Le Tonle training guesthouse and restaurant is a social enterprise project of Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT), a non-profit NGO in Cambodia). Le Tonle Training Guesthouse and Restaurant aims to provide free theoretical and practical training to young disadvantaged Cambodians in the area of tourism and hospitality such as front office, housekeeping, cooking and hospitality. By providing these skills in short term, vulnerable youths are able to obtain varied and worthwhile careers, and are able to live by themselves independently and support their family by sending some of their earnings back home. In the long term, the training is providing an opportunity for youth to develop themselves further in tourism professions and giving them general knowledge, which will enable them to take careers as one of the country's human resource. This will help solve the human development program of Cambodia and lift the poverty rate in the future. According to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) from 2018, thirty-five per cent of Cambodians are living in poverty, especially in the countryside.
Our 8-month training program
Le Tonle training program is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia under the National Committees of Tourism Professional as vocational certificate. Trainees are trained by our experienced trainers, many of whom were our graduates from 2008. Most of the training periods are focused on practicing and interacting with the tourism industry by supporting trainees to develop generic competencies such as computer skills and English proficiency.
Progress reportFighting through the pandemic was taught
Since March 2020 when the outbreak of Covid-19 reached to Cambodia, our training center had closed. Action was taken to keep everyone safe and prevent further spread of the virus. 80% of our team had to leave due to there was no funding. These included trainers and staffs at our practicing guesthouse and restaurant. There are very few team members remaining in place to keep the project alive and hopefully till the end of the Covid-19 and receive fund to continue our work. This team called the standby team some of them are working full time while some are working full time. The expenses of the utility renting is ongoing (40% discount by the owner) and the salary for the standby team are still applying as they are working on training program development, mentoring the previous trainees and those who had lost their job, finding job opportunity and working proposal development for funding opportunity. We were struggling in seeking for grant to support the utility and the standby team. Below were actions taken by us to solve this problem.
1- We proposed six proposals to relevant partners asking for help during the pandemic with the value of 30,000.00 USD totally. Unfortunately, only two of our proposed succeed with the value of 3,000.00 USD. Among these two one was GlobalGiving.
2- Recently, we had just summitted another proposal to our last year donor who supported us on the training program. However, the proposal was not shortlisted.
3- We decided to re-open our guesthouse in July to accommodation expat and Cambodian traveler. Sadly, there were not many tourists visiting to the town.
Till today 90% of previous trainees had lost their job in tourism due to industry close down. Most of them return home to help their family in agriculture while some are trying to find job in a different industry such as technology store, local restaurant and factory.
Response to COVID-19
Below are our method responding to Covid-19 at the moment:
o Conduct on going meetings and update on personal hygiene to trainee and working team.
o Double the hygiene management regarding Le Tonle guesthouse and café
Our current biggest challenges
Not sure if the center can survive till the situation back to normal and the team kind of running out of option to try.