The Star Bakery Community Scheme: Turning people with potential into people with jobs

Even when working under the midday sun and the smoke of Phnom Penh’s noxious and notorious rubbish dump, Rorn Kosal, 21, a scavenger in a jobless family, dreamt of a ‘bright future’. In his vision he would have a job and it would be not just any job. It would be one in which he could cook; his ‘favourite skill’. His friend, 20 year old Sarith, a former subsistence farmer whose schooling fell victim to his poverty but who loves “history books” and is desperate to support his family, shared the same impossible dream; to learn to cook “and work in a great restaurant.”

Dynoeurn, from a family of 8 that has “not enough food and no work” knew that training might be the stepping stone to a job – maybe even a supervisor’s job – in the restaurant business in which he would be “a real chef”. And Sarun, at 19 the youngest in the group, as he hunted the mountain of rotting refuse which was his only source of income, hoped that life could be more than existence on a rubbish dump in an alcohol-afflicted family and dared to dream that he might one day walk the floor, clean and competent, as “a restaurant manager”.

In the recent past these were only dreams but now the Star Bakery’s Community Outreach Program has given all of these young men the basic tools they need to build their own futures and start climbing towards their goals. This training scheme is aimed at youngsters from the dump communities who are not otherwise involved with CCF and puts them through an intensive 3 month front-of-house and basic catering course. In these busy months their application to work, ability to learn and willingness to push themselves are all shaped and tested. These young men’s well earned success on this program has brought them Certificates and satisfaction, but much more importantly it has brought them all, thanks to CCF’s job placement project, real jobs in real catering businesses.

Once united only in their poverty and the bleakness of their career prospects, they are now united in achievement. They brought ability and determination to the course. CCF gave them knowledge and skills. The combination, and the jobs they now have, gives them a chance to make their dreams come true

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