Babel Educational Program is a program set up to empower the local staff at Babel Guesthouse by education! We strongly believe that knowledge is the key!
– the key to get out of powerty, the key to a better life!
Contributing to the local community plays a central role within Babel’s company values. We constantly seek to provide benefits from the tourism industry to the local community in Siem Reap, and we are doing our best to cause as little damage as possible to the area in which we operate. We are proud members of ChildSafe International, and our staff has been trained in Child Safe policies by Friends International. We are also proud members of ConCERT, and our staff has also been trained in responsible tourism behaviour by them.
The first step in this program, was an Educational Staff trip – so that the staff could learn more about their own country. In November 2011, in connection with The World Responsible Tourism Day, we took all our staff out of Babel Guesthouse to visit Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia. We took a 6 hour boat trip to get there. The main attractions on the trip was the legendary “bamboo train” and the killing caves of Phnom Sampeau. Most of the staff had never been out of the Siem Reap province, so this visit to a different city in Cambodia gave them educational experience about their country and its history, and it also gave them experience in how it is like to be a tourist. We stayed in a Hotel – for the first time for most of the staff. The most exciting thing about this stay in the hotel, was the elevator 🙂 But whats also important – this trip was great teambuilding! We had great fun! The trip got us even closer together, and gave us even more motivation to do an even better job in Babel when we got back.
We are so lucky to have a bunch of Norwegian students living in Babel Guesthouse three months every year. The group of 2011 ran Babel Guesthouse the two days we were away.
Every year Babel Guesthouse is HOME for groups of Norwegian Tourism Students from Globalstudies – a Norwegian registered Shareholder Company founded by the directors of Babel Guesthouse.
In cooperation with the Norwegian School of Hotel Management (the University of Stavanger), Globalstudies offers Tourism students the chance to take part of their Bachelor degree in Siem Reap, and specialize in Responsible Tourism. By taking a part of their studies in Siem Reap, a city with many well-established Responsible Tourism operators, they get a wider understanding of their studies. By visiting such operators, and by contributing to the local society themselves next to their studies, for example by helping us in the work with Babel Educational Program, the students learn by doing – not just learn by reading.
English classes in Babel
For a Cambodian, its rare to finish even Primary school. There are many reasons for that. For example, Cambodian teachers get very low salaries (40 usd a month is normal), so teachers often require extra money from the pupils in connection with tests and exams. Many families cant afford to send their children to school, as they simply cannot pay these fees. Also, most Cambodians are farmers. It requires a lot of work to be a farmer, and parents need their childrens help out on the fields. Especially girls are taken out of school to help their parents in their homeland.
Many of the girls in Babel had almost no schooling, and many couldnt speak english. So, in January 2012 we started english classes in Babel. The girls are having classes every thursday and friday every week, with khmer teacher Miss Sophoan Dam. Here she is (number three from the right) with some of the girls in her class. In the picture they are thanking their first sponsor, John-Daniel Solhaug (“Papa”).
Five of the girls now has started english schooling on a higher level, in one of the best english schools in Siem Reap, Australian Centre for Education, (ACE-school). We hope we will be able to send all of the girls to this school eventually.
Build Bright University
We are very happy to be able to send seven of our staff to start a Bachelor Degree in Build Bright University fall 2012. Updates will follow 🙂