The Banteay Meanchey province of Cambodia is still suffering from the aftermath of civil wars. The latest fights only ended in 1997. Many refugees from camps in Thailand returned and live under miserable conditions. Particularly, children and young adults present a vulnerable population group as illiteracy is high. Only ~17% of children attend primary school and only ~7% secondary school. At the same time, however, the demand for skilled workers in Cambodia is high.
The Vocational Training program offers apprenticeships to vulnerable teenagers and young adults who cannot afford to pay for their education. To connect the program to the city of Sisophon, the program collaborates with shops in the city. Sisophon offers a diversity of shops that have offered apprenticeships for many years. The apprentice learns a trade (e.g. phone repair, sewing, embellishment) for 1-2 years and is often employed by the shop at the end of the apprenticeship.
However, to become an apprentice, the apprentice has to pay the formation. Therefore, before the program started, only wealthy Cambodians could afford to pay an apprenticeship for their children. With the help of the Vocational Training program, 30 youngsters receive a scholarship to follow an apprenticeship of their choice and are encouraged to also start their own businesses afterwards. Thereby, the program supports youngsters to become skilled workers that earn a regular stable income and have brighter future perspectives in Cambodia.
Our contribution and relationship
The program is implemented by the French association AEC-Foyer Lataste in partnership with two other organizations. AEC-Foyer Lataste has gained experience in implementing education projects in Cambodia since 1998. Since 2014 McKinsey-for-Children has supported the professional formation of 15 students by providing them with scholarships that cover the fees for the professional formation as well as living expenses.