SUPPORT EXPERIENCE MEKONG COLLECTION MEMBERS
Dear Traveler, Partner, Resident, and Friend of the Mekong Region:
Experience Mekong Collection members provide these locally authentic experiences to travelers and residents alike, which make the Mekong Region so exciting and interesting. Connecting with local culture and its people is the foundation of the Experience Mekong brand.
Now these experiences are in danger of not surviving these difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses are struggling to pay their employees, and cover their expenses.
We all have a duty and a responsibility to now help these operators, for the better of sustainable and responsible tourism of the region for the short-term and the long-term. At Mekong Tourism, we believe that the Experience Mekong Collection protects and promotes inclusive tourism, and as such has been recognized as a global best practice of tourism promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
In order to help our Experience Mekong Collection members in these challenging, we are listing any businesses that are asking for donations. We are asking everybody to support these small responsible travel businesses, which we recognize as our shining lights of the Mekong Region. Let’s all come together to make sure that these lights will continue to shine for many years to come.
Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
Chair, Destination Mekong
Please see the list of EMC Members who are in need of support:
Phare Ponleu Selpak
Phare Ponleu Selpak is a non-profit Cambodian association improving the lives of children, young adults, and their families with art schools, educational programs, and social support since 1994. They seek to provide education, access to the arts, vocational training, and professional pathways to the children and young adults of the community.
Cambodia Living Arts (CLA)
CLA implements a series of programs with the intention of creating a self-sustaining environment where individuals and communities can be empowered through the arts. Founded in 1998 by musician and genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond, CLA’s Community Arts program offers Cambodians the opportunity to learn the country’s traditional arts, while it is Capacity Building program assists motivated students in receiving training to improve their skills as arts professionals.
EGBOK (Spoons Cafe)
EGBOK provided supplemental classes, housing, job and financial support to young disadvantaged Cambodians studying at other hospitality schools in Siem Reap. Spoons café is the main sources of funding for EGBOK serving as a training facility and multipurpose space for EGBOK students to gain hands-on experience while providing guests with authentic Cambodian cuisine and hospitality.
Elephant Valley Project
Elephant Valley Project has worked hard to develop the best sanctuary for captive elephants in Cambodia and support local people to be able to access stable jobs with opportunities to grow. The purpose of the project is to improve the health and welfare of the captive elephants in Mondulkiri Province and work to conserve the wild elephants’ natural habitat while supporting the local community to protect their forest and nature.
Le Tonlé Tourism Training Center is a not-for-profit training guest house providing vocational training to disadvantaged youth from Cambodia’s north-eastern provinces of Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, and Mondulkiri. The guest house and restaurant in Kratie provide essential training and a unique opportunity for travellers to support skills development in Cambodia.
Friends-International was born on the streets of Phnom Penh in August 1994. Friends is a social enterprise saving lives and building futures of marginalized children, youth, their families and communities across Southeast Asia. One of their programs provides vocational training in cooking and hospitality through seven restaurants in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, as well as matching marginalized youths with opportunities in the tourism sector.
Cardamom Tented Camp
The Cardamom Tented Camp is therefore a pioneering and responsible Eco-Tourism provider, committed to supporting the conservational efforts of Wildlife Alliance in cooperation with the local community, with a mandate to sustain and prosper the rich prevailing biodiversity of the area.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel
The Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel mission is to be the leading independent boutique hotel in Siem Reap creating rewarding and memorable cultural experiences for our valued guests. The hotel dedicated to sustainability and reducing our environmental impact in Siem Reap and Cambodia.
Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village
Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village (GFTV) is a social enterprise focused on creating a fair trade environment that benefits artisans and craftspeople with disabilities, in the Siem Reap area. The primary goals of Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village are quite simple. First, that the artisan members and employees rise from isolation and poverty to living as productive members of the community making a living wage and helping to support their families. Second is the enterprise becomes self-sustaining as soon as possible, completely orchestrated by our artisans and staff.
Wildlife Alliance is the leader in direct protection to forests and wildlife in the Southeast Asian tropical belt. Our mission is to combat deforestation, extinction, climate change, and poverty by partnering with local communities and governments. Wildlife Alliance cares for and rehabilitates animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Take an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Center and meet animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.
HAVEN is a non-religious social enterprise and a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults from orphanages by teaching young people quality work skills as well as important life skills. we support them in their transition from institution to real-world as well as giving them a chance to step out of the poverty cycle.
Jaan Bai is a social enterprise restaurant initiative of Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT) and the Feel Good Coffee Group. It provides skills development and employment for Cambodian youth as well as reduce the environmental impacts by using stainless straws and eco-bags. They share profits of the restaurant to Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT) child protection and community development work.
