Select Page

Proud to be a life-changing teacher

The floor is given to Chamrong Youn, English teacher at the Bayon Pastry School since 2018. Proud to be a teacher of the young girls in the training, he looks back on his beginnings, and on the evolution of his work with them.

My name is Chamrong and I’ve been teaching English at Bayon Pastry School since 2018. My first experience with the students at the school was… strange, in the sense that I met young adults who were shy, lacking confidence in their ability to learn (none of the students had finished high school), and unable to say a word in English.

This was the first time in my career that I had worked with adults as I was used to teaching children! Very quickly however, as I got to know them, learning more about their stories and where they came from, my apprehension turned into a real commitment. All of these girls come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Cambodia; this is why I consider it my responsibility to help them as much as possible.

I always try with all my heart to give them my very best when I teach so that they can live their best life and reach their professional goals. 

It is not always easy because they have a lot of difficulties, but after many months of work, a great deal of effort from both parties and, most importantly, recognition of their progress, I am proud to say that they now speak English with confidence. As a result, they can work in well-known hotels and restaurants.

I am very grateful to have been able to teach such students and I want to keep helping young women in my country to achieve their goals.

Successful start for the agroecology school

Successful start for the agroecology school

Agroecology School Director Sakoth Brang talks about this new vocational training program that has just been launched at Bayon.

The Agroecology School is a cooperative project launched in partnership with Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) and Life & Earth. The school opened its doors on January 18th of this year and welcomes its very first intake of 10 students. Following Khmer tradition, the inauguration was accompanied by a blessing ceremony during which three monks were invited to bless the students, the staff and the facilities. In Khmer culture, the blessing ceremony is very important, bringing luck and prosperity to those who receive it.

Coming back to the school, our vocational training program aims to give young people, selected from disadvantaged families in Cambodia, skills in agroecology over a 12-month period. Because we wanted our training to be adapted to the context and allow students to be able to insert themselves into the job market in agronomy, our program meets the Cambodian certification criteria in the field.

In order to ensure that they develop the skills and acquire the practical tools they will need for their future profession, field trips are regularly organized. Students are also invited to meet the farmers that we support in our green farming program, or to benefit from technical lessons given by professionals in specific fields.

In addition to the regular courses taught at the school, the students will have the opportunity to do 2 internships in farms, agricultural companies, or cooperatives. The objective is clearly for them to gain a first professional experience and to put to the test the skills they have acquired during the training.

Beyond this approach, the internship is an opportunity for them to become familiar with a company that will probably welcome them at the end of their training. Indeed, a study conducted on our pastry school showed that nearly 74% of the students were hired at the end of their apprenticeship in one of the establishments where they did their internship. We expect the same success rates for students in the Agroecology School.

In any case, and because our support does not end with their graduation, we will accompany them to the door of their first employer.

At the end of the training, students will be able to use their technical skills to put agroecology techniques into practice and to carry the values of sustainable development into their future jobs. This implies knowing how to manage small productive farms, how to sell their organic products on the local market, how to establish links with other farmers and organizations, and how to understand agricultural and food systems. In this sense, the primary focus of the training is not the study of agroecology as a discipline, but the profession of agroecologist. The main skill is not to understand or analyze the agroecosystem, but to develop and act as a practitioner of agroecology who knows how to mobilize the ecological principles and processes of ecosystems to produce in a sustainable manner.

On behalf of the School of Agroecology, I would like to thank the generous donors who support this project and our two partners PSE & Chivit Neing Dei for their educational expertise and participation.

From kindergarten to a qualifying diploma: Bayon’s educational pathway

From kindergarten to a qualifying diploma: Bayon’s educational pathway

The implementation of a comprehensive educational program for all the children of Bayon primary school reflects our desire to ensure them a better social and professional integration.

It is our duty to bring all the children of Bayon to realize their dreams

To this end, we have recently initiated an educational reform within our programs to offer this opportunity to every Bayon child.

We have set simple but essential objectives for the success of their professional project

  • To support the child throughout their educational journey to a qualifying degree
  • To guide and support the child in the realization of his/her professional project
  • To individualize and personalize the child’s follow-up
  • To help children with the most difficult educational and/or social situations
  • To improve the overall quality of education

Each child who will begin his or her schooling at the Bayon primary school by the kindergarten section will be followed until the fulfillment of his or her professional project.

