I am seeking funding for my work-in-progress, From Refugee Camp to Project. I have been working with the community and the youth for a little over 15 years. Recently, I have been working with personal stories and trying to give the youth a voice and tell their story. I truly believe that everyone has a story to tell.
And this is mine. It is a story of struggle, pain and progress. It is a story that will shed some light on the lives of Cambodian Americans, also known as "Khmericans," and what they went through as immigrants of the United States. I came from the refugee camps to a gang neighborhood in Rhode Island, to finally becoming an artist that is passionate about giving back to the community, locally and globally. This is my story that I would like to share in order to create some empathy and understanding for better relationships amongst each other.
But in order to do this, I really need your help. I am trying to raise $6500, which is only half of the full budget, to create this performance piece and bring it to communites locally, nationally, and hopefully, internationally. (Any amount is greatly appreciated) Below is a more detailed description of the project along with a short video at the bottom.
"This project, From Refugee Camp to Project, is a one-man show that tells the story of an individual who survived the refugee camps, thus making it to the United States where he lived in a low-income neighborhood that was filled with gangs, poverty and violence. Through hip-hop dance, traditional Khmer dance, theater, spoken word, and video, he will share experiences and stories from the refugee camps and urban life as to how he has tried to stay away from the negative aspects found within his environments. The piece will begin with a projected video that describes the kind of lifestyle and struggles that Sokeo goes through regularly. It will also show images of the aftermath of what happened to Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge reign was over. With that, images of the refugee camp would also be shown. The short video will lead to the live stage performance. The stage performance will combine hip-hop choreography, traditional Khmer dancing, breakdancing, popping, krumping, projection, and theatrical elements with spoken word poetry. Dance and movement forms will be intertwined with true stories of his life. The stories and spoken word aspect of the show includes experiences that he went through in the refugee camps to what he encountered while living in a poverty stricken neighborhood. These stories range from being the first to survive, out 6 brothers and sisters before him, to an opportunity that was given to him that started his potential career. Throughout the performance, Sokeo discovers the wonderful, and creative aspects of life in the inner city, beyond the often-seen stereotypes of drug dealers, street runners, prostitutes, criminals, and poverty stricken families. Although there is a lot of negativity throughout low-income urban neighborhoods, he will demonstrate the inspiring side, and the beauty of community, as shown through powerful ghetto-derived art forms like street dancing and spoken word hip-hop poetry."
This was the first time that I met my whole family. It was September of 2013. I was 33 years old. They went back to the village that they were pushed out of during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, from 1[phone redacted]. This was a very emotional moment for all of us.
(This is the first picture of my grandmother and grandfather with me. We have never met until 2013)
Here is a video of some footage about the Khmer Rouge and my parents' interview of their experience during that time.
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