On 20 March 2014, team Destination Justice went to visit ‘Banteay Prieb’—a vocational training centre located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in the province of Kandal. After a bumpy ride, the team finally made it to the Centre where Geoffroy and Bénédicte—two French volunteers— and Pheareak were waiting to host the team on a tour of the Centre.
Banteay Prieb—‘The Centre of the Dove’ in Khmer—was founded in 1991 by the pioneers of the Jesuit Service in Cambodia. A factory, a prison, a carrier ground for war messenger pigeons, and ultimately a killing field under the Khmer Rouge regime, this training centre now hosts over 100 young Cambodians with a physical disability. Since its inception, over 1500 young Cambodian men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 from all over the country have learned vocations compatible with their disabilities. Students live a communal yet independent life and develop skills through training courses in electronics, sewing, mechanics, agriculture, engineering, and sculpture. After the completion of a one-year course (or a two-year course for sculpture), Banteay Prieb assists the graduates in setting up their own workshop or finding suitable employment. The aim of each of the programs is to enable graduates to support themselves and their families (watch a video introducing Banteay Prieb here).
Handicrafts produced in Banteay Prieb’s workshop are available in a shop located on Banteay Prieb’s main campus and at ‘Craft Peace Café’— a cozy café located in Phnom Penh, serving coffee produced by local Cambodian farmers, as well as a variety of beverages and fresh home-made foods.
The ultimate goal of Banteay Prieb is to empower young physically challenged Cambodians with the adequate skills and knowledge where they can fulfil in the future a dignified and independent life. Destination Justice is highly committed to the promotion of social justice and similarly believes that providing practical trainings and workshops to Cambodian youth facilitates and empowers students as they enter the labour market (watch a video of us delivering trainings here). At Destination Justice, we strongly believe that education is key to achieve human development in a sustainable and holistic way, something that is much needed in a post-crisis country such as Cambodia.