Author: TinyToones

Tiny Toones named one of 7 best charities in Cambodia

Good news is rare these days, but here’s some – the Huffington Post names Tiny Toones as one of the top 7 charities doing great work in Cambodia, in a newly updated feature.

The piece recognises the fact that a very tiny number of NGOs in Cambodia have unfortunately brought others into disrepute, through dishonest practices. Tiny Toones has always believed in the importance of honesty, transparency and financial responsibility – for one thing, it’s the only way to keep the trust of your supporters in the long term.

That’s why we are so proud to be recognised by the Huffington Post as honest, ethical and effective. We love this description of our work: “Tiny Toones is a homegrown organization in Phnom Penh, the capital, that rescues kids from the streets, pulling them away from violence, gangs, and drugs and instead offering them music, breakdancing, and a solid education.”

If you want to support our ongoing work, we appreciate every single cent. You can donate or read more right here. Thanks Huffington Post, and all our supporters.

Tiny Toones in the spotlight – new in-depth documentary

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, the chance to share a fascinating in-depth documentary with you. Producer Loh Kok Hong and presenter Fadli Kamsani came to Phnom Penh, and spent a lot of time getting to know Tiny Toones. The result is this amazing piece of work we feel really captures what we are all about.

The documentary was recently fetured on Singapore TV, but we’re now releasing it in Cambodia for the first time. It features amazing dancing, behind the scenes footage, and lengthy interviews with founder KK and teacher/ dancer Slick. It’s got a lot of heart and a lot of energy, which is also the magic formula behind Tiny Toones.

You’ll see what fun the kids have at Tiny Toones, but also how happy they are to get a chance at an education, and just how profoundly that can turn their lives around. You’ll see Slick’s journey from despair to hope, but you should know that hundreds of our kids take that same journey.

We do need your support to make this happen. Every year funding is a battle for us, and 2018 is shaping up to be the same. Remember, just $10 will pay one of our teachers for a day, while $30 will pay for a child’s entire education for a month, in dance and more traditional subjects. Where else can you get value like that? If you can afford to donate, please go here – we’d be really grateful.

If you simply can’t afford to give right now, we totally understand, but do go to our Facebook and follow us so you can keep hearing our stories. In the meantime, hit play and enjoy the show.

Tiny Toones on TV!

“Meeting the students of Tiny Toones convinced me that all the hardships only make these young people better, stronger and kinder in life. Almost everyone has a compelling story to share, almost every one of them was worthy of a documentary. And the talents in these young people were just mind-blowing – our crew had a blast just filming all of them breakdancing.” Loh Kok Hong, TV producer and director.

One of the best things about being an NGO working in the creative arts is that it brings us together with other creative people from across the world. Loh Kok Hong is one of those people, responsible for a fantastic half hour documentary which recently aired on Singaporean TV, and which we’ll be showing in full on our website very soon. We’re not a big wealthy NGO able to pay for marketing or fundraising staff, so having friends like Kok Hong is crucial to helping us get the word out and raise money we urgently need.

The documentary was the first in a series about social activists around Asia. Loh Kok Hong and his presenter Fadli Kamsani came to Phnom Penh, spoke to KK about how Tiny Toones was born, and showed B Boy Slick’s extraordinary journey from homelessness and drug addiction to a career as an international performer and teacher. We spoke to Loh Kok Hong about why he filmed Tiny Toones.

“When we conceptualised the social documentary series we wanted to profile inspiring individuals using creative solutions to tackle social issues in Asia. KK and Tiny Toones easily came to mind because of the use of hip hop and breakdancing for the street children. KK was very well known in the international media so he’s always been on our radar.”

Nor did meeting the Tiny Toones crew in the flesh disappoint him. “I found KK and the young people of Tiny Toones highly inspiring. The talents, and the character strengths in these young people are compelling – they didn’t go through hardships for nothing. They are now looking at a brighter future ahead because of the confidence and strengths that they gained through the years of perfecting their breakdancing.”

