Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Students blossom at Lotus Blanc school

Students blossom at Lotus Blanc school

Students blossom at Lotus Blanc school

SUCCESSFUL PSE graduate Khoeun Sambat, 28, left the Lotus Blanc course in 2005 and has won a chef’s job at Chayyam Resturant, behind Wat Langka in Phnom Penh. He says he was a former scavenger at Stung Meanchey dump too, until he was offered new hope by PSE in 2002.

“I was about 12 when my mother brought me to pick up plastic bags from the dump and wash them to resell on the market. There was an organization camping near the dump that offered food to us children every day, and one day they asked me whether I wanted to study.”

Khoen Sambat attended a general knowledge class for a year and spent two years in the food production class. As soon as he left PSE, he got a job.

“I could never imagine I could become a chef. I used to be a scavenger, eating food from the dump where were many flies and worms. Now I’ve got a job,” he said proudly. “Nobody looked down on me, but in contrast, they admired me that I could change my life from being a scavenger to a cook.”

A second Lotus Blanc training restaurant was opened in early 2009 along Street Pasteur in Phnom Penh.

“We opened the restaurants for students to have real practice. We want to expose them to the real working environment,” said PSE’s public relations manager Touch Len.

He said it was also an opportunity for customers to see the skills of various students, as some later employed them in their own businesses.

Cookery is just one course among many the hotel school offers. Other courses include food and beverage service, bakery and pastry, housekeeping and laundry, front office, as well as food and beverage management.

Lotus Blanc has about 300 students in total, of which 48 are studying cookery on the two-year course. Each study period includes a six-month internship at restaurants in Cambodia.

“About 400 of our graduates are now working everywhere in Cambodia – from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap down to Sihanoukville,” says Touch Len.

PSE has trained more than 7,000 Cambodian children so far in its network of schools, which offer vocational training for children at the dump and others with poverty-stricken backgrounds.

With a number of two-year courses including information technology, car mechanics, hairdressing and beauty, business administration or retail sales, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant has given skills and pride back to Cambodia’s most marginal teenagers.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on