The Shinta Mani Foundation seeks to be a leader in responsible tourism. The goal of the Shinta Mani Foundation (SMF) is to enhance the lives of the individuals in the local communities where we operate – by increasing their human capital and providing them the tools to overcome the constraints of poverty.
Founded by Mr. Sokoun Chanpreda, a Cambodian businessman who returned from overseas to invest in the future of his country, the Shinta Mani Foundation is guided by his philosophy of Open Doors, Open Hearts.
Shinta Mani’s community activities began in 2004 with the opening of the Shinta Mani Hotel and Institute of Hospitality on the grounds of Shinta Mani Angkor, a boutique hotel owned by Mr. Sokoun. This innovative program, which received international recognition for its efforts, trained underprivileged Cambodians in aspects of world-class hotel operations on a free of charge basis-providing them the skills to secure employment and a brighter future.
Since 2004, more than 245 Khmer students have graduated from the Shinta Mani School of Hospitality and still enjoy employment in the immediate township and local countryside.
This successful blending of non-profit work alongside the hotel’s award-winning for-profit operations attracted such interest and support that by 2006; Shinta Mani began to explore other ways to give back to the community. They did this by engaging in community development programs targeting rural families. Shinta Mani sought to empower these families through basic assistance in education and livelihood assistance such as home building, water wells and toilets. These efforts resulted in meaningful change in the lives of individual families and for the community. These accomplishments led the founders to explore new ways to ensure that the efforts and support generated thus far would continue far into the future.
In 2011, all such community projects were unified under an independent and locally registered (Cambodian) not-for-profit organization known as the Shinta Mani Foundation. The Foundation operates today in the core areas of education, micro-finance, healthcare and direct assistance.
Cambodia has one of the largest populations of unskilled youth in all of South East Asia. To address this situation, The Shinta Mani Foundation assists young people in the Siem Reap community by providing them with the skills to obtain meaningful employment to support themselves and their families. Students generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and all students are selected based on their desire to learn and improve their skills.
The Development Center educates students for ten months. During this time, they receive free tuition, uniforms and materials, as well as two meals a day. They also receive a small stipend of rice and money to help support their families. Housing is provided to students on a limited basis and all students are supported through generous donations from guests at Shinta Mani and other supporters. All students learn English as well as general life skills. Students specialize in one of the departments of the hotel, including culinary, front office, housekeeping, maintenance, restaurant, and spa therapy.
SMALL BUSINESS START-UP
The Shinta Mani Foundation provides interest-free, small-business loans to local entrepreneurs so they may start a business. Recipients of “start-up” sponsorship do not receive money from SMF. They receive the materials needed to start their business.
They also attend basic business classes in order to manage and grow their business. Repayments of loans are then utilized by the Shinta Mani Foundation to fund future borrowers. In this way the Foundation is able to continue the cycle of development with the goal of establishing a network of micro-enterprises within the community.
The Shinta Mani Foundation supports Cambodian doctors and visiting medical professionals to provide medical and dental check-ups in rural areas. We also conduct education on proper health practices such as healthy eating, proper exercise, brushing of teeth and hand-washing.
As medical costs are some of the most debilitating expenses for families in Cambodia, many do not receive adequate care and attention.
We believe that promoting preventive health measures as well as supporting those who have immediate medical issues, is necessary to ensure the entire community’s long-term well-being and development.
The Shinta Mani believes in food safety and seeks to establish a model farming practice. Through a partnership with the World Vegetable Center and USAID we have established an experimental farm to test more hardy varieties of traditional Khmer crops. We are growing vegetables that grow better, are more pest resistant, and do better in extreme weather conditions. But, we are doing so, without the aid of pesticides and an excess of fertilizers. Instead we are using age old practices of specific seed selection combined with crop rotation and natural pest repellants like planting Marigolds, Lemongrass or using Citronella extracts to ward off pests.
We hope that by modeling sustainable and ethical farming practices (that we also teach to local families through our Home Garden project), we can change the growing culture and inspire people to eat healthier sustainable produce.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Want to know how you can help people in the communities around Siem Reap?
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Shinta Mani Foundation is supported by the Shinta Mani Hotels. All of our running costs are covered completely by the hotels and the owners. What this means is that 100% of every donation received from donors goes directly to people in need.
Current and former guests of Shinta Mani Hotels represent the primary source of support for our work in the villages. And enable us to contribute to our community and all of our families that we support. We welcome you to visit with us in the villages and see the work being done to transform lives and build a future for the villagers.
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