Loh Kok Hong hopes that people will be inspired by watching the show. “Our series finished airing on Singapore TV Channel in January. Whoever watched it, including the channel heads, my bosses, my colleagues and my own family, have responded very well to the story. Our mission has been achieved – we succeeded in sharing with the viewers and our friends that these Cambodians are truly amazing people, and now I only hope to come back to film more!”

Thank you Loh Kok Hong, you will always be very welcome at Tiny Toones.

Please check our Facebook over the next week, when we’ll be airing some excerpts before featuring the full documentary on our website. If you wish to support our work with a donation or learn more go here.

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018

2017 is almost over and that means it’s time for us to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. That might mean checking in on this website, spreading the word about our work via Facebook, or donating.

As anyone who has visited us will know, we are a very small NGO with a small budget and a small team, but there’s nothing small about our work. Every day around a hundred kids come through our door, kids who have been driven by extreme poverty to either work from a young age or dragged towards a life of gangs, drugs and crime. At our center, they find sanctuary and schooling.

Because of individual donors we were able to pay our rent and our teachers and keep offering these lifeline services to some of Cambodia’s most disadvantaged kids.

If you donated, this is what your money meant to these children. We were able to help around 1,500 kids in 2017. Around two new students joined us every week, 90% of students attended every day, and 92% said they now felt motivated to learn, often for the first time in their lives. Even more importantly, 61% were also going to public school every day, meaning they are on track to a full education and the possibility of a bright future.

We’re talking about kids like 11 year old Lan, whose desperately poor family had been driven out of their countryside home when she was 8. She spent the next 3 years in Phnom Penh’s slums, being rejected by NGOs her family asked to educate her. On 18th October she arrived at Tiny Toones for her first day at school and began learning. “Thank you for allowing me to study,” she said in that first week. “I don’t want to leave.” Not only is she still with us, but she’s one of 384 children receiving support and counselling through our peer mentoring programme, kids who’ve been through terrible trauma or still face appalling family circumstances.

Which brings us to 2018. In the coming year we want to reach more kids, and improve the education we offer to them. We want to increase the number who feel able to return to public school, and see more students go on to university.

If you can help us again over the next year we’d be incredibly grateful. We’ve just launched our new fundraising drive for 2018. Just $10 pays an inspiring teacher for a whole day. $30 provides a whole month of education, including dance, to one of our kids. Starting the year with a good fundraising drive will free up our small team’s time to focus on improving the lives of these kids rather than fighting for every cent. You can find out more about our plans at US readers, remember: donations made before 31st December are tax deductible!

But if you aren’t in a financial position to support us again, we completely understand. The most important thing we want you to know is that your support in 2017 really made a difference, and that we are very grateful for it.

A very happy 2018 to you, you deserve it.

KK’s Christmas Wish

“No, it’s not about breakdancing, man, its not about rapping. Its being part of a community which makes these kids happy, keeps them away from the street, and from drugs and gangs.”

That’s what I say in this film, and its true. If you want to understand what makes Tiny Toones different, why hundreds of Cambodian kids from the toughest backgrounds come to us for a safe place where they are cared for and get the only education they can, then please watch. And then please think about donating to keep us going in 2018.

I want to give a shout out to everyone who helped us in 2017, on behalf of me, the team and the kids. But as the film shows, raising money is very tough every year. We’re a small crew, just 5 teachers and 6 staff. That means our costs are a fraction of most NGOs, but it also means we can’t pay professional fundraisers. The team has to fight for every cent, and it takes up a lot of time and energy we’d prefer to give to the kids.

We made it in 2017, but only just. My Christmas wish would be for 2018 to be easier, so the team can focus on doing more to improve these kids’ futures, giving them the education they need to leave poverty and the streets behind for good. We need you to do that. Please donate this December. If you don’t have much, but want to sign up for just a few dollars a month, we appreciate that as much as any big cheque (though we’re not saying no to big cheques!).

To learn more about why we need $35,000 and exactly how your money will change these kids’ lives please go here. Americans, don’t forget that donations made before the end of December are tax deductible. If you can’t donate, please share this post or send it to your friends. Happy holidays everyone.


KK, founder, Tiny Toones

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