The Trailblazers Foundation- Siem Reap, Cambodia (Jan 13)

by tkos on January 23, 2013

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Despite a decade of growth (1994-2004), poverty in Cambodia remains high at 38%. Siem Reap (the province where Trailblazer bases most of its projects) is one of the three poorest provinces of Cambodia with almost half (45%) of its residents considered poor. *World Bank statistics July 2006.

Trailblazer Foundation is currently working specifically within Angkor Thom, Prasat Bakong and Puok districts of Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Their work area encompasses a 60 kilometer radius from their work site in Siem Reap City. They practice a sustainable, community-focused style of development, which is a low cost and long-term solution to alleviating poverty and increasing the quality of life in a sustainable manner. Rural villagers, the project beneficiaries, set the agenda by identifying their greatest challenges; water is a typical priority because it allows people to irrigate, bathe and drink. They then provide appropriate technology (locally built, affordable and easily maintained) and training which ensures villagers┬┤ success in the projects and allows Trailblazer to eventually exit the stage.

IMG_1167In addition to focusing on water, we found Trailblazers to pioneer the way through alternate farming. With a growing diversity in cultures throughout Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and with the increasing palate of tourists and ex-pats alike, director Scott Coates doesn’t want the locals to miss out. Scott has set up oyster mushroom farms with minimal space and cost. He has also experimented in growing different types of lettuce, herbs, carrots and edamame beans. The challenge now is to convince the local farmers to try to grow these ‘alternative’ vegetables and enjoy the significant profit margins they come with!

We were extremely impressed with the set up of Trailblazers in Siem Reap and would strongly recommend people to visit and/or volunteer to learn more about the issues in Cambodia.

Siem Reap is so much more than Angkor Wat and Pub st and Trailblazers is a great place to start.

Check the website for more details.

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