On 1 September 2019, it was back-to-school for Class 18 at Sala Baï, a change of life for these 150 young people. Within a year, they will have acquired the skills of the hotel and catering professions: Front Office, Cooking, Restaurant, Housekeeping and Beauty Therapy. For these students, this year promises to be rich in discoveries.
Students will alternate between learning in the classroom and hands-on experience in the teaching hotel and restaurant plus internships at our partner hotels. A first approach to the professional world for these students who all come from extremely poor backgrounds.
Emotions were running high at the start of this new life. Here’s what some students had to say:
“I come from Sisophon in Banteay Meanchey province where I was part of the Enfants du Mékong NGO. I was scared when I arrived at Sala Baï because I only knew one person in the class. Now it’s better because I have lots of new friends.”
Sreynich Van, Restaurant.
“I come from the association Le Tonlé in Kratie. When I came to Sala Bai I was scared because I didn’t know anyone and because it was the first time I’d been to Siem Reap Now, it’s a lot better because I’ve got to know my classmates in the Beauty Therapy department better. I also really enjoyed the introductory games we played in the gardens where we all got to know each other and the Angkor Wat outing which enabled me to meet other students in the class.”
Dok Thavry, Care and Beauty.
Class 18 in a few figures
A promising context
The new class started the year in a promising context. Of the 150 students from Class 17 who graduated at the end of July 2019, 149 have found a job in the field of tourism. The 150th student was unable to pursue his plans for family reasons.
These outstanding results attest to the correspondence of the training provided at Sala Baï to market needs and its recognition by the hotel sector. On 19 September 2019, as a member of the ASSET – H&C network, the school received an award from the Pacific Asia Travel Association: the PATA Award 2019 for Education and Training.
Support throughout the year
But Sala Bai is more than a professional training course. The school provides real personal support. For example, thanks to our partnership with the Cambodian NGO The Lake Clinic, all students are offered a medical consultation. They meet a doctor, a nurse and an ophthalmologist who draw up a health card and refer them to other practitioners if they have any health issues. Medical care, along with housing, food, uniforms and supplies are all taken care of by Agir pour le Cambodge.