Tiny Toones uses break-dancing and the culture of hip-hop to engage, inspire and educate young people from some of Cambodia’s most impoverished neighbourhoods.
In 2005 the organisation’s founder (“KK”) began teaching break-dancing to kids he had seen working or living on the streets and involved in anti-social behaviour and drugs. Break-dancing– and the support and encouragement of KK – provided them with focus, motivation and confidence and helped them transform their lives.
Hip-hop is very popular among Cambodian youth and Tiny Toones Creative Program now offers classes in rapping, beat-making, DJing and graffiti art in addition to break-dancing. Over 200 children come to Tiny Toones center every day.
The program coordinator and teachers are themselves ex-Tiny Toones students who have demonstrated both talent and an ability to lead others in their development. As they share similar backgrounds to the children they work with they are uniquely well placed to build strong relationships and act as positive role models.
Throughout the Creative Program you can see the confidence and enthusiasm that come from self-expression and growing as an artist. The achievements – including international tours and televised performances – show the younger generation what can be achieved with commitment and dedication.
Break-dancing is still the heart of Tiny Toones work. Break-dancing is physically and mentally demanding. It promotes active lifestyles, inner-strength and a sense of achievement and self-worth. Our students become part of the Tiny Toones community and our dancers perform throughout Cambodia and beyond. Their achievements are an inspiration while their personal growth shows how access to education can change lives.
The music department has grown year-on-year and now holds classes in Djing, rapping, lyric writing and music production. Tiny Toones music students launched their latest album in 2011 at an event that brought together the full array of Tiny Toones arts – dance, music and visual – and also produced two new music videos (both viewable in the video section).
March 2011: Tiny Toones ‘Generation Z’ album launch at Meta House, Phnom Penh.
Art classes are held twice a day at the main Tiny Toones center and are immensely popular with children of all ages. They incorporate graffiti art – and Tiny Toones center walls act as one big canvas – as well as painting and drawing. Tiny Toones t-shirts and merchandise designs, as well as our album artwork, all come from the art classroom.