Women on a Mission. Ratha set on the porch of her house in a floating village just west of Siem Reap. He father was a fisherman and her mom, despite poor health, tended her home and cared for he six younger children…
She was feeling great about being home for awhile before heading back to work at a five-star hotel in Siem Reap. As she contemplated her life and how good it was, she smiled. “I’ll never forget the day father agreed to let me go to study at Sala Baï… Mama was so sad to see me go, but both Papa and her knew in their hearts such an opportunity was rare. It was a dream come true for our family,” she reminisced.
Ratha was one of the students at the Women On A Mission (WOAM) team that we met on our bike tour of Cambodia. She was one of the lucky students to graduate from Sala Baï’ — a hotel and restaurant school that was launched in 2002 by the French NGO ‘Agir pour le Cambodge’. Since its launch, the school has seen more than 1,300 students graduate and each student has been employed within four weeks of graduation. During their free 11-month course, the students study English, French, labour laws and technical skills for their chosen speciality. Students can study catering, tourism, front of house and the school has just launched beauty therapy. With their new skill set, each student is then able to earn around three or four times their average household monthly income, which means the lives of these young adults and their families are changed forever.
Ratha is now able to help finance the same school for her little siblings as well as buy her mother’s precious medicine. There are other stories like the one of Ratha’s journey. They are stories of other Sala Baï students, ones that are heart-warming and sometimes heart wrenching.
Such stories should remind us that education can change lives and give people from underprivileged backgrounds a much brighter future. In Cambodia where the primary school dropout rate is nearly 40 per cent, Sala Baï is impacting the local community and making a difference.
To read the entire article about Women on a Mission, click the link below.