From fusion restaurants to creative crafts shop there’s one group of Friends, who developed an exemplary social enterprise getting kids out of the streets in a remarkable way. Real actors of change, you’ll want to become one of their friends
What to experience ?
A visit to Phnom Penh would not be complete without enjoying a delicious and surprising meal at one of Friends’ Restaurants. Their motto is fair price, fun atmosphere, Khmer smiles.
At Friends, indulge in Creative tapas, Asian fusion, frozen daiquiris and a range of weekly specials; favourites include fish with salsa verde and Cambodian chicken curry. Book in advance !
For more Cambodian flavours, choose Romdeng restaurant set in a beautiful colonial house and decorated by expressive kids’paintings, it serves a great variety of Cambodian food ranging from forgotten recipes to contemporary creative dishes, and fried mygales! A must try!!
Their third training restaurant Le Café Mith Samlanh in the lush quiet garden of the French Cultural Centre, offers a French- bistro menu of crêpes, salads, cakes and ice cream, serves breakfast from 7.30am onwards and a Khmer lunch buffet. Shows and events are regularly held, check out the program at the French Cultural Centre.
A cooking book ‘The Best of Friends’ illustrated by the candid and profound paintings of their students will allow you to try your cooking talents back home.
Also don’t miss Friends ‘n’ Stuff, and Too it Too It or The Nailbar, featured in the Where to shop section.
How does it help ?
Friends Is definitely our Cambodian Heroe.
Friends International believes that it is possible to build a world where no child has to live or work on the streets. By working directly with families, Friends helps them to increase their own incomes, so that their children do not need to work on the streets and can instead go to school to become independent and productive members of their society.
They work with Mith Samlanh, which was established by Friends International in 1994 and offers food, shelter, medical care, training and educational facilities to more than 1,800 homeless or abandoned children each day.
Each year, Friends International supports about 120,000 street children worldwide (Thailand, Laos, Indonesia). Last year, in Phnom Penh alone, Friends helped 200 students complete their training and find employment and 620 others were supported to return to their studies; around 80,000 medical consultations were provided; and 240,000 meals prepared.
Such an impressive record !
Most importantly, they developed the ‘ChildSafe Network’ that educates on the best actions to take to protect children and how to respond when a child is in danger. They sensitise tourists not to give any thing to street kids or even buy anything from them, as when you think it helps, it only encourages them to stay in the streets where they have little hope for a better life and are vulnerable to abuse. Most recently they developed with UNICEF a campaign to sensitise tourists on the damage caused by the visit of orphanages. Check it at http://www.thinkchildsafe.org/thinkbeforevisiting/
- Designated as one of the best 100 NGOs in the world in Davos Social Forum (2012)
- Isabelle Allende Foundation Espiritu Award (2008)
- the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2007)
- the Gold Medal of the Cambodian Government for the Reconstruction of the Country (2005)
- the Silver Medal of the Société d’Encouragement au Progrès (2003)
- the Order of Australia for Service to Humanity (2002)