This Life Cambodia: Ten years keeping families together

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Just over ten years ago, we first met Billy Gorter, Founder and Executive Director of This Life Cambodia (TLC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We still remember his excitement and enthusiasm when he first told us about how he was approached by members of a community just outside the centre of Siem Reap who had big dreams of starting a community centre in their village.
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Moving on – a new chapter begins…

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For the past ten years, the team at Soria Moria Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, have been welcoming guests from all over the world. Whether it’s staying guests, local project partners or the wonderful members of staff, people have always been at the heart of Soria Moria’s business model.

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Dragon Boat Racing 2016 at Bewl Water

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For the third consecutive year, Mekong Experiences and HOPE will join the annual Dragon Boat Racing at Bewl Water. Previous years have provided some amazing displays of paddle power, fun and excitement, with both the actual dragon boat racing and fundraising efforts exceeding expectations. This would not have happened without fantastic support and efforts from the enthusiastic Dragon Boat Team and their friends and families. More than £3,500 has been raised from the dragon boat racing to support local community projects in Cambodia and we envisage another great day out at Bewl Water this year.

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Dragon Boat Racing 2015 at Bewl Water

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Last year’s Dragon Boat Racing at Bewl Water was an amazing display of paddle power, fun and excitement with both the actual dragon boat racing and fundraising efforts exceeding expectations. With fantastic support and efforts from the enthusiastic Dragon Boat Team, more than £2,600 was raised to support local community projects in Cambodia, and we’ll aim to build on last year’s success with a few fun-filled training sessions in preparation for this year’s event for those who are interested.

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Authenticity, Collaboration and Behavioural Change

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World Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London is always a good opportunity to meet up with and learn from colleagues and industry experts from around the world. This year was no exception and the Responsible Tourism Programme had a line up of interesting seminars and speakers with particular focus on animal welfare, authenticity, collaboration, child protection and behaviour change.

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Harnessing Oodlesofdosh through Paddling and Exhaustion

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Dragon boat racing has long traditions in Cambodia with people from all over the country celebrating the Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Tuk) and watching the boat races in Siem Reap, in the provinces and, not least, along Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh which attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The Cambodian Water Festival lasts for (at least) three days, and commemorates the end of the rainy season as well as the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. The English rainy season is rather constant and we’d be surprised if The Thames suddenly should change it’s flow and run upstream from the Thames Estuary, but we’ll brave the English weather and put some serious muscle behind our fundraising efforts in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival at Bewl Water in Kent on Sunday 14 September 2014.

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Epic Arts: Every Person Counts

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Epic Arts is an Inclusive Arts NGO based in Cambodia providing education and opportunities for deaf, disabled and non-disabled people and their parents.

Since it’s initial opening in Cambodia with a few workshops in Phnom Penh, they has grown to include the popular Epic Arts Cafe in Kampot and a purpose built fully accessible Arts Centre. Many of the graduates from their early projects now work for Epic Arts as staff and act as advocates for many young disabled people in Cambodia.

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Soria Moria: A Hotel With a Heart

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As the first employee-owned hotel in Cambodia, the team at Soria Moria has won many prestigious accolades and we are proud to work to work with the local management and staff in continuously trying to improve the ‘Soria Moria Experience’ for guests, staff and local community alike.

The staff have an interesting story to tell too, and if you have the time during your stay they are more than happy to share it with you!

Here’s an introduction to some of the staff you might meet during your stay.

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Harnessing Opportunities through Play and Education

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Knowing a little help can make a big difference, but conscious that the wrong delivery can have negative results, Jo and her fellow trustee, Tanya, put their heads together and set up Harnessing Opportunities through Play and Education (HOPE) as a registered charity in England & Wales with the aim to raise awareness and funds to support existing programmes in Cambodia assisting young people with their education and social development.

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