This Cambodian Circus Helps Kids out of Poverty

Running away to join the circus is dream many kids have. In Cambodia joining the circus can be the best thing a kid can do, and they don’t need to run away to join the fun. Phare Ponleu Selpak is the circus program, after similar in style to Cirque du Soleil, for youth and functions in two Cambodian cities, Battambang and Siem Reap. What makes this Cambodian approach unique is the attachment to education beyond the circus. Youth who participate in the program get a full education alongside their circus training.

I’ve been to their performance at their school in Battambang, and trust me, it’s really really impressive!

“Cambodian youth are transforming their lives through art, breaking the cycle of poverty,” says Khuon Chanreaksmey. “They are discovering their own talents and realising that with hard work and opportunity anything in life is possible. The salaries they earn performing in the circus help support themselves and their families. Today’s artists are paving the way for the younger generations.”

Phare has fired imaginations around the world on its overseas tours. “Phare is amazing – its performers are so talented, especially since most of them are kids coming from the street, and obviously there’s a lot of hard work and creativity behind the scenes,” says Ravindra Ngo, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Cambodian Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes the country’s art and culture.

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Circuses Not a Place for Wild Animals

England launched a public consultation about whether or not wild animals should be permitted to perform in circuses and it looks like legislation is on the way. A resounding 94.5% of people opposed the use of wild animals in circuses.

Other animals used by circuses in England including lions, zebras, camels, llamas, reindeer, crocodiles and snakes, will all need to be rehomed, possibly in zoos and wildlife parks.
Jim Fitzpatrick, Animal Welfare Minister, said: ‘I agree with the clear view emerging from the huge response to the government’s consultation that keeping wild animals to perform in travelling circuses is no longer acceptable. So, I am minded to pursue a ban on the use of these animals in circuses.
‘We also want to make sure that circus animals are well looked after once they stop performing. Nobody wants to see them simply destroyed, and we will work with all concerned to secure a future for these animals.’
A massive public consultation on the use of animals was launched in December 21 and closed last week, attracting nearly 13,000 responses.

Read more at the Daily Mail

Bolivia Bans Circus Animals

In order to protect animals in the country, Bolivia has banned all circus animals. Sadly, circus animals were being abused in Bolivian circuses and even being killed once the animals were passed their prime. It’s really good to see that the government has protected the animals from further harm.

The law, which states that the use of animals in circuses “constitutes an act of cruelty”, took effect on 1 July with operators given a year to comply, according to the bill’s sponsor, Ximena Flores.

The law was proposed after an undercover investigation by the nonprofit-making London-based group Animal Defenders International (ADI) found widespread abuse in circuses operating in Bolivia.

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