WATCHING their beautiful faces break into wide toothy grins, it is hard to believe the children of Cambodia have so little to smile about.
Squalor and poverty ravage the young lives of many in the country many of us in the west often see only as a tropical paradise.
Donna Cooper and her daughter Sam, from Woodend in Victoria, found more than sandy white beaches on their trip to Cambodia six years ago.
Faced with the harsh reality that is life in that country, they decided to make a change.
Apsara Music Festival organisers hope to give a voice to those in need and to raise much-needed funds for Donna and Sam's charity, The Cambodian Kids Foundation.
Donna's brother Chris Wright, who owns The Terrace Restaurant in Maleny, is the coordinator behind the event to help the foundation.
"It's an opportunity for us as Australians to help and do something great and something long-lasting and sustainable for the future of a country," Mr Wright said.
Apsara is the name of a mythical Cambodian angel and is the perfect representation for the work The Cambodian Kids Foundation does.
"In only six years the Cambodian Kids Foundation, with the help of hundreds of supporters in both Woodend and Maleny, have established 18 fantastic programs such as the Kimyeng Medical Centre, University Scholarships, the Women's Empowered program and One Day Spa and Training College," Mr Wright said.
"But without a doubt the program that will make the biggest positive impact on the Kampong Thom Province is the Soksan International School which has just opened stage one.
"When it is finished it will be the biggest free school in Cambodia with up to 1500 students in a country barren of opportunities.
"This school will surely be an oasis of education and positivity and where Cambodian kids can make their dreams a reality."
The majority of the work the foundation does is in the Kampong Thom Province and Mr Wright hopes Apsara will raise at least $10,000 to put towards the school.
For more, visit cambodiankidsfoundation.org.
WHAT: An all age event featuring Sarah McLeod, Tin Can Radio and Lincoln Mackinnon
WHEN: Sunday, December 9, between 10am and sunset
WHERE: Maleny Botanic Gardens
COST: $20 a person
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