More than 40 years after the Khmer Rouge’s accession to power in Cambodia the awareness for the root causes of the regime’s atrocities seems particularly limited among the country’s youth. In a survey conducted by Berkley University in 2009, 81% of the respondents who did not live under the Khmer Rouge regime described their knowledge of that period as poor or very poor. As the age group from 10 to 24 is representing about a third of the population, the situation is cause for concern and may limit the active contribution of young people to develop a democratic civil society in Cambodia.
Dealing with the past can also be a productive force for change in today’s society. Against this background, the project wants to encourage young Cambodians to reflect on the origins of totalitarianism and consequences of the conflict, and how they fuel protracted abuse today. Thus, the project does not exclusively focus on atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge but also deals with human rights violations in society today.
NICO MESTERHARM (Meta House): “For the first time in Cambodia, theatre in schools is used as an educational tool. It is widely understood, that the arts have the ability to create change and impact lives. Arts integration fuels creative thinking, and research shows that students are more fully engaged in learning when the arts are used as teaching tools.