Today Marum, our new training restaurant in Siem Reap, opens its doors to the public. Restaurants and Friends are inextricably linked – back in August 1994 Sebastien Marot was leaving one in Phnom Penh when he stumbled over children sleeping rough on the street. That was the moment he made a decision to do something about this situation and to set up an organization which would work with those children to build a real future for them.
Eighteen years later Friends provides social support, education and training to 60,000 children a year, like those above, who have been pushed onto the margins of society. The training includes vocational training, and our other training restaurants, Friends the Restaurant, Romdeng and Makphet have become internationally renowned for the quality of their service. They are probably the most public ‘face’ of the work of Friends, and by eating there people are aware they are supporting a young person on their journey to a better future.
Training in Marum will mean that the skills the young students gain there will stand them in good stead when they graduate and go on into employment in the fast-growing hospitality sector in Cambodia. The profits from Marum will also support that training and the other work our Kaliyan Mith program in Siem Reap does with children, young people, families and communities.
Marum is also part of our TREE Alliance – Training Restaurants for Employment and Entrepreneurship – our brand new initiative giving other NGOs the opportunity to use the successful Friends model to increase their impact, be more sustainable and help more young people into fulfilling lives.
The name Marum comes from the Moringa, also known as the ‘Tree of Life’ – very appropriate, as by dining there customers will be helping to build new and better lives for the students who are training there.
Siem Reap, Cambodia