WRITTEN BY
Adam Crispin
26 February, 2020

Circus skills and service in Battambang; Northbridge Grade 9 students' Mission in Action

Circus skills and service in Battambang; Northbridge Grade 9 students' Mission in Action Northbridge International School Cambodia Grade 9’s Mission in Action Trip provided opportunities for team building, creativity and service as well as visiting cultural sites.

Northbridge International School Cambodia Grade 9’s Mission in Action Trip provided opportunities for team building, creativity and service as well as visiting cultural sites. 

An early start and a long bus journey over, Grade 9 students headed straight to the first activity of the trip - a circus skills workshop, provided by Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Phare  is a Cambodian non-profit arts school offering support to children, youth and the surrounding communities through artistic, educational, social and community outreach and engagement programmes.

Trampolining, silks, juggling, and trapeze were some of the skills to be learnt. The sessions were led by students at the Phare Circus School. 

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The evening was spent watching a performance called ‘Sokha.’ Based on the true life stories of the founders of Phare Ponleu Selpak, the show is a powerful mix of drama, dance, contemporary circus techniques, live painting, and original, live music.

Sokha is a child haunted by war. Her memories of the Khmer Rouge combine with surreal visions to create a distorted and dark reality. Through art, she discovers her strength and finds the tools to heal both herself and her community.

The show highlights the long term effects suffered by post-war victims and the way art provided a powerful way to heal and rebuild the country.

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Thursday morning provided the opportunity to explore the local area with visits to Wat Ek Phnom and a trip on the bamboo railway.

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Children’s SOS Village School, Battambang was the location for the service element of our trip. Grade 9 students organised and ran activities for students at the school including music, crafts, English and maths lessons as well as volleyball and football tournaments.

This was perhaps the most challenging yet also rewarding aspect of the trip for many of our students who were placed in an unfamiliar setting and did a fantastic job of organising and running activities with groups of students whom they did not know.  It was rewarding to see students from Northbridge and Children’s SOS Villages engaging with each other in such a positive manner. 

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Some well earned time for relaxing by the hotel pool followed, before our final activity of the day: All students were asked to produce a creative reflection on the activities of the last two days. This could be an original creation or a performance of a song that resonated with their experiences. 

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We were treated to a combination of original songs, cover versions, drama performances and dance. To see every student creatively involved, and the entire Grade Level being so supportive of each other really demonstrated what makes Northbridge such a fantastic school; an real demonstration of our philosophy of Caring Hearts and Ambitious Minds.

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