The Royal Palace, National Museum and Wat Phnom - travel journal

Responsible Travel customers are helping disadvantaged children who attend educational classes at Mith Samlanh education centre to visit historical sites and museums in Phnom Penh, often for the first time in their lives.

Youth looking at painting
Our latest trip in Phnom Penh - 29th June 2018:
On Friday 29th June 2018, 21 young people (including seven girls) from Mith Samlanh went on a day trip made possible by the support of Responsible Travel. The young people (aged 15-24 years old) live in various marginalised communities in Phnom Penh such as the Greenhouse, Takhmao community and the slum communities. One child said this about their day: "I felt very proud and lucky to see the Royal Palace, especially the artifacts which have no price value! I hope that, in the future I will bring my relatives to visit the Royal Palace too."
The majority of young people at Mith Samlanh are extremely marginalised because they come from poor or challenging backgrounds and lack access to education and skills training. Many are exposed to abuse, exploitation, sex work, trafficking and drugs, which further inhibits their ability to access regular education or employment.

To address these issues, Mith Samlanh runs flexible vocational training for young people and remedial education classes for school aged children, giving them the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills and secure stable employment in a safe environment.

On the busGroup

What the children do:
8.30am: The children and young people will have breakfast at Mith Samlanh before heading to the Royal Palace. When they approach the building, their excitement increases as they see the beautiful landscape surrounding the Palace. They go into the Royal Palace and inside the Throne Hall, they see many statues and artefacts such as glasses, plates, pots and spoons made from bronze, platinum and gold. The children and young people learn about the building and its uses which include royal ceremonies, festivals and consecrations.

Afterwards, they visit the Silver Pagoda where King Norodom Sihanouk meets monks and where royal ceremonies are performed. Inside, the children and young people will see lots of photographs of Khmer style houses and traditional clothes. On one of the walls, there is a beautiful picture depicting the famous Cambodian poem Reamker. After the Royal Palace, the group will go to the National Museum. Inside are hundreds of statues and artefacts documenting centuries of Cambodia’s history.

11.15am: The group has lunch in a local restaurant near the post office before continuing on to Wat Phnom. They see the huge trees and a plaque on the wall which commemorates the return of three provinces from Thailand to Cambodia in the early 1900s. The children and young people play in the playground near Wat Phnom before returning to Mith Samlanh at around 1:30pm.

Impact: Most of the young people have never been to the Royal Palace or National Museum, so seeing all the statues and artefacts is a new experience for them. For many, this is a very meaningful and exciting trip and they are very interested to learn about Cambodia’s history. Their favorite part is usually the splendor of the Royal Palace. They also enjoy the green spaces and fresh air and as soon as they returned to Mith Samlanh they ask the social workers when the next trip will be!

Eating lunchGroup by palace
Quotes from the day
Young people:

"I felt very proud and lucky to see the Royal Palace, especially the artifacts which have no price value! I hope that, in the future I will bring my relatives to visit the Royal Palace too."

"I was very excited to see the statues in the National Museum. Also, I enjoyed seeing the statues which the foreigners brought back to Cambodia."

"I learnt about Cambodia’s history through the pictures and the statues."

Social workers:

"I was very happy to see the young people's smiling faces when they saw the Royal Palace."

"The young people learnt and understood well about Cambodia’s history though the pictures and the statues."

"I was very excited to see the young people learn the value of all the statues."

"The children were proud to learn about their heritage and culture."
Other trips that we have run in Phnom Penh:

Group at Royal palace
25th May 2017:
In total 20 children from Mith Samlanh, aged between 11-24 from various marginalised communities in and around Phnom Penh, visited the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum. One of the children said this about their day: "I was happy to see the Royal Palace because I have never been before."
About our partner organisation:
The Intrepid Foundation and Friends-International Partnership – Trip for a Trip

The Intrepid Foundation was set up to provide a way for travelers to give back to the places they’ve been through a range of projects and not-for-profit organisations. Since 2002, we’ve distributed over $6 million to more than 100 projects around the world.

Through a partnership with Friends-International established in 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has raised over AUD $185,000 to support at-risk youth in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Funds have helped provide young people with vocational skills training in tourism and hospitality.

In addition to raising funds for Friends-International through our travelers, we also provide support through travel experiences with Intrepid Travel. On certain tour itineraries, travelers have the chance to visit Friends International’s TREE restaurants (Training Restaurants for Employment and Entrepreneurship). These unique dining experiences provide a way for young trainees to practice their skills while also providing a sustainable income to the restaurants which operate as social enterprises.

Group by gardensWith social worker
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