Alongside reasoning and intellectual reflection, the sense of observation, the taste for experimentation, sensitivity, motor skills and creative imagination are developed.”

enfant porte des fournitures scolaires

The primary school is a period that plays a decisive role in the educational curriculum of each student. We therefore wish to pay particular attention to the development of fundamental learning (reading, writing, counting and respecting others). To do this, we have doubled the number of first, second and third grade classes and set up support classes for the students with the most difficulties. An awakening to culture, art, music and sports has also been reinforced. This basic foundation is essential to serenely apprehend the classes of CM1, CM2 and 6éme and reinforce the learning capacities of the children. Primary school is also a time when the child’s personal development must be actively encouraged. 

This is why at Bayon School we implement a pedagogy that focuses on the students and their individual abilities.

enfants de maternelles en classe
enfants essayent un instrument de musique
enfants en uniforme de sport célèbrent

The follow-up of students in secondary schools is facilitated by the opening of a Community Center on February 8, 2021. Within this new structure, students have access to support courses in Khmer literature, mathematics and English. An individualized follow-up is possible thanks to the presence of a social worker directly at the center. Beyond the academic follow-up, we are also committed to guiding the young people in their educational and professional path, because their professional project starts there! The implementation of a professional orientation process, occupation and training, will therefore help the students to make the right choice between accessing vocational training or university studies.

Distribution de matériels scolaires aux étudiants
rencontre avec les étudiants boursiers
distribution de matériels scolaires

Whether they want to be mechanics, bakers or nurses, we are here to help them realize their dream.

Job placement: an issue for the year 2020

Job placement: an issue for the year 2020

The Bayon School is facing a complicated problem: finding professional opportunities in a sector, which has been greatly impacted by the total halt of tourism in Cambodia. The students will graduate at the end of December 2020 and our role is help them achieve financial security once they leave our program.  

From family to employer

We train young women from disadvantaged backgrounds in bakery and pastry making, thanks to a practical and highly professional training that enables them to find a job quickly in a field that, until February 2020, was experiencing a boom. Our support does not stop at the graduation ceremony and we accompany the students to the door of their first employer. We also help them in their search for accommodation (usually a small shared room) as they cannot return to stay with their families, who live too far away and often have little understanding of the reality of the working world in which their daughters will be working. We therefore support our students each step of the way to ensure their safety during this transition phase.

 

la 6eme promotion de l'école de pâtisserie
filles sur des vélos

Partners who are going through the crisis

After 6 years of existence, and with more than 80 graduates, the school has acquired a certain reputation among the hotels and bakeries of Siem Reap. The top chefs of the town recognize the quality of the training program, coming regularly to choose students at the end of the year; 90% of jobs are generally found in the Siem Reap network. This year, because of the COVID crisis, 78% of the town’s hotels have closed or ceased operations. Our partners for internships and professional placements have no openings to offer us so we still have to find professional opportunities for the 26 students of the 6th promotion (one quarter more than in 2019).

Phnom Penh, a growing local market

Cambodia’s capital city is home to a growing wealthy population, with a middle class that frequents international hotels, cafes and restaurants. Bakery products are popular and more and more Cambodians are buying French bread or pastries. At the beginning of November, our teams went to Phnom Penh to meet potential future partners. Renowned companies such as the Thalias group (a chain of top French gourmet restaurants in Asia), Kayser bakeries (7 branches in Phnom Penh) and Brown Café (a chain of luxury coffee shops) have shown an interest and 9 openings are currently available. 5 other students have already found jobs in Battambang and Siem Reap.

The young girls are sometimes very apprehensive about going to the capital (traffic, cost of living, …) so we accompany them in this next major step in their lives, doing our best to help them integrate structures, which will take charge of their care and their meal expenses.

Etudiante de pâtisserie entrain de réaliser un dessert
étudiantes posent avec un bouquet
Chef juge étudiantes de pâtisserie

The 7th intake

The students of the 7th class of the Bayon school will start on January 4, 2021. We have made a strategic choice to recruit only 15 of them so as to respect the rules of social distancing but also to avoid the risk of training students, for whom we may be unable to find work. The Cambodian government forecasts 20,000 tourists for the year 2021; this may be the glimmer of hope much needed by the tourist industry in Cambodia.

