Opportunities of Development Thru Art (ODA)

ODA

ODA (Opportunities of Development Thru Art) in Siem Reap was set up by Leng Touch, a gentle Cambodian artist and his wife who wanted to give something back to their country after their own very personal experiences of the Killing Fields.

With large subsistence farming families in the outer lying areas of Siem Reap there are still huge numbers of children unable to attend government schools, in Cambodia today.

ODA provides Free English education to outlying village children. Fluent English is the key to employment in and around the booming tourism industry in Siem Reap, and ODA’s Free English schools directly address the need of improving student’s future employment opportunities.

 

All eight schools offer kindergarten and night English classes to over 1300 underprivileged children, with four schools providing introduction to computers. In addition, their teachers are supported to university courses of their choice.

 

"Children here don’t lack intelligence, just opportunity."

- Leng Touch, Founder ODA

Leng Touch

When you hear the story of Leng’s childhood under the terror reign of the Khmer Rouge – how he saw his father’s throat being cut before his eyes – totally lost contact with his mother & sister for many years – survived those harrowing times as well as anyone else did around malnutrition – the constant fear of being targeted & killed –the constant fear of stepping on a land mine or grenade – it becomes very clear why he feels so deeply for poor Cambodian children who have no one to take care of and educate them today & struggles to ensure the children’s needs are provided daily.

 If it hadn’t been for his Uncle & Aunt finding him and bringing him up along with their own children – he could well have been exactly like these children himself! After the defeat of the Khmer Rouge & under the kind family umbrella offered by his Uncle & Aunt, he & his cousins managed to work the many hours required to pay for their higher education. Leng himself successfully completed a 5 year Fine Arts Degree at University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in 1995 & went on to teach eventually at an NGO in Siem Reap, which wasn’t the bustling tourist city that it now is, but a war torn, extremely poor collection of villages – still dealing with malnutrition & land mines among many other issues.

Outside of his hours of employment he taught art to 5 very poor boys who were very grateful for the opportunity he presented to them – but puzzlingly, their attendance was very sporadic. When he finally got to the bottom of it – it was because many had to walk 3-4 kms to attend & with no food they were too weak to attempt it many days running. He remembered all too well how it felt to be so weak from lack of food, that you could barely stand up – he said “If not for my Uncle & Aunt this would have been my life – I must help them like I was helped” ODA (Opportunities of Development thru Art) was born out of these very humble beginnings & is now a fully legitimate Not For Profit NGO and Educator – registered with the Government & Education Authority.

All eight schools offer kindergarten and night English classes to over 1300 underprivileged children, with four schools providing introduction to computers.  In addition, their teachers are supported to university courses of their choice.

Village kids dream of improved futures.  ODA’s aim is to assist these subsistence-farming youngsters to the ‘luxury’ of an education that leads to future employment.

Fluent English and introduction to computer skills, help to turn whole families lives around through future permanent salaried, government or tourism related jobs.

For more information about ODA please visit their site directly.
odaopportunitiescambodia.org

We are so excited that Artwork created by LENG TOUCH and young people supported by ODA will feature in the LIVE AUCTION at IMAGINE 2018