March 25, 2015
Sometimes you have to take time out to celebrate. Our organization—PCL —revolves around five primary brands: Common Grounds Cafe, Sustainable Farming, Learning Centers, Children’s Homes and Build A City. Each brand experienced huge victories last week. I want to share the results briefly:
- COMMON GROUNDS
Over six years ago we launched a cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to provide jobs and training for Cambodians. The cafe has become self-sustainable, profitable, and now is led completely by Cambodian staff! This week our American manager, Matt Nelson, turned over the reins to Dalath. Dalath has been with us from the beginning of the cafe and will now be the manager, overseeing 15-20 Cambodian staff members. I don’t have space to tell you all of Dalath’s extraordinary story, but we are so proud of him and his family.
- SUSTAINABLE FARMING
We launched a farm in Takam village five years ago to help local Cambodian farmers test new crops, observe best practices, and provide food and income for their families. We have also planted a church, taught several classes, and employed many villagers in micro-business projects. We recently finished construction of a new church building, a children’s church classroom, and started work clearing land for future crops and buildings. This week we began building a fence around the entire property to keep the animals out and initiated construction of a house for our amazing caretakers of the property. The picture below is of some of the progress this week. I am so proud of our farm staff — both American and Cambodian — who work tirelessly to help others.
- LEARNING CENTERS
We have a learning center in Phnom Penh called PCL Management Institute (PMI) that provides a free associate’s degree to young adults from provinces, who would otherwise not be able to afford college. This week we finalized a partnership with Asia Euro University that will allow our students to transfer credits to their University after two years with us. Students will now be able to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree. This is a huge development. I am very proud of our team at PMI that works very hard to care for, and educate, these young adults. A picture of the ceremony finalizing the partnership between PMI and AEU is below.
- CHILDREN’S HOMES
Our kids at our children’s homes continue to thrive—both the home in Phnom Penh and the home in Siem Reap. When our kids graduate high school, we send them to a six-month YWAM experience. After they return from YWAM, we help them either choose a university or vocational training. They are part of our family, so we commit that we will make sure they become successful, thriving young adults. One of our kids is at YWAM now, many are in successful college tracks, some are in vocational training, and within the next few years many more will be leaving our homes to follow their dreams. We are very proud of our kids and the staff who works so hard to develop our children. The first picture below is of our staff in Siem Reap visiting one of our young men in the YWAM program. The second one below is of our kids at Hope Home in Phnom Penh. The third one is of one of our PCL young adults from a village near our children’s home in Siem Reap. She was hired to translate for the US army at the training school for multi-national peacekeeping forces in Cambodia. She is in her sixth year of medical school.
- BUILD A CITY
The Build A City project is continuing to develop. We are rapidly building new homes and a community center. These will be complete for our May 4 dedication of Phase 2 of the project. The last few weeks have witnessed the construction of dozens of new homes. We have also partnered with Habitat for Humanity and will be hosting hundreds of young adults next week who will be volunteering at the construction site. We are thrilled with the progress of the project and the process of moving into the neighborhood, building relationships, and building this community for years to come.