The Old Hall community will be holding a benefit night on Friday 18th November to raise money for an indigenous tribe in Cambodia. The local green, semi self-sufficient, farming community based in East Bergholt will be holding the ska night in their de-consecrated chapel featuring Colchester’s New Town Kings.

The charity night came about as former resident Tania Heath is currently working in Cambodia with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). Tania, who comes from Bentley, is supporting the Tampuen people who live a hunter and gatherer existence. It is a way of life that has been unchanged for generations but now the tribe is under pressure from land developers. Some of their ancient tribal lands have already been forcibly taken off them with the support of corrupt officials. And they are in constant danger of having more taken off them. The tribe are also fighting to keep the Yeak Loam lake, which they consider sacred, from further unsustainable development. Tania has been working help protect their rights and they now have the support of a top law firm in the Cambodia to help their cause. Tania says “They are desperately trying to keep their lake and land, which is where their food comes from and where their ancestors have hunted and lived for many generations.”

On recent visit home from her VSO placement, Tania gave a presentation to Old Hall residents on the situation in Cambodia. Community members were moved by Tania’s stories and wanted to support these people to continue their ancient ways of life. They came up with the idea putting on the gig as a way of raising funds as well increasing awareness of the pressure indigenous people are under.

Any monies raised will be put in a local fund for the Tampeun people run by the VSO. Tania, who is will be working in the area until at least next April, will be on hand to ensure the money is utilised well. It will help to pay for a translator who speaks the local languages as well Khmer (the national language) and to support a youth group.   Tania says “The money raised will help these people learn new skills to be able to lobby to keep their lands and survive in a world that is changing fast around them.”

The event runs from 8pm until midnight. Tickets cost £5 per person on the door. There will a bar and food will be available.

Further information or to make a donation contact 01206 299380 or see http://oldhall.org.uk