We are very excited to have received this recognition for our effort in promoting sustainable tourism practices. Please have a look at this Soksabike’s page on some of the examples of our responsible tourism practices.
This week we launched our Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the Kinyei Cafe! We hope to raise $8,500 to get the cafe up and running. The cafe will provide hospitality training and employment for local at risk youth. The upper storey of the cafe will be used as a venue for local art, music, and collaborative learning projects. The profits from the cafe will go towards start-up costs for further locally-run social initiatives.
To say thank you we will be providing rewards for donors, including the prestigious “top tier” reward for Kickstarter donations of $2,500 or more:
Imagine cycling the roads of the Cambodian countryside, sampling local Khmer cuisine, and delighting in the charm that is Battambang! We’re sharing our spectacular “tour de Battambang” itinerary, your ticket to enjoy all the pleasures of this Cambodian paradise, with donors who pledge $2,500 or more.
3-day tour of Battambang
Accommodation and local transport provided
– Srey-saat photo shoot
– Welcome dinner at local Khmer Barbeque
– Smokin’ Pot Khmer Cooking Course
– optional trip to local sites:
– Bamboo Train OR
– fruit wine OR
– local winery OR
– Aek Phnom, Wat Banon, or Phnom Sampeou (local temples)
Hundreds of traditional Khmer offerings of fruit and rice were laid out with candles around Battambang in reaction to the almost 350 deaths at Koh Pich Bridge in Phnom Penh on Tuesday night. St. 1.5, where the Kinyei Cafe and HQ are situated, saw vigils kept throughout the night. Yesterday was the national day of morning and a moment of silence was observed at the Soksabike launch event.
By some accounts it was an avoidable tragedy. Crowds at the Water Festival have been increasing over recent years. As @chrisincambo wrote on 21 November, “I was there last night and it was insane. It gets bigger every year, to the point where now it’s starting to look dangerous.”
Renovations and training for the new Kinyei Cafe are almost complete. Housed in a two storey French colonial era townhouse, the Kinyei Cafe will provide essential hospitality training and work for young people at risk, as well as forming a space for open learning initiatives and social enterprise.
It all sounds a bit vague until you consider the projects that have already grown out of Kinyei’s activities and are set to utilise the space. Soksabike tours exposes tourists to traditional, rural Khmer culture and aims to benefit the communities whose concerns and realities it communicates. Seavyi’s Khmer-language social media workshops kick off this weekend with classes on Gmail, Twitter and Facebook.
Auxiliary projects aside, the Kinyei Cafe addresses keenly felt needs in the Battambang community, where poverty, drug abuse and trafficking combine to form vicious cycles of dependance. Many at risk young people have already benefitted from six months or more of NGO-provided hospitality training, usually without any pay, and are only waiting for viable work opportunities such as the Kinyei Cafe.
Based on the Melbourne Model (of first-rate cafes, not Higher Education), the Kinyei Cafe sports a pared-back, airy interior design, a blank space in which anything can happen.
Building the bar became a particular challenge after it fell off the back of a wagon and had to be repaired.
Getting the service space ready.
The kind staff at Gypsy Hideout in Melbourne helped to make a video tutorial on cafe setting, service, and barista skills.
K. from Gypsy Hideout demonstrates the perfect milk pouring wrist action.
We’re putting the cafe project into gear this week, stay tuned for details and an upcoming kickstarter campaign! In the meantime check out the profile. Tell your friends! Especially if they know how to make excellent espresso and want to come to Battambang to train baristas! No seriously, do.
Last week visiting social media guy Ross Hill graced us with his presence and took a couple of afternoons out to introduce a few keen Battambang youths to the wonderful world of Twitter. You can check out how they’re all doing at the btbtweeps list.
This will be the fourth such workshop held in the space, following on from a visual storytelling series, a khmer poetry class and a (closed) child protection workshop for local NGO workers. It definitely shows us the idea is catching on. We’re starting to see more use by local groups for meetings and collaboration; the BDB hip-hop group have been frequenting and have a few things in the works with a film-making crew that have also been around having meetings. We’re really excited to see what will come out of it.
Open learning recognizes that everyone can be both teacher and student; everyone has some skill, some knowledge to impart. It is interactive, involves two-way communication, and requires self-motivation. Given the dynamic and talented Battambang community, we think the potential for open learning is awesome. We already have the minds, the knowledge, the thirst; Kinyei hopes to provide some impetus, some facilitation, and our open-learning space.
We hope these workshops keep coming, and that we can make Battambang a hub for informal education and idea sharing.
Kinyei’s open-learning space is available to anyone who wants to run a workshop. If you have skills or information to share (of course you do!), ranging from circuit wiring to bicycle repair to ballet classes, contact us.
Our indefatigable intern Seavyi has recently launched an exciting new project called Khmer Stories in partnership with Dewey International University and five local child centered organizations. The project exemplifies what Kinyei is about: collaboration, cultural integrity, and utilization of social media.
Khmer Stories (http://khmerstories.kinyei.org/) collects traditional Khmer stories and legends with the aim of preserving, compiling, and sharing these folk tales. All the stories are illustrated by kids from around Battambang at Dewey International University, Tean Thor Association, Children’s Future International, Village Focus Cambodia and The Slum Project.
Khmer Stories is part of the 5D club’s worldwide network for collecting and sharing stories. More stories are coming soon, so continue to check the website!
Kinyei is delighted to announce that “Kinyei Headquarters” is no longer a cheeky reference to our house in Battambang. Kinyei now has two (tiny) stories of 100% Battambang office space which we are now making make thorough use of. Using the magic of semantics and the power of intention, we have transformed our office space into a Collaboration Space.
This is an open space which is available for locals and visitors to use for peer-learning and co-working, a place where people can come to develop, source materials, and execute projects and ideas. Our goal for this space is to foster collaboration and support local, grassroots initiatives by providing an office space, internet, networking, and specialized coaching.
In addition to encouraging the development of individual initiatives, we are also actively creating a peer-learning programme in which anyone with specific knowledge or a specialized skill set can come use the facilities to share and teach what they know to the public. These can be run by visiting or local volunteers on virtually anything they want to teach. We have already hosted two peer-learning workshops in our collaborative space — one on the art of visual storytelling and another on child safety.
Please contact us if you live in or are passing through Battambang and are interested in sharing your experience with anything from yoga to land title law, or are simply looking for a co working space with an emphasis on collaborations!
For the past two months or so, Kinyei has been developing a social enterprise to help bring in funding for Kinyei’s projects. The enterprise, called SoksaBike (a play on the traditional Khmer greeting of ‘Soksabai’ which roughly translates to ‘Are you happy and healthy?’ or, more prosaically, ‘How are you?’) is an educational bicycle tour of the beautiful Battambang countryside. Along a shaded route lined with banana palms, fruit orchards, and traditional wooden houses, the tour stops at several family-run cottage industries, such as rice paper, fish paste (prohoc), Khmer noodles, and rice wine. At each stop, the tourists are shown the traditional method of production, and have the opportunity to ask questions and sample the products.