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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vocational training a key to fighting the poverty cycle

Vocational training a key to fighting the poverty cycle


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FROM misery to a job. A slogan, and a very apt one, but the words mean much more, for they embody in a short sentence the amazing dedication, mission and accomplishments of a French non-profit NGO that, since 1996, has focused on the children of Cambodia.

Since that time, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), created in March, 1993, has made its focus children working and living in precarious conditions in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, providing education and vocational training among many other highly specialised and innovative programs.

Maintaining its motto, its slogan, the growth of PSE and its work is an amazing story which now sees over 1500 students currently studying 18 separate skills in seven professional schools.

And the numbers of former students are even higher, above 2000, working throughout Cambodia in many valuable trades and professions for businesses and companies as highly valued members of staff.

This is the result of PSEs collaboration with, and continuous support from, companies such as hotels, restaurants, trading companies, NGOs and other institutions that trust the quality of their training and the professional attitude of their students now successfully in the workplace.

It all began with meals on a dump site, so the children would no longer have to search for food there, and with urgent first aid. Then came the school, foll-owed by vocational training.

In 2002, PSE created its first vocational school under the name of “Vocational Training Centre”, constantly updating its programs and tightly relating them to today’s job market.

In 2002, it created hairdressing and spa training based on practice in a professional work situation and a Hotel School to accommodate the needs of the rapid development of the Kingdom’s tourist industry.

In 2004, an Agricultural School combining gardening and landscaping maintenance  with more than 80 per cent of the students time in the practical field and with garden and plant nurseries.

The following year, PSE began a Home and Food Management School, a Construction School in 2007 and others including a Business School.

Then, in March this year, another major step forward was made when the NGO received official accreditation by the Royal Government of Cambodia for its very new PSE Institute.

Under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, PSE Institute received the authorisation to provide its students four levels of official vocational degrees --- a Certificate for specific skills and professions; Technical and Vocational Diploma; Advanced Technical and Specialised Diploma, equivalent to 80 university credits; and the Engineering and Bachelor Degree, equivalent to 160 university credits.

The PSE Institute follows the vision and commitment of PSE, focusing on education for Cambodia’s sustainable development and for the improvement of the livelihood of the poorest Cambodian families.

By giving the chance to many companies to recruit highly qualified and experienced staff, the PSE Institute becomes a close partner of Cambodian’s business sector and an essential player in its growth and quality.

Supported by prestigious partners such as the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne (Switzerland), the ESSEC Business School (France), or Norauto (France) among others, the PSE Institute provides the most specialised training in its domains, for the good of the children and their families.

With more than 2000 alumni, the Association for Supporting Alumni of PSE (www.asap-pse.org) is an active network of former students who, since 2004, have been working in many valuable companies throughout Cambodia.

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