In the beer garden is no good job. I have many problems when I drink a lot of beer and I have no empowerment.
Look down on me from the guests. Not safe, not secure and no respect. In the hotel is a good job. In the hotel
I have good knowledge and good skill and stable income, supported by society. In the future I want to work for
an NGO and help the women in Cambodia. (HAP Trainee, 2008)
The Hotel Apprenticeship Program was launched by SiRCHESI in Nov., 2006. The program provides safer, secure career
opportunities for former beer sellers. To date, with the sponsorship of M.A.C. AIDS Fund and 9 partner hotels, the program
has supported two cohorts of students (Cohort 1, Nov. 2006-Nov. 2008; Cohort 2, Sept. 2007-Sept. 2009).
During the 24 month program, SiRCHESI's school provides daily literacy and English language classes along with health
and social/life skills education during the first 8 months. During this initial period, apprentices also receive mentored,
on-the-job training in the hotel. This is then followed, at school graduation, by a 16 month work contract. A living wage
of $110 is maintained throughout the 24-month period by this NGO-industry-foundation partnership. This completely
eliminates the need to seek additional earnings, reducing risks and also staff/trainee turnover.
The program was originally designed to become a self-sustaining model which can be adopted by the hotel industry. SiRCHESI
thus developed the basic program materials and curricula, trained local staff with new skills, and demonstrated the
program's cost-effectiveness. However, the economic downturn in 2008 meant no local initiative from the hotel industry
was forthcoming to carry on independently with the program for a "third cohort".
Hotel industry skills, literacy, language and health-related knowledge were assessed by SiRCHESIís research team during
and after the program. Evaluations have continued throughout 2010, and indicate that the program increases awareness about
health-related concerns - HIV/AIDS, condom use and the risks of alcohol. Moreover, literacy in Khmer and English, as well as
skills training in the hotel industry has enabled the women to develop a sense of empowerment towards future careers and
economic mobility. In interviews these former beer sellers talk of future aspirations and having a position that is respected
their local community.
As well as the Hotel Apprenticeship Progam SiRCHESI runs other health promotion programs for young children, street vendors, beer-sellers and hostesses, and has
an extensive peer-educator health outreach program in the community, reaching over 8700 persons at risk in 2009.
If you would like to support the work of SiRCHESI please make a donation.