Within the scope of its cultural programme, Krousar Thmey has mounted several exhibitions on themes such as, “Rice Paddies: Two Cultures to Be Shared” (presentation in the refugee camps near the Thai border in 1992) and “Cambodia: One People, One Culture” (a travelling exhibition presented nationwide in 1994/1995).These two projects were aimed at enabling Cambodian children to share in the discovery of their own identity and cultural heritage.
Permanent exhibition in Siem Reap
Encouraged by its success in mounting these exhibitions (since some 150,000 children have visited them), Krousar Thmey decided to recreate the experience, this time around a new theme: “Tonle Sap, Source of Life”.
Tonle Sap Lake, also known as the Great Lake, is the very symbol of the richness of the Khmer natural heritage. As a uniting factor for the country and the source of life for a large part of the Cambodian population, it is, like the temples at Angkor, an essential element of the national identity. It is in the interest of preserving this identity and contributing to the rehabilitation of the channels of knowledge transmission disrupted by nearly twenty years of civil war, that Krousar Thmey chose to devote to an exhibition of the lake. This exhibition, in Siem Reap in a vast purpose-built hall within the Krousar Thmey school for blind and deaf children, has been open to all since January 2001.
To reposition the Great Lake in its proper context, the exhibition covers various topics dealing with two key themes:
- The importance of the element “water” in the Khmer civilisation.
- The riches of Tonle Sap.
The exhibition – under the high patronage of UNESCO – has something for everyone, without exception: for children, who are a true priority; for the Cambodian populace involving local communities in a cultural project that is immediately relevant to them; and for foreign tourists who can at the international level show their appreciation of the Khmer natural heritage and identity.
For events such as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, or the bicentennial of Louis Braille, Krousar Thmey promotes its activities through explanatory signs, organises exchanges between young people with disabilities and children in public schools, and also coordinates music and dance performances by the deaf and blind children.