Elephant Conservation Center
Elephant Conservation Center committed more to substantive work for the preservation of Asian elephants. The Center offers new working conditions to mahouts and new breeding opportunities for their elephants as well as providing environmental education for children and awareness-raising campaigns through several projects.
Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)
TAEC priority is to promoting awareness and understanding of Laos’ ethnic diversity and cultural heritage within local communities as well as committed to building capacity across all parts of the community. TAEC also provides professional development opportunities for workers in the culture and tourism sectors.
Passa Paa is a social enterprise that aims to link the Hmong artisan to the rest of the world. We do this by embedding Hmong textile patterns and skills into a product that is desirable in the modern market. We are committed to working within the Hmong/Lao artisan community by supporting handmade hemp and organic cotton production in Laos, Hmong sewing techniques, indigo dying and printing.
Laos Buffalo Dairy
Laos Buffalo Dairy is a social enterprise that relies on tourism in order to help us support the local community, by renting pregnant female buffalo from the local farmers, to give them an extra income stream for something they already have, but don’t make any money from until they sell their buffalo.Our business works to educate the local community, not only on nutrition but also with farmer training for better animal husbandry and free English classes to the local community.
Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project
The Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project’s mission is to support fishing communities to protect Myanmar’s critically endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins and the unique heritage of cooperative fishing by helping them to market and promote community-based tourism.
Sanon is a training restaurant for marginalised as well as changing lives and building futures for Myanmar youth. The intention is to employ all Burmese staff to help encourage the development of local skills and expertise and support the local community. An income from the Restaurant helps pay for full-time staff such as our English teacher, a social worker, training chefs, front of house trainers, a restaurant manager and accountant.
Doh Eain focuses on heritage conservation and urban renewal, restoring and upgrading heritage building and public spaces in Yangon together with residents. The organization preserves heritage, improves public spaces and organises activities that connect people with places, employing a user-centred, participatory approach. In doing this they aim to inspire and enable people to participate in re-shaping their city while retaining cultural heritage. Doh Eain has launched “I Do Nation”, a fundraising campaign that aims to support vulnerable people in our society, starting with street vendors.
Sa Ba Street Food Tour
Sa Ba Street Food Tours is a fresh look at Myanmar’s traditional street food for the culinary and culturally curious traveller. In this challenging time, the organization is working together with our volunteering friends at Food Not Bombs Myanmar who are on the front line fighting to get food into the hands of those who really need it. For around 60,000kyat ($45) we can feed 100 people a simple but nutritious dinner and pay the out-of-work street food vendors to cook it. It’s a win-win situation.
Elephants World is a self-supporting Environmental Conservation Organization that cares for domestic elephants, situated just outside of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Also, revenue support both the growing community of elephants, mahouts and staff. The Elephants World mission is to provide the best possible care for the elephants, staff and visitors as well as welcome travellers here at home and right across the world.
Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF)
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary is a Non-Profit Foundation who are dedicated to giving our elephants the best life possible with the help of our visitors and volunteers. Our aim is to bring elephants home to the forest by working with the local communities to not only provide a haven for our elephants but also provide an alternative livelihood for their mahouts and owners. Currently, the sanctuary is being unable to take visitors during the Covid-19 crisis, whilst also supporting over 60 elephants that have had to return home to the area.
By participating in a program through Andaman Discoveries, you directly support the Andaman Center For Migrant Education as we donate 50 percent of our proceeds to charitable giving causes. The Andaman Center For Migrant Education’s mission is to provide education for underprivileged migrant children in Southern Thailand.
These children are at high risk of being put to work in dangerous, dirty and degrading conditions. The Andaman Center provides opportunities for a better future, education that can break the cycle of poverty of this marginalized community.
SiamRise Travel is a tour operator that supports the communities through “Tourism” to create a positive impact in the local environment, education, economy, and society. They care about preserving the local way of life and help communities to become more sustainable. The programs are specifically designed to support local community development and conservation goals. A percentage of income from our programs contributes towards a community fund for community development and conservation. At the moment, the company is pleased to offer special e-cash voucher for the collection of Bangkok Urban Tours and Cultural Village Tours.
KOTO its mission is empowering at-risk youth to pursue a life of dignity by providing training, life-skills, and opportunity as well as positive permanent change for at-risk and disadvantaged youth through the transformative power of social enterprise. KOTO also operates an enterprise that serves as a platform for vocational hospitality training as well as a source of income to support the welfare and training for the students.
Reaching Out Cafe is a social enterprise supporting the hearing-impaired, was established in 2000 with the vision of providing opportunities for people of disability (PWD’s) to learn skills and gain meaningful employment so that they are able to integrate fully with their communities and lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Mekong Quilts is a social enterprise that employs over 200 women. The economic benefit to the women, all profits from the purchase of Mekong Quilts products are used to support the wider community through development initiatives such as micro-financing, scholarships, and health, hygiene and agricultural education programs.