The Trailblazer Foundation is focused on helping impoverished rural villages in the Siem Reap Province. They work at the grass-roots level, working deep within the rich cultural fabric of the community. Villages are selected based on their level of interest in working with the foundation. Existing administrative structures, such as the village chief and village elders manage project planning. Trailblazer asks which specific needs are considered greatest priority to encourage the villagers to take an active role in designing and implementing their own solutions.
The Traiblazer location we visited, is responsible for building and distributing wells and sandfilters for clean water and educating farmers on growing Western fruit and vegetables. They can then sell the fruits and vegetables they have grown to the local international hotels which achieve higher prices at for them at market.
The sandfilters provide all year access to clean drinking water for 1 family, for a minimum of 7 years. The impact of clean drinking water is huge. It provides better health, better nutrition, helps their crops grow better which in turn gives them a sustainable income.
Trailblazer also provides vital training on their maintanence and general health and hygiene advice. The wells and sandfilters are not given for free. The communities and families have to pay a very small amount of money (2,50$ for a filter / 5$ for a well), which is deposited in a village fund. Money from the funds can be used by the communities for other projects, like buliding streets etc.
The materials used for the sandfilters are all from in the country and will be assembled in the villager’s house for them to understand how it works. They will also teach basic sanitazion and hygiene standards to prevent diseases. All of us got our hands dirty and helped sieving and cleaning the sand.
The second projects Trailblazer is focusing on is gardening.
They have test gardens for different vergetables, all organic with no use of chemicals. Trailblazer is teaching the farmers how to grow the vegetables that are in high demand to sell to the tourism market. The farmers can get higher prices for those vegetables.
Impact of the tour: Everyone has provided 7 years access to pure, live-saving clean water for a family
Sala Bai Hotel & Restaurant school
We had a lovely and very delicious lunch at the Sala Bai restaurant. Sala Bai is a Hotel and Restaurant School, which gives vocational training to around 120 young disadvantaged Cambodians each year.
They are trained for careers in the growing hospitality industry, enabling them to achieve economic independance and improve the living conditions of their families.
The students must come from disadvataged families and have a minimum educatioinal level of grade 6 and need to be highly motivated. Preference is given to female candidates (70%). The families of each and every applicant is visited to review their backgorund and explain the training. The training lasts for 11 months and is totally free of charge for the students. The scholarship provides school supplies, accomodation, food, bicycles, uniforms and medical coverage.
100% of the graduates are employed within three months after graduation.
Impact of the tour: everyone on the tour has given 3 disadvantaged students vocational training
Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPSA)
PPSA called „The Brightness of the Arts“ is a non-profit Cambodian association improving the lives of children, young adults and their families with art schools, educational programs and social support.
Phare is a Circus project, which uses theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell unique Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. Phare artists are graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO school and professional arts training center in Battambang, Cambodia. They perform nightly professional shows under a 330-person big top, 365 days a year.
We were able to attend their training and sit with the artists to hear their stories.
The show itself was breath-taking and amazing, it told the story of the Kmer Rouge regime using music, dance, painting and acrobatics.
Phare is voted the number 1 show in Siem Reap on tripadvisor.
Impact: everyone on the tour has given 70 hours of performance arts training to young people.