Le Tonle training guesthouse and restaurant is a social enterprise project of the 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 the 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 gives them general knowledge, which will enable them to take careers as one of the country's human resources. This will help solve the human development program in Cambodia and lift the poverty rate in the future. According to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) from 2018, thirty-five percent of Cambodians are living in poverty, especially in the countryside.
- Our 8-month training program
Le Tonle's training program is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia under the National Committees of Tourism Professionals as a 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 report
Cambodia announced to reopening of its Tourism
The Cambodian government has announced the opening of tourism as a pre-pandemic. This means tourists are allowed to get into Cambodia without restriction. Since the announcement was made, we saw a few tourists walking around the small area of Kratie. However, this recovery was less than 5% which was not good enough for the tourism business in the town to re-start as well as Le Tonle. At the same time, all of the community-based ecotourism sites that worked with us and our mother NGO CRDT reopened their village for visitors to visit.
The team was spending time conducting solid waste management research in the town of Kratie under the support of TAF Cambodia. The survey was conducted on 120 households and 30 businesses from 5 Sangkats in Kratie Town to find out the amount of solid waste generation, plastic waste generation, and waste flow. The amount of solid waste generated by each HH on average was around 2.55kg per day (estimated by the household). However, the amount of actual waste generated weighted by the enumerator was 1.5kg on average per household per day. 0.5kg of the waste was plastic waste, styrofoam, and other plastic.
The team also conducted one workshop on research data validation and gained more input on the research data. The workshop involved local authorities such as the city vice governor, department of transport, department of environment, waste collection company, and many other stakeholders.
At the community level, the team conducted two community meetings. One at Koh Preah community to provide advice on the management of camping tents and bicycles. While at Koh Tnoat the meeting was concentrated on preparation for the tourist group's arrival. We had sent two groups of tourists to visit these local communities. They were local tourists from Phnom Penh. Income generated to the local community was 3,240.00 USD from these two tour groups.
Regarding the graduated training, we found not much change to the employment rate. Some of them got jobs in different sectors but they are happy working in those sectors. Some switch from working to start their small businesses such as food vendors and grocery stores. There are still a lot of them who remain unemployed.
Le Tonle is reopening in October 2022. This is a definite plan set out by the management team. We have currently identified a new location for re-starting and preparing a contract (the old building was taken back by the owner). Our next step is moving the materials into a new building. Again, one of our trainers successfully conducted in-house training for a group of tourism employees from businesses in Kratie Town under the program of HOKA.
Our current biggest challenges
- The small number of tourists arriving in Kratie Town will not help much for Le Tonle to resume its whole operation. At the same time re-opening Le Tonle requires some start-up investment in a new building such as decoration and renovation.