In November, two members of the Chi Phat CBET Committee were able to travel to Japan to attend a training for young leaders in the tourism industry in Cambodia. The Japan International Cooperation Agency provides aid and support to promote economic and social development in developing countries. Thanks in part to support from Transat and JICA, CBET Deputy Chief, Ms. Min Marnet was able to participate in the JICA training and learn new strategies for improving operations back in Chi Phat. She came back with ideas on how to improve the existing waste management system as well as the development of traditional handicraft enterprises in the village. It’s truly amazing to think how becoming a member of the CBET has transformed her life in only a few short years.
Before joining CBET, Marnet was a student who often had to skip school in order to help her parents harvest rice at their small farm or to collect fruit from the jungle. Her family’s income was $20 per month. Marnet chose to become involved with the CBET because the income her family made on rice farming was not enough. She was unable to continue her studies because she needed to work to help her family. Starting as a mountain bike guide and working her way to CBET Committee Deputy Chief, she now averages $120 per month on her own. Marnet explains, “The CBET controls the forest and wildlife. With my CBET income, I don’t need to go into the forest anymore to collect fruit. I bring more income to the family which means my parents do not need to continue illegal slash-and-burn farming, but have enough income with their small paddy field.” She also recognizes what CBET does for her community at large: “CBET develops the village; it helps people have jobs and get more income; it protects natural resources. Without trees around Chi Phat, the weather will just get hotter and hotter.” Best of all, working at the CBET has provided her opportunities she never would have had otherwise. It allows her to practice English and work to fulfill her dream of one day attending university. It has already allowed her the opportunity to travel to a foreign country. And through this fantastic opportunity, she has been able to increase her knowledge and training and improve the CBET for its visitors and for Chi Phat community members.
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