During the first week of June, Varsha, Hannah, Sanah and myself went on a 5-day trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The intentions of this trip were to fulfil the elements of CAS. Therefore, the primary activities of this trip were service and activity.

LO6: Global Value: Understanding the importance of sustainable service through Project Week

Service:

What we did: Supporting Social Entrepreneurship: Financing various entrepreneurship such as restaurants, museums, circuses, blind organizations, etc. Because the Siem Reap Government is very aware of the detrimental effects of voluntourism, therefore it is encouraged to support social entrepreneurships that have already been established by the government, rather than helping a third-party who cannot be trusted. Therefore, with help from our service department, we were able to come up with various places to support. 

Lunch places:

 

  • Haven

 

      • While enjoying a dish from a special selection of flavourful Asian and Western food – including some Swiss specialities and many fresh vegetarian tidbits – you are supporting the training program and are thereby helping a disadvantaged young adult to achieve a secure and independent future. HAVEN is a non-religious social enterprise and a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults from orphanages and safe shelters, as well as underprivileged young adults from very rural poor areas. By teaching these young people quality work skills as well as important life skills, we support them in their transition from institution to the real world as well as giving them a chance to step out of the poverty cycle.
      • The whole concept of HAVEN is, that the training restaurant is self-sustainable and does not rely on donations. This means that simply by dining here and/or buying our merchandising articles, you are already supporting our training program and securing good and well-paid jobs for our trainees, teachers and employees.

 

  • Sister Srey Cafe

 

      • Sister Srey Cafe is a Social Enterprise, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, run and operated by sisters Lauren and Cassie. The girls opened the business to have “Good Coffee” and also help and support Khmer students and to make a sustainable impact into the community.
      • Their vision at Sister Srey Cafe is to support young Khmer students who struggle to keep a balance between study and supporting their family.

 

  • Marum Restaurant

 

    • This restaurant is based upon a highly successful model of social business which provides not only positive beneficiary impact but also customer satisfaction and enhanced sustainability for the organization.
    • All profits from TREE restaurants (including Marum) are invested in the students who train there and the social programs which support them on their journey to becoming a skilled, productive and happy young person with a more secure future.

 

Places to visit and support by attending:

 

  • Artisan Da’nkor

 

    • Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian social business creating job opportunities for young people in rural areas, while reviving traditional Khmer craftsmanship
  • Cambodian Landmine Museum:
    • At the museum, they focus on educating visitors about the dangers of landmines, where they came from, who laid them, how they work, and their presence in Cambodia. One mine means one life impacted and those odds are still far too high in Cambodia.
      • All the money raised at the Landmine Museum is spent in Cambodia. Your tickets, donations and shop purchases allow us to:
        • pay all the employees fair salaries
        • care for the children in their charge
        • clear landmines in Cambodia
        • build schools in villages that have no access to education
        • build wells and provide hygiene programs in small villages

My reflection on the service aspect:

Personally, I found this service experience to be not as fulfilling as I had hoped. However, something that I am proud of is the fact that we took the time to find the most impactful and sustainable service. I am confident that our service was meaningful to the communities to contribute to, which, in my opinion, matters more than my personal fulfilment. Therefore, overall, I consider our service element a success. Additionally, it was quite an enjoyable experience, too!

 

Activity:

What we did: Trekking to Phnom Kulen, which is where our homestay was. It was a 5 – 6-hour trek from the starting point. The second day, we discovered the project ADF, and immersed ourselves in village life. The last day, we trekked to Srah Sumrei and the waterfalls there. We then visited temples such as Benteay Srie, known as the City of Women, and learnt about the history of Siem Reap. This visit concluded the trekking aspect of our week.

My reflection on the trekking aspect:

Although quite physically vigorous, I learnt a lot of things about the members of my group and myself during our treks. Visiting the temples and living with the locals on the tops of a mountain was very memorable, and I feel lucky to have experienced it with my friends. I began to appreciate how supportive and capable all my friends are, and learnt how to deal with demotivation in not only myself but my group members as well.

 

My overall experience:

My project week experience was very memorable, I enjoyed learning more about Cambodian culture while being completely immersed in it. Although there were many challenges, I learnt and grew a lot during this trip. Being on my own for the first time quite expectedly taught me the importance of organisation and dedication, but also taught me the importance of the support and encouragement from your friends in the face of resilience or hardships.

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Project Week Reflection Post

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