Bodhi Tree Grants

Cambodian Living Arts

Powering change through music, the Cambodian Living Arts program was created by Arn Chorn-Pond, a Cambodian-American refugee, in order to support the music teachers who helped him survive the Khmer Rouge and to prevent local art forms from disappearing. Almost 90 percent of Cambodia’s artists and musicians were wiped out during the Khmer Rouge, nearly destroying these aspects of local heritage. Chorn-Pond developed the program in 1998.
Today it has expanded from a small group of students and four master artists to over 16 master artists and 11 assistant teachers. These mentors have worked with over 1,000 students in eight provinces. In addition to an arts education, CLA provides other life skills, including English classes and computer skills. The Teaching Program is supported by a scholarship program, ensuring that those students showing an aptitude for the arts are able to also maintain an academic background to ensure long-term success. In order to improve the program, CLA hosts an annual retreat where the masters can discuss and learn from each other.

The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that works to mobilize travelers and the tourism industry to support underserved communities, has teamed up with Luxury Travel Advisor to launch the inaugural “Travel Powers Change” grant. Organizations that make an impact on our planet and its places, protecting cultural heritage and helping people in need were all invited to apply. The foundation has awarded three grants to organizations that have been leaders in these missions. Past grants have included helping to rebuild schools in Haiti and protecting the endangered black rhino in the Ngorongoro Crater.

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There are several sub-programs, including a Community Outreach and Performing Program. The Community Outreach program provides arts education in various communities such as orphanages, schools, poor communities and pagodas. The Performing Program gives CLA students and artists the ability to showcase skills through performance models such as The Children of Bassac troupe. This is a group of 28 dancers from Phnom Penh’s slum Bassac community. Each week they perform a range of traditional and folk dances in one of Cambodia’s top tourist attractions–the National Museum.
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
Working to preserve the ecosystems and biodiversity of Kenya’s Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) had developed a model of community-based conservation programs designed to improve healthcare and education for local communities. The MWCT works collaboratively with conservationists, Maasai leaders and Campi ya Kanzi, an ecotourism safari lodge. As partners, these groups demonstrate the benefits of sustainable management of natural resources.
The ecosystems of East Africa, along with the culture of the Maasai, face threats to long-term survival. MWCT is devoted to demonstrating that the Maasai community can continue to flourish with the correct management of the ecosystem in which it lives.
The efforts are focused on the communities in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. MWCT funds and operates programs that work to lease payments for conservancy zones, carbon credits, watershed protection, sustainable ecotourism, wildlife monitoring and security and more.
MWCT works with both internal professionals and external partnerships in order to monitor its programs. Its conservation efforts are spearheaded by Co-Directors Nerissa Chao and Julian Easton, who have worked extensively with conservation efforts in Africa. They oversee research and local capacity building/training programs, as well.
Southern Environmental Association
Some of Belize’s greatest assets are its natural and cultural resources. The Southern Belize Reef Complex, for example, is home to unique faros, important spawning aggregation sites and coral islands. Local communities are seeking to maintain their cultural values and their links with the marine environment while dealing with a struggling global economy and natural forces, such as climate change.
Southern Environmental Association, a community-driven NGO, backs the need for communities to preserve these natural resources. The community initiative has a strong foundation and link to these local areas. With collaborative management, community involvement and strategic partnership, SEA works to improve the environmental integrity of these key marine areas in Southern Belize.
The overall goal of the project is to strengthen marine conservation by implementing adaptive management strategies and build economic solvency within the Southern Belize Reef Complex. The Bodhi Tree Foundation has partnered with The Spirit of Big Five Foundation with matching funds for this particular charity.

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