One-2-One Cambodia’s Tough Little Children (TLC) aerobics program, which is funded by CamKids, provides an opportunity for talented young orphans to train in the sport of aerobic gymnastics with the aim of improving their physical fitness and increasing their overall health and wellbeing. Established in 2010, the TLC program is designed for children aged between 8 and 14 years old to have fun while training in aerobics and provides them with an opportunity to participate in the National Gymnastics Championships. During the past six months, the number of children participating in the program has increased from 18 to 30 children.
The children are from a range of orphanages located in Phnom Penh. Over the last year, the Head Coaches have continued to facilitate aerobics classes at each of the orphanages. Each month, a total of 10 classes have been held and, in addition, the 15 most talented children have been invited to attend two extra training sessions held every Saturday and Sunday evening, at the Motion Gym which is a fully equipped aerobics facility with padded floors, ropes, hoops and wall mirrors. The aerobic gymnastics classes are conducted by Srorn and Sarith, two internationally experienced Cambodian aerobics instructors.
In July 2014, the TLC team participated in the National Gymnastics Championships and won a total of 4 silver medals. These achievements are testament to not only the hard work of the children and staff, but also to the overall success of the TLC sports program. At the last TLC training session at Motion Gym, a talented young boy named Peniel, was interviewed.
Peniel is 12 years old and he is in Grade 6. Peniel was born in Kandal province but he lives in an orphanage in Phnom Penh. He has 3 brothers and he is the second child in his family. In 2008 his parents decided to send him and his brothers to live at the orphanage because of his family’s poor living conditions. In 2010, Peniel joined the TLC program and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 Peniel participated in the National Gymnastics Championships and won Bronze and Silver medals. Peniel really enjoys aerobics and has worked hard over the years to become a National Champion.
“I never thought that I would become a champion or a sports man because before I started to train in aerobic gymnastics I was really weak and got sick very often”, Peniel said. However, after a few months of training he increased his strength, flexibility, speed and overall ability to perform gymnastics to a high level. Peniel said, “At first I didn’t like flexibility stretching and dance exercises, but after practicing very hard, I am now able to perform a range of exercises which I enjoy very much.” The instructors are so impressed with Peniel’s dedication and the progress he has made. Peniel also says, “I have improved my strength and skill so much. Before, I found it difficult to play even a simple sport but now I have good health and strength, and have never been sick like I was before. I am so thankful to One-2-One and CamKids for providing me with this opportunity to learn aerobic gymnastics and to improve my health and fitness”.