We're chuffed that Founder Judith Treanor has been judged a Finalist in the 2017 AusMumpreneur Awards – Social Impact Category.
By working with Social Enterprises and Artisan Groups in S.E Asia Judith says "I am helping to trade women, empowered through training and fair work practices, into a better life, a win-win for everyone."
The AusMumpreneur Awards presented by The AusMumpreneur Network celebrate and recognize Australian Mums in business achieving outstanding success in areas such as business excellence, product development, customer service and digital innovation. The awards are designed to recognize the growing number of women who successfully balance motherhood and business in a way that suits their life and family.
Read more at www.ausmumpreneur.com The winners of the 2017 AusMumpreneur Awards will be announced at a glamorous Awards dinner at Doltone House in Sydney on Friday 25th August.
For more information on the AusMumpreneur Awards visit www.ausmumpreneur.com or contact Peace Mitchell on 0431 615 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To Celebrate Mothers Day we are running a competition to win this Gorgeous Earrings and Necklace Set from Zsiska.
Handcrafted and Unique
Pink Resin and Transparent Resin
Adjustable Necklace and Silver Clip on Earrings
One off Pieces
When you travel to developing countries, you are likely to come across child beggars and sellers. It is natural for you to want to help them, and I can completely understand why you would want to. Back in 2009, on my first trip to Cambodia, I too, bought palm leaf trinkets from a child. However, it is best for the wellbeing of the child that you keep your wallet secure and you don’t give into their selling tactics, for the following reasons:
“I need money for school”, is a common line from child sellers. Maybe they do. Public school in Cambodia runs for half a day, though children usually have to partake in extra classes. However, even if the children ARE in school, do you think they will have the energy to concentrate if they are working in their free time? And once they see they can make money by selling on the streets, they are more likely to drop out, as they and their parents see the value in earning an income over the investment of education. This means that the child is likely to remain uneducated, thus not being able to break the cycle of poverty as they won’t have the skills or knowledge to access gainful, full-time employment in the future
I know two brothers who sell balloons each night at 60 Road, a local hangout for Cambodians. Despite receiving the support from an NGO, they kept on selling. Whenever I saw them, I would ask them, “Where are your parents?”. They would respond, “At home.”. These boys would work from 6pm – 11pm every night (from when they were seven years old) and cycle home in the dark. Their parents were responsible for them, yet they shifted their parental obligations onto the kids.
When we buy from children, their parents see the value in it. They see the money that the children bring home each evening, and realise it is an ‘easy option’ for them to get food on the table. I know that each situation is unique, however we are perpetuating these attitudes and behaviours by buying from children.
Aside from the two points above, there are other risks that child sellers could be exposed to. Sexual predators, trafficking and exposure drugs are just a few. These children are likely to be much better off staying at home or school where the exposure to these risks is reduced.
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to the issues of poverty. However, as you can see from above, buying from children will only aggravate the issue.
Instead of buying from street children, consider supporting local organisations who address the issue of getting kids off the street and into schools.
Or, buy from adults, who are working hard to earn money to support their families. Around Siem Reap you will often see handicapped people who sell books and paintings by themselves, instead of making their children beg for them. Those are the people you can be confident in supporting.
Finally, you can shop at social enterprises who train adults so they have the ability to earn while their children can learn.
What is best for these children is that they have the chance to be kids; to study, to play and to have fun. Not to be working.
This glorious Cambodian temple is sadly overlooked by many, possibly due to the distance (over 70km) from Siem Reap. I have visited Beng Mealea several times over the past few years, and have travelled there by every available method of transport; car, van, truck, tuk tuk, motorbike and even by bicycle. Given the amount of dust on the road, I would recommend travelling to Beng Mealea by car or van, if it is in your budget. The ticket is separate to the Angkor Archaeological Park pass, and costs five dollars, which you will purchase near the temple.
Beng Mealea was built in the middle of the 12th century. It is sadly unrestored and mostly in ruins, though you can walk around the edge and through some of the temple using a wooden walkway. You will find many collapsed galleries and towers, along with piles upon piles of large sandstone blocks covered with moss. Over the years, some areas have been opened up to the public, however on my last visit they were closed off again, making me question the future of this wonderful temple.
Originally built as a Hindu temple (the same as Angkor Wat), it is believed that this temple was converted for Buddhist use due to some carvings depicting Buddhist motifs. You will be amazed by the mass of trees and thick brush growing in and around the temple. If you head to the back, you will also find a peaceful place to swim (be careful though, as it is slippery) with a very small waterfall during rainy season.
