Founded by Mr. Sokoun Chanpreda, a Cambodian businessman who returned from overseas to invest in the future of his country, the Shinta Mani Foundation is guided by his philosophy of Open Doors, Open Hearts. The Foundation operates today in the three core areas of education, healthcare and direct assistance.
Shinta Mani’s community activities began in 2004 with the opening of the Shinta Mani School of Hospitality on the grounds of Shinta Mani Angkor, a boutique hotel owned by Mr. Sokoun. This innovative program, which received international recognition for its efforts, trained underprivileged Cambodians in aspects of world-class hotel operations on a free of charge basis-providing them the skills to secure employment and to enjoy a brighter future.
Since 2004, more than 229 Khmer students have graduated from the Shinta Mani School of Hospitality and still enjoy employment in the immediate township and local countryside.
This successful blending of non-profit work alongside the hotel’s award-winning for-profit operations attracted such interest and support that by 2006; SHINTA Mani began to explore ways to give back to the greater community. They did this by engaging in community development programs targeting rural families. Shinta Mani sought to empower these families through basic assistance. Over a four-year period, guests of Shinta Mani sponsored over 900 piglets, 800 school supplies, 1330 water wells and 97 homes. TODAY.
In its first six years, The Shinta Mani Foundation achieved measurable success in education and livelihood assistance resulting in meaningful change in the lives of individual families and for the community. These accomplishments led the founders to explore new ways to ensure that the efforts and support generated thus far would continue far into the future.
In 2011, all such community projects were unified under an independent and locally registered (Cambodian) not-for-profit organization known as the Shinta Mani Foundation. The Shinta Mani Foundation oversees The Development Center located within the grounds of the Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap and has expanded its programs to provide healthcare and support small business start-ups.
Cambodia has one of the largest populations of unskilled youth in all of South East Asia. To address this situation, The Shinta Mani Foundation assists young people in the Siem Reap community by providing them with the skills to obtain meaningful employment to support themselves and their families. Students generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and all students are selected based on their desire to learn and improve their skills.
The Development Center educates students for ten months. During this time, they receive free tuition, uniforms, materials, and bicycles, as well as two meals a day. They also receive a small stipend of rice and money to help support their families. Housing is provided to students on a limited basis and all students are supported through generous donations from guests at Shinta Mani and other supporters. All students learn English as well as general life skills. Students specialize in one of the departments of the hotel, including culinary, front office, housekeeping, maintenance, restaurant, and spa therapy.
In September 2013 the Shinta Mani Foundation expanded its training program by setting up the Farming Development Center with the goal of enhancing the lives of young Khmer villagers living in the countryside surrounding Siem Reap. The Shinta Mani Foundation Farming Development Center teaches its trainees the most effective farming techniques to grow organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well to raise chickens, ducks and pigs. Our mission extends to supporting our graduates to start and maintain their own farms as a sustainable means to rise out of poverty.
SMALL BUSINESS START-UP
The Shinta Mani Foundation provides interest-free, small-business loans to local entrepreneurs so they may start a business. Recipients of “start-up” sponsorship do not receive money from SMF. They receive the materials needed to start their business.
They also attend basic business classes in order to manage and grow their business. Repayments of loans are then utilized by the Shinta Mani Foundation to fund future borrowers. In this way the Foundation is able to continue the cycle of development with the goal of establishing a network of micro-enterprises within the community.
The Shinta Mani Foundation supports Cambodian doctors and visiting medical professionals to provide medical check-ups in rural areas.
As medical costs are some of the most debilitating expenses for families in Cambodia many do not receive adequate care and attention.
We believe that promoting preventive health measures such as educating rural Cambodians on the proper use of mosquito nets, as well as supporting those who have immediate medical issues, is necessary to ensure the entire community’s long-term development. We do this by supporting and partnering with local health organizations.
The Shinta Mani believes in food safety and seeks to establish a model farming practice. Through a partnership with the World Vegetable Center and USAID we have established an experimental farm to test more hardy varieties of traditional Khmer crops. We are growing vegetables that grow better, are more pest resistant, and do better in extreme weather conditions. But, we are doing so, without the aid of pesticides and an excess of fertilizers. Instead we are using age old practices of specific seed selection combined with crop rotation and natural pest repellants like planting Marigolds or using Citronella extracts to ward off pests.
We hope that by modeling sustainable and ethical farming practices (that we also teach to local families through our Home Garden project), we can change the growing culture and inspire people to eat healthier sustainable produce.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Shinta Mani Foundation welcomes short-term volunteers who would like to contribute their time and skills to our organization.
Short term volunteers can assist students of The Development Center to become more confident in their interaction with foreigners. Volunteers can teach short lessons, play educational games or have a conversation with students outside of classroom hours when students relax in the Bill Bensley Library and Computer Lab. Longer stay volunteers are sought for medical guidance, culinary instruction and staff training.
Please contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about volunteer opportunities. Generous donations from current and former guests of Shinta Mani Angkor represent the primary source of support for The Shinta Mani Foundation. We look forward to welcoming you.