A year like no other at the Bayon School

A year like no other at the Bayon School

As the year 2020 comes to an end, so does the school year for our primary and bakery/pastry schools. It has been a complicated 12 months, during which our students and teams have been seriously challenged. We have had to adapt, reinvent ourselves and act quickly in the face of a crisis, the impact of which no one could have foreseen. Even though the situation is far from being “normal” again, we have come out of it stronger, enriched and eager to keep innovating in order to provide a better education for those in need.

Let’s look back at the actions and successes of our schools

In September 2019, we welcome our 6th class of students at the Pastry School with 26 young girls; a number, which has been constantly rising since the opening of the school. The new laboratory intended to free up space and reinforce our bakery teaching is almost finished and we are delighted to be able to start the new year in optimal conditions to train more and better. In 2018/2019, we manage to self-finance almost 55% of the school’s costs, thanks to the Coffee Shop’s income, and we are doing our utmost to welcome tourists and visitors to do, if not just as well, even better. The hygiene teaching program is reviewed with a food safety specialist and English classes are reinforced with the launch of a partnership with the Australian Center for English.

pastry-student
des enfans mangent à la cantine

In October 2019, 232 students are enrolled in the Bayon primary school and 120 middle and high school students continue their studies, whilst being accompanied on a monthly basis by our teams with educational and social follow-up. The primary-aged children discover the new sit-down breakfast with a hot meal from 6:45 a.m. The art-culture-sport program is reinforced with traditional puppet classes and one and a half hours a week are dedicated to sports. In February, 30 pupils participate in the inter-school sports championship and win 2 medals; a very proud moment for all involved! Support classes for pupils with difficulties continue and the project for a building dedicated to small group teaching is on the road to completion.

In November 2019, the number of “farmer” families in the Bayon increases to 11, as three new families join the vegetable garden project. This project allows these women farmers to earn additional income and 90% of the vegetables bought for the canteen are now organic.

Cooperation with the association Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (For a Child’s Smile) kicks off and together we launch a major collaborative project to create a field for experimentation in agroecology. Projects such as planting fruit trees and medicinal plants, building above-ground cultivation tables, creating compost and installing an irrigation system mean that this land will become the home to our future agroecology school with its first 10 students in January 2021. At the same time, and in partnership with the NGO Vivre de sa Terre, the 10-month training of the future teachers starts and the team fine-tunes the curriculum.

Une agricultrice montre ses cultures

From December 2019, the families receive a visit from our medical and social teams to assess their sanitary conditions and medical needs. 156 families are interviewed and a major study is conducted to define an action plan to be implemented with our families.

Adapting to the Covid

On March 9, 2020, all schools in the country close their doors and, by the end of March, the last repatriation planes send the last remaining tourists back home. Our students return to their families and our younger pupils are kept away from the school. Disheartened at the beginning, we have to react quickly to help our families face this crisis, not knowing how long it will last.

enfant porte un masque à l'école
des légumes et du riz sont distribués aux familles

All the vegetables produced by the farmers are bought by the NGO and distributed every week free of charge to the families of our pupils, who are no longer being fed morning and night at the canteen. Our social team visits the families at home to analyze the impact of COVID on them: those identified as being in great difficulty receive rice. Distance-learning and very small group-teaching starts in April and in July we receive a donation of smartphones to improve access to online courses for our pastry students. Our teams put in motion the different projects: redesigning the website, painting the walls of the Coffee Shop, studying the situation of our alumni pastry school students, launching a database to regroup all the social, medical and pedagogical information of the students, training for the farmers and precise monitoring of the quantities of vegetables, which just keep on increasing.

tous les enfants de l'école primaire

Bounce back and move forward

All of these actions have made it possible to accompany our families and maintain a pedagogical follow-up, avoiding, as a result, too much delay with the school programs. Some families returned temporarily to their home villages to work the land as they had lost their jobs. The Cambodian people are proving to be resilient and strong in the face of this crisis and we hope that economic and tourist activity can resume as soon as possible to recreate jobs for those who really need them.

photo de groupe de la 6ème promotion