Not much is known about this temple, which is a real shame as it would have been magnificent in its original form. What we do know is that the sandstone blocks were most likely transported from Phnom Kulen, a nearby mountain, to the site using artificial water canals.
I would highly recommend a visit to Beng Mealea if you had the time whilst in Siem Reap. You can pack a picnic lunch and dine in the serenity of the bushland surround the temple, or you can pick up some local food in a restaurant across from the temple entrance.
By visiting Beng Mealea, you are paying tribute to the undoubtedly tens of thousands of Khmers who dedicated their lives to building this structure that unfortunately may not stand the test of time. Let’s honour their worthy cause.
You may have seen the title of this Blog and thought, “Whoever wrote this is a Cruel Person, what possible reasons are there that we shouldn't give to Children?”
Believe me, a few years ago, I was the person who took pencils and sweets to distribute to children when I travelled through South East Asia. I thought I was bringing ‘joy’ into their lives. However, as time has gone by, I have realised that this act can actually cause problems, and isn’t the best way to help. With an open mind, I encourage you to read on.
So, as you can see, there are many negatives associated with giving to kids you see on the street, whether it be money, buying baby milk or giving supplies for school. Let me tell you what you can do instead of giving to children directly.
Let’s be responsible travellers and have a positive impact on the communities we visit!
Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent and sacred remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. As a resident of Siem Reap, I love visiting these temples and engrossing myself in the history of the glorious structures. However, I often feel frustrated when I see tourists (and locals, for that matter), engaging in disrespectful and inappropriate behaviour at the temples.
As our founder, Judith, says, “The first time I really encountered the Selfie Stick was at Angkor Wat. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. A bunch of people were taking up all available space videoing themselves in front of the sunset or sunrise - to show to who knows who when they returned home - instead of just experiencing the wonder and the moment. Some were standing so close to the edge up high, so obsessed with taking the perfect shot or video, that I was surprised nobody fell off or perhaps they have, just not that day. It really made me think where are we going with this? Shouldn't we just put the devices down and take in our surroundings and live through our eyes and ears rather than that technology? It's certainly something I'm trying to install in my 12-year-old son Callum who has been lucky enough to travel to incredible places since an early age."
Imagine my joy when the Apsara Authority released an ‘Angkor Code of Conduct’ in several languages. Finally, a way to spread the word about how to act appropriately at Siem Reap’s sacred temples! In case you haven’t heard of this Code of Conduct, the breakdown of good behaviour is below:
Dress code – If people can see your shoulders or knees, it is inappropriate. Leave the tank tops and shorts at your hotel.
Monuments – Avoid touching carvings, leaning on structures (I admit, I had no idea about this, but stopped as soon as I read the Code of Conduct), or taking anything from the temples.
Sacred sites – You are visiting sites that are over 1,000 years old and sacred. Speak softly, calming and avoid disturbing others.
Restricted areas – Yes, I love a good photo opportunity like you do, but you must read all the signs and comply with them. Don’t go where you aren’t supposed to, there are rules for a reason, and usually for the protection of visitors.
Smoking and littering – Angkor is a smoke-free site. Don’t smoke or litter, as we want a clean and safe environment for everyone to enjoy.
Giving to children – Do NOT give candy, money, presents or the like to children. It encourages them to beg and will keep them trapped in poverty. If you were interested in helping disadvantaged people in Cambodia, search for reputable NGO’s to make a donation to instead.
Monks – If you see a Monk, ask before you take a photo (I asked once, and a Monk said no. That was fine, we shouldn’t take photos of people without their permission). If you are female, don’t get too close to a Monk as you risk touching them, which is strictly prohibited.
I urge you to share the very useful Angkor Code of Conduct and make people aware of ways they can respect these ancient structures and preserve them for years to come.
When in Cambodia, the capital city, Phnom Penh, must be visited. It can be overwhelming for some (including the author of this piece), due to the hustle and bustle and frequent robberies. When travelling, whether it be walking, on a motorbike, tuk tuk or car, be sure to hold on tight to your belongings, as the thieves are sly and quick. However, don’t let this deter you from visiting, as there are many beautiful and important historical attractions waiting. The list below can be fitted in around trips to the Russian Market, a walk along the riverside and breaks in the many eateries that Phnom Penh has to offer.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – Also known as ‘S21’, this museum was formerly a school. It was converted into a