«Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.»
Following this philosophy, we are dedicated to the consistent development of young adults in Cambodia. Specifically young adults coming from shelters and poor rural areas, who grew up with the support and donations of organisations, but have to leave the program once they come of age.
At our HAVEN Training Restaurant in Siem Reap we take in these young people as cook or waiter trainees. We teach them quality work and life skills and empower them by preparing them for employment. Furthermore we help them in their personal development, creating safe and independent futures. During their training year, HAVEN also provides their trainees with protected housing, food and medical care.
Why young adults from organisations?
In Cambodia, there are countless organisations that care for children. From children shelters to outreach programs that support families in poor rural areas, making sure they can stay together (instead of sending the children to orphanages). But if the funding is stopped or the children come of age and no longer receive financial support, what happens then?
In 2008, when Sara and Paul visited Cambodia the first time, they learned that many young people who grow up in orphanages or other institutions outside of a family unit, lose contact with their communities and thus also part of their cultural identity. When they reach the age at which they have to leave the organisation, they often feel lost and usually do not know where to turn to or what to do. This denies them any perspective of a hopeful future.
The same lack of prospects also concerns the youth in rural areas. Many of these children grow up in extreme poverty. They lack social infrastructure, they lack school education and thus lack professional opportunities. In order to support their families, many children and young people accept poorly paid jobs under unworthy conditions and without any prospect of ever being able to escape this situation.
Today these are still pressing issues, but there are more and more organisations that take good care of the kids and prepare them for life after the organisation. Some of these organisations can even afford to get their young adults through university, which is great!
But not everyone wants to study and there are still many young people who drop out of school for various reasons. Without a degree, however, it is very difficult for them to find a good and fair job. This too is a situation where we can help.
It is Dragonfly’s aim to help disadvantaged young people to find their way into a secure future, where they can master their lives independently.