Tiny Toones 10th birthday @ Factory Phnom Penh

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B Boy Slick, former Tiny Toones student turned teacher, shows off his famous headspin. Scott Rotzoll

“When we opened our first community centre 10 years ago, my biggest hope was that maybe one kid might make it, do something big. Now I look at that first generation of kids and see famous musicians, successful businesspeople,” says Tiny Toones founder Tuy Kay-Kay Sobil, reflecting on the NGO’s tenth birthday.

“I was given so many opportunities in my own life after I moved to America. I had free education and good parents. It was my own fault that I messed that up, hung with the wrong crowd. Then when I was deported to Cambodia, I saw that these kids had nothing, not even the good start I had. Everyone was telling them they couldn’t be anything, so what chance did they have?

One of Tiny Toones’ talented female students breakdances in front of her fellow students. Photo: Scott Rotzoll

“It became my dream to be like a big brother. I wanted to help them cross the street, get to the other side of childhood without falling into the same problems I did. You know, when I was a kid I just wanted success and money. But I got over that. Now I want my kids, my own kids and the Tiny Toones kids, to have success.

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“In the future I want Tiny Toones to have a bigger, better facility, to open our doors to the whole community, all the many kids out there who need education, love and support. I want to help more kids get to the other side. Even when I’m gone and everyone else is gone, I hope Tiny Toones will still exist in some ways. I hope education will be better in Cambodia, but even then, I’d still want us to support kids having bad times. I’d want us to be big brothers and sisters. That was our original goal, it’s the most important reason we are here.”

Kay-Kay (founder, wearing red cap) surrounded by the Tiny Toones family of teachers, former students and supporters. Photo: Scott Rotzoll

Tiny Toones celebrated its birthday at Factory Phnom Penh on June 30 with an explosive afternoon of creativity, dance, DJing, live graffiti and performances from some of Cambodia’s most exciting stars like Nikki Nikki, Sang Sok Serey – Rapper, Klapyahandz, Kreative Kingz Cambodia, Khmer Torsue, Kosal Khiev, DJ Cake, DJ Niko Yu, Premo Sounds, DJ Shadow, DJ B-Roc, Kbach Studio Crew, and other special guests.

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