Like so many of the people who found employment at the Smiling Gecko Campus today, carpenter Pha Keo (25) began his life in the slums of Phnom Penh. We do everything we can to ensure that it doesn’t end there.
Pha came to us when he was just 16 years old. His family was among the first we trained to be farmers on campus. However, instead of melons and water spinach, Pha is more drawn to handicrafts and so he was extremely happy when we opened our carpentry shop on campus in 2016 based on the Swiss model. Led by Swiss timber construction engineers, practically all of the furniture for the Farmhouse resort is made here. In addition, handicraft products are made for sale in the Farmhouse and the team can now also take on external commissions.
But back to Pha: it was clear from the start: wood and working in a carpentry workshop is his world. The young man was extremely skillful and learned so much in the four years of his training that he can now train himself. We also supported that and made it possible for him to train as a workshop manager.
A great achievement: And not only against the background that he had never had any practical schooling before and it is infinitely more difficult for people like Pha to learn something – it’s learning how to learn.