Battambang is home to Phare Ponleu Selpak, a well known NGO which gives youths from deprived backgrounds the opportunity to channel their energies into learning circus skills such as juggling, clowning and acrobatics whilst raising awareness of issues such as HIV/AIDS, landmines and child rights. It started back in 1986 in the refugee camps on the Thai border with simple drawing workshops. The experiment continued after the refugees returned to their homelands in Battambang and Phare Ponleu Selpak now has a worldwide reputation. Performances in the big top are held on Thursday evenings but also at other times. Well worth a visit, other activities also include traditional schooling, drawing, music, dressmaking and a community leisure centre.