The newly refurbished Park Hyatt Siem Reap and Life and Hope Association Sewing School opened in Wat Damnak on September 11.
The community sewing school, formerly funded by Hotel de la Paix in partnership with the Life and Hope Association, has supported 189 students since 2006 and will continue to teach professional sewing skills to young, underprivileged local women.
Students attend daily classes during the 10-month courses, with 28 students per course. Accommodation is provided as well as three meals a day, plus a uniform and school materials.
The opening ceremony was attended by 43 students and teachers, 13 Life and Hope Association staff, and eight Park Hyatt Siem Reap staff. After the blessing ceremony Venerable Chhoeun, acting executive director of Life and Hope, and Park Hyatt general manager Franz Mascarenhas unveiled the new logo.
The Venerable Yi Nol thanked Park Hyatt, saying that all the students who have passed through the sewing school have “had success in their lives.”“We changed their lives,” he said. “After they graduate they use their skills to get income to support their salary and their family too.”
He added that a survey carried out on a hundred and sixty girls who had graduated from the school revealed that 66 per cent now had an income of more than $2 a day, thanks to their new skills. Some of them were supplementing working in the fields with their sewing work.Venerable Yi Nol said, “This is really changed from what they had before. Before they had nothing.
”He thanked Park Hyatt staff for giving them hope and for helping to paint and decorate the school and repair the roof.He said, “Park Hyatt Siem Reap gave us big hope for the future to change the life of Cambodia through education, by giving hope to girls from the community.”
Franz Mascarenhas described the sewing as a “worthy project” that he was proud to support.
“From our perspective it is really something worth our while,” he said. “For all these young ladies out there I think it really means life and hope for them when they pass out from the school and they have a skill that they can earn money from, and that they can pass on to others.”
He spoke of his desire to “continue the good work and in fact to enhance the good work that has been done by Hotel de la Paix.”
The sewing school is part of Park Hyatt’s international Thrive program, which Franz described as, “Our recognition as hoteliers that we have to give back to the community, and we have to be part of a community.”