An unforgettable charity night at the fabulous THEAM’S HOUSE

On 6th March our NGO hosted Bayon Charity Night – our annual charity night in Siem Reap. We received a very warm welcome from Maddy of the Theam’s House art gallery and event host. This traditional Khmer house created by designer Lim Muy Theam hosts an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and music instruments made by the artist on site.
For the occasion, we were pleased to have chef Fabrice Prochasson, who holds the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” title. This Chef of Creation at ARYZTA Food visited Cambodia to work with our team to create and prepare an incredible buffet mixing Asian and French flavours.
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For 3 days before the event, the whole pastry team was on fire. Our Chef Sokhoeurn Morn did a great job managing our small team, not used to such big events, to prepare a large buffet. Rigour, adaptation and efficiency were the keywords in the pastry lab! The students worked hard and that night was the opportunity for them to discover what a real ‘a la française’ buffet was. All the Bayon team got involved in organising this event: cooking, parking, reception, selling tickets, photographing…
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As every year, we were grateful to receive the valuable support of many sponsors in Siem Reap, helping with logistics, drinks and ingredients. We would also like to thank all the local businesses that generously offered prizes for the night.
The charity night brought together 133 people and we are proud to have raised $8,500 through the lucky draw and auction sale!
Beyond the fundraising, which is indispensable for our NGO, this event was the opportunity to bring together the ‘friends of Bayon School’ and demonstrate the professionalism and progress or our students.
If you would like to get involved and support our action, you can make a donation here or become a sponsor.
, 27 March 2019

The “green garden” project: our volunteer viewpoint

“For more than one year, nine women get up every day to feed the 250 students of Bayon School in vegetables. Deliveries of products to the Elodie’s canteen, watering, crop maintenance, compost and natural insecticides preparation… their days are very busy! Throughout the plantations, trainings and workshops, they acquire the essential skills to make the project and their personal satisfaction possible.
Engaged full time in this work, it is most of the time in their garden with a spade in hand that I greet them when I come to their place for the weekly visit. Welcomed by a big smile, my arrival is an opportunity for them to stop focusing on their vegetables. Then begins a conversation supported by the translator recruited for the project: checking of the plantation conditions, advices on the type of treatments to choose in case of diseases or insects attacks… Together, we learn daily how to react to unforeseen events due to chemical-free agriculture.
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During each visit we take time to address all topics: supplying seeds, providing small equipment to facilitate the work, reminding the delivery schedule. This technical support is essential but it is only one part of the job. Get news from the families, congratulate them to maintain willingness to continue, share experiences to create a sense of being part of a community, all these little things are part of our mission. Because each family has its own story, each visit has its anecdote. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes everything does not work exactly as we planned or we would like. Thanks to the “green garden” project, we help families living in a difficult environment and naturally we put their needs first.
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This project is more than just a vegetable story! It is the upheaval of these women daily lives and an opportunity for them to gain real responsibilities and dignity through their work.
Each Wednesday, we organize meetings at Bayon Primary School during which our program becomes meaningful. Some are well prepared, others are always late, and each one with their own character, they come to sell their weekly harvest and to get paid for what they have delivered. Then, we elaborate the menu of the following week with the cook of the school. All gathered around a table, we can feel an incredible energy when they proudly announce their upcoming production. This energy provides to each the desire and the enthusiasm to continue and go further. Beyond the cultural differences and the language barrier, I feel we understand each other perfectly. This project is beautiful, gratifying, and fully deserves the effort and resources invested.”

SOKY & CHHEIN:
two women engaged
for the education
of disadvantaged youths.

At Bayon School, social policy is led by M. Thorth Torn, but the field work and analysis is conducted by our two social workers: Soky for primary school and Chhein for pastry school. Both aged 30, they conduct many activities within Bayon School team.
Soky joined our team in 2017. She grew up in a village near Angkor Wat temple and has always lived in Siem Reap. After high school, she wanted to choose a training that could lead to social professions but such studies do not exist in Siem Reap. She therefore joined ACE (the Australian center for foreign language learning) to learn English.
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During that period, she gave English classes at the ABC Center to finance her training. Teaching is something she particularly likes. Her job as a social worker allows her, among other things, to teach students the rules of life in community, good manners and notions of respect, she loves it!
After finishing her studies, she continued working at ABC Center but this time as a social worker. This one-year experience allowed her to gain experience and to discover the various aspects of this complex job. Then, she joined Bayon Education & Development NGO where she first worked with Viseth (social manager until 2018). Soky started providing medical assistance to students and organizing family visits.
After Viseth’s departure, Soky took full responsibility of social actions related to the primary school:
– Conduct family visits, social assessment and review
– Support the recruitment of new students (sharing application file, interviewing families …)
– Coordinate the follow-up program: providing bicycles, uniforms and school equipment at the beginning of each school year, checking monthly absences and results, supporting the vocational guidance, providing medical support if needed …
– Participation in the life of the school (supporting teachers, implementation extra-curricular activities, preventing absences …)
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Even if her day-to-day life is very busy, Soky loves her work and the proximity she has with Bayon students and their families. Family refusal after social selection can sometimes be aggressive for her and it affects her a lot. However, she is able to cope with it because she knows that it allows to ensure the quality of the education set up at Bayon School.
Once every quarter, she organizes a parents’ meeting to inform them about school news, remind them school rules and answer their questions. She loves to help them and it is a real vocation for her, she would not imagine doing another job.
As time goes by, she created relationships with every students and learned about each one behaviors, the positive and also negative ones.
Today, she feels that she has found the balance between authority and closeness. In only two years, she became the point of contact between the students’ parents and the primary school team.
A lot of work has to be done in the following months, especially social evaluation and selection for next school year. M. Thorn and her are also preparing a document formalizing Bayon School recruitment policy.
The whole Bayon team thanks her for her daily commitment, professionalism and willingness.
Bravo Soky!
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A day with Nina at Bayon coffee shop

“No two days are the same at Bayon coffee shop. The café received many customers but also hosts events and projects organised by the Bayon team based in Siem Reap. Every morning when I arrive, the first thing I notice is the delicious smell of croissant and coffee. In the pastry lab, everyone is already busy! One can overhear the oven tick tock and conversations in Khmer, English, French, German, or even Spanish, mixed with the traditional Cambodian music from Sreyleak or Rima’s favourite playlists. Both have graduated from the pastry school and been recruited here at the coffee shop.
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To me, that is a unique work atmosphere! I get working: welcoming clients, preparing orders, clearing tables… What I like most is the contact with people, always willing to know more about our school and NGO. They love glancing at the students and teachers through the huge kitchen window.
Those discussions with customers have supported our charity night which I’ve been much involved with over the last few weeks. I’m always ready to give Sreyleak and Rima a hand. The coffee shop menu has been updated to offer more lunch options. Since then, it’s been crowded at lunch time – our customers’ favourite is the brunch option: 3 sweet or savoury pastries and 2 drinks. At 1pm, it’s my turn to enjoy a good meal. I meet my colleagues and the students in the canteen upstairs for a nice, relaxing time.
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Although the afternoon is quiet at the coffee shop, the students and their teachers are very busy preparing orders for clients in the hospitality sector and preparations for the next days. In February, afternoons have been a bit stressful for the students as they also had their exams. We were pleased to be part of the jury and taste their work, including pastries, croissants and bread, a treat for our taste buds!
Later in the afternoon, a few customers come to enjoy the calm and shade at the coffee shop, after a long day in the temples. At 5:30pm, it’s time to close the coffee shop and wait until the next day for more surprises and lovely people. ”
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Embark on a journey within the pastry school through the eyes of a student and learn the recipes of our signature Khmer and French pastries with our cookbook The Bayon Pastries. You can purchase it here.

THE VISIT OF
SOKHOEURN IN FRANCE

On Sunday 20th February Sokhoeurn was excited to land in Paris. Our former Programme Director, along with Charlotte, Anaïs, Rodrigo, Lucie, and Augustin were at the airport to welcome her. What an emotional moment!
After a warm welcome, Sokhoeurn was quickly taken over by the shock of the temperature – the coldest she had ever felt! She also really enjoyed seeing the snow for the first time and found it “wonderful”.

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After a recovery nap at Laura, a friend of Charlotte’s who kindly hosted her for a few nights, our chef went sightseeing in Montmartre and visited the Sacré-Coeur with the Bayon team.
She spent the next 3 days at the French HQ of Aryzta, global leader in distribution of pastry products.
She collaborated with Fabrice Prochasson, Aryzta’s Director of Creation and Innovation and holder of the renowned “Meilleur Ouvrier de France » title to create savoury and sweet recipes for Bayon School’s charity night happening in Siem Reap next month. She then worked with the Aryzta team on the menus of Sirha, the global gastronomy tradeshow.

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For her last night in Paris, Sokhoeurn was kindly hosted by Marc Bellanger, member of the French board. He taught her how to make a Kougelhof, a great way for her to have fun and relax before embarking on one of the most intense weeks of her life.
On the next day, Sokheourn and the Aryzta team took a train to Lyon for the Sirha tradeshow. On the menu: help with Aryzta’s booth in the morning and take part in cooking competitions in the afternoon.Beyond communicating about Bayon School to French gastronomy professionals, Sokhoeurn had the opportunity to meet famous chefs including Thierry Marx and Gabriel Paillasson.

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After an incredible week, Sokhoeurn went back to Paris for one more day of sightseeing and an evening with the Bayon team. What a night it was! French board members and former volunteers (Charlotte, Baudouin, Tiphaine, Marion, Cécile, Faustine, Mélanie) gathered at our president Vincent Robert’s to have dinner with Sokhoeurn before she flew back to Cambodia.
This trip to France had been a unique experience for Sokhoeurn. She has achieved two of her dreams: take part in a cooking event in France and take a picture with the Eiffel Tower. She hopes she will go back again one day, in the summer.

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, 18 February 2019