What we do

Transforming Lives

In December 2011 we opened the HAVEN Training Restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia. HAVEN is a refuge and training place for disadvantaged and vulnerable young adults.

Our focus is specifically set on young adults who’s time has come to leave the organisation that supported them during their childhood and teens.

Acting as a steppingstone from institution to an independent life, HAVEN takes in these young people and teaches them quality work and life skills, empowering them to take care of themselves and their future families.

In 2017 we built our own bakery to expand the professional training of the trainees and to generate even more apprenticeship places.

Before starting their apprenticeship, the trainees decide whether to train as a chef (including bakery) or as a server. The program lasts a total of 16 months, 12 months of which are completed at HAVEN, followed by a 4 months internship at one of our partner hotels or restaurants. 

Dual-system vocational training
(restaurant, bakery, school)

Our training program is based on the Swiss apprenticeship system, a dual model with on-the-job practical training supplemented by theoretical classes, that we have adapted to the needs in Cambodia.

As there are no public vocational schools in Cambodia, HAVEN covers both: with the restaurant as a training facility and a small school, which we have built behind the restaurant, for the theoretical part. 

The practical training takes place in the kitchen and in the restaurant and bar, under the guidance of professional chefs and experienced staff. The theory is taught according to the curriculum by dedicated teachers from the respective departments (with subjects such as hygiene, allergies, work safety, etc.) and is supplemented with English and computer lessons.

In addition to quality training, food, health care and protected housing, our trainees also receive a market-oriented apprentice’s salary as personal pocket money. Furthermore, we open a personal bank account for each apprentice, where his or her share of the tips is saved. This account is the starting capital for the new life after completion of the apprenticeship. 

Personal development
(Life Skills)

In addition to the practical and theoretical vocational training, our program also includes workshops that support our trainees in their personal development. These workshops cover topics such as critical and creative thinking, conflict management, time management, personal hygiene and health care, alcohol and drug abuse, internet safety, women’s rights and human rights, and financial literacy and planning.

Protected housing
(Trainee House)

During their training our apprentices become a part of our HAVEN Family. They live with our ‘housemother’ (a single mother) and her two children in a house not far from the restaurant. This creates a family atmosphere which enables us to provide holistic care for our apprentices. 

Accommodation, meals, medical care etc. are part of the training package and are free of charge for the apprentices. This allows us to give them the necessary security so that they can concentrate on the training without having to worry about where to sleep or what to eat. 

Job placement
(Internship and after)

After 12 months, the apprentices finish their training at HAVEN and move on to their internships in the various 4-5 star hotels in Siem Reap. The internship is designed as a transition period to allow graduates to gradually break away from HAVEN while getting used to new working environments, colleagues and procedures. During this accompanied transition, the self-confidence of the apprentices is once again massively strengthened.

Before they start their internship, we run workshops where they learn all about their employment rights, how to look for and apply for a job, how to write a CV, prepare for an interview and conduct the interview, and how to settle in to a new workplace.

During the internship, the apprentices still live in the Trainee House (together with the trainees who by then have started the new training year) and are still under our care. In this way we can ensure that they still have a home to go back to and feel a sense of belonging for as long as they need to. 

After the internship, some graduates are hired directly by the company (this depends on their vacancies), while we coach the others until they find a new position (which usually happens within the first week).

100% of our graduates have good jobs after completing their program at HAVEN.