CAMBODIA: Salesian missionaries work to get Don Bosco Hotel School fully operational after last year’s Typhoon Lekima
(MissionNewswire) On Aug. 8, 2019, Typhoon Lekima, which devastated parts of Asia, hit Sihanoukville, a seaside city in southern Cambodia. The flooding impacted the Don Bosco Technical and Hotel School, which educates more than 500 students and employs 90 staff.
The storm’s flooding was caused by an overflow of water from a nearby stream that runs alongside the Salesian school. The stream, which was once 15 meters wide, had its riverbed reduced to 4 meters wide from recent construction. As a result, the rising waters caused massive flooding, breaking down the mission’s surrounding wall and pouring tons of water and mud into the property.
In a few minutes, the water level reached 130 cm, destroying the technical workshops and laboratories, offices and rooms. The destruction impacted the school’s ice cream parlor-pizzeria where students did their internships and local businesses bought ice cream, allowing the school to generate funding for its activities. Founded 12 years ago, the ice cream parlor-pizzeria was so successful that it was making deliveries. Salesian missionaries are working to restart the ice cream parlor-pizzeria.
“Students attending the Don Bosco Hotel School have an opportunity to gain the skills needed for a work in the hospitality industry, which is a field that needs a strong workforce,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Once the ice cream parlor-pizzeria is back to being fully operational, students will once again be able to apply skills they are learning into a real work environment, which goes a long way in helping them secure a job after graduation.”
The Don Bosco schools in Cambodia are providing technical education for poor youth in subjects including electrical, mechanical, welding, automotive, electronics, computer and information technology, printing, media communication, hospitality and tourism. After students graduate, they are qualified for jobs that offer a living wage, allowing them to support themselves and their families and break the cycle of poverty.
According to the World Bank, poverty continues to fall in Cambodia. In 2017, the poverty rate was close to 14 percent compared to 47.8 percent in 2007. About 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external challenges.
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Salesian Missions – Cambodia
World Bank – Cambodia