While traveling in Cambodia is easy to see how much of its population still live in poverty and facing very harsh life conditions. But don’t feel bad about traveling here while you see poor people around, tourism industry is for sure a great help to develop the country and provide jobs! But more than that, there is a movement of social enterprises focus on providing great services to travellers while actively working in the support of the local community. From training hotels to social conscious restaurants in Siem Reap or handicraft fair-trade shops, you will have at your disposable various ways to help the local community while enjoying your trip!
In a touristic place such as Siem Reap, the impact of travellers can be huge if their money is going to the right places. So instead of going to typical “business as usual” kind of shops and restaurants, why not venturing to some of the best and trendy social enterprises in town?
If you are looking for a place to stay Sala Bai Hotel is a great choice, and while enjoying your comfy room and service, you can be sure that you are supporting their free training program to local underprivileged students.
For the hungry ones, you will find scattered around the town delicious restaurants that also provide a great impact in the community. New Leaf Eatery donate its profits to local education projects, Haven is a training-restaurant to provide local teens with skills and help them finding jobs in the tourism industry, and the same happens with Marum restaurant. This one is powered by CamboTicket’s NGO partner, Friends-International, who are doing great work with their many socially conscious restaurants in over 5 countries. After eating at Marum don’t forget to pass in their Friends’n’Stuff shop to check out their awesome handicraft accessories and gifts that support their street kids projects. Some of them made with recyclable materials! And if you are into that stuff, have a look as well in the RehashTrash project and their great products made with plastic waste.
If you are looking for great gifts to bring back home to your family and friends, pass as well through shops like Beau Fou Boutique (to support their street kids programs, with a lovely coffee shop called Joe To Go being also part of the project) and Ammo Jewellery, a social enterprise teaching underprivileged people how to make beautiful jewellery with old ammunitions and war-related scrap materials that are still found everywhere in the country (you can find them inside Craft). If you are looking for clothes, Samatoa and their beautiful lotus flower fabrics are a great choice, or the handmade fashion brand SUSU which helps to provide jobs for the women in Kchass village nearby. Stop as well at Silk Screen Printing Lab for some cool tshirts that support their education programs with local people.
If what you are looking for is art, Anacott Artiste gallery sells artworks made by local kids in order to fund their art education program. And if after all this shopping you feel like relaxing and taking care of yourself, Purple Mango will be the place to go, a non-profit wellness center with natural and alternative therapies.
Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Siem Reap and all the ideas of treating yourself in some delicious restaurants or buying nice souvenirs to your family and friends, all this while supporting the local community and help to alleviate poverty in this beautiful country… Have a look on Camboticket website for more info on how to get there!