Saturday, August 25, 2007


Today we spent some time with Trevor who runs Yejj. Trevor is an entrepreneur whom God has used here to set up some amazing opportunities for young people. Ratanak recently funded a new program that Yejj started called the Yejj Hospitality Training Centre. It provides training in hygiene, cookery, housekeeping and English skills, to up to 180 students per year, so that they have access to sustainable, long term employment and careers in Cambodia. Some of the young people who attend here may have been girls who were formerly sexually exploited. It may not seem like much to us in the west, but it gives girls the opportunity to gain skills given their limited education. Most of the girls's education levels initially range from Grade 1 to Grade 6 so much of the training is also done through pictures and provides practical hands on applicaiton. But this is just one program.

Yejj also has a vocational training school that also provides cross training so that young people can learn English and computers that will position them to get jobs both within the NGO world as well as regular businesses. Specifically, Yejj has developed The Cisco Networking Academy Program, a comprehensive e-learning program that provides students with technology skills essential in a global economy. Courses deliver web-based content, online assessment, student performance tracking, hands-on labs and preparation for industry standard certifications

One of the other ways Yejj has expanded is through Cafe Yejj which provides western food and is located near one of the infamous tourist shopping markets. It offers skills training and employment in catering and hospitality, especially to women from ‘at risk’ and vulnerable backgrounds.

For me personally I love this model as it speaks much to the business as missions model that so many people have talked about but few have been successful at implementing. It is holistic in nature, seeking to minister to the social needs and economic needs in this country and yet by its very being, its focus is to enhance the lives of young Cambodians by equipping them to be all whom God has created them for. Yejj like any other for profit businesses is not with its challenges but more and more as the Cambodian economy grows and develops, Yejj has established a niche business that has a sustainable business model. Donors act like venture capitalists here giving seed money to help Yejj set up its businesses but the longer term view is for each business to be profitable and sustainable. So far, Yejj has shown that this is possible. May the Lord continue to show His creativity through innovative organizations like Yejj who seek to impact lives by offering opportunities to the most vulnerable in societies in order that they may have a hope and a future.

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