In a recent interview, Saroh also recalls this moment, "When I first met Teacher Sokhorn, I saw that she had a disability too, but she had a job! That gave me hope to study more so I can get a job and earn a living in the future without being discriminated against. I'm happy that the Epic Arts came to meet me in my village."
Saroh, who lives in a rural area of Kampot approx. 20km from Kampot Town, was then referred to Epic Arts Social Workers.
During the assessment, they found that the family were also struggling financially along with Saroh's access needs. Mum tells us more,
"There has never been an organization visit us, so I was thrilled to meet Epic Arts. They provided food and school materials for my children, visited their school and helped my daughter to get a wheelchair. My husband sells household materials by moto around Kampot province. I used to work in the garment factory before, but I stopped working because I needed to look after my children. Whenever I sent her to the hospital, I thought she would be better one day. I used to think that my daughter couldn't do anything. I sent her to school just so she could read and write, nothing else. But after Epic Arts came and visited my family, especially encouraging and motivating me, I changed my heart. Now I will support my child in studying until she can find a job. After meeting Epic Arts, I feel more hopeful. Now I plan to continue supporting her study and wish her success in the future. The Epic Arts staff always encouraged my daughter and me."
After the initial assessment, Epic Arts Social Workers put a plan together to support Saroh and the family. Epic Arts brought Saroh & Dad and other families to a partner NGO in Sihanoukville to be fitted for custom-built mobility aids – such as prosthetic limbs, walking frames and wheelchairs.
Saroh received a wheelchair, and she tells us how her life changed after that trip,
"It was tough before. I didn't study consistently because my legs hurt, and it was hard to go anywhere. I couldn't walk and only jumped [using one leg] a little at home. I like reading, doing homework the teacher gives me, and washing dishes. But my mum doesn't want me to do anything; she fears me falling. I like learning English, Khmer and Islamic literature." – Saroh
This story is just one example of how funding from our supporters transforms lives. Not only for the life of this young girl but for everyone in her community who sees what happens when people come together to break down the barriers that children and youth with disabilities face.