On June 28, Phare, a Cambodian circus troupe, came to Bangladesh for the first time to perform at the 5th Annual Social Business Summit. Apart from the discussions about social business, their performance was one of the highlights of the summit. As Cambodian circus is famous for its acrobats, Phare performed various acrobatic movements in conjunction with Cambodian local and modern drums, to the great amusement of the audience. But Phare isn't all about their mesmerising, awe-inspiring performances.
All the artists in Phare learn their skills through Phare Ponleu Spelak (PPS), a non profit organisation; a school of arts, as they call it. The school concentrates on every art form there is. The organisation focuses on teaching underprivileged and street children of Cambodia. Their organisation teaches up to high school and after the children graduate, they become skilled performers in various art sectors. As they don't take money from the children, the institution is run through donations and social funding. “But for the last couple of years, it has been really hard, so in 2013 we launched our own social business,” says one of the performers. Their social business is exceptional from other businesses of its sort, because what they do is perform everyday at a touristy city near their school so that they can give the artiste a place to work and also people can be entertained. They have collaborated this social business with Grameen Credit- Agricole Foundation.
The Phare circus team has toured all around the world. Just a couple of months ago, they gave a seven-hour circus performance in France. One of the most unique parts of their performances is that they tell a story through their circus act. “We always try to give a social message through our performances, especially to the young generation. What makes Cambodian circus so especial is that we combine a story with the traditional circus moves, making it a proper fusion,” says one of the members. On June 29, the circus team went to Nababganj to teach and perform their acts to the unprivileged children. “We were honoured to teach and perform for them and we saw a lot of potential in them. We think if they get the right training they could be world class performers,” says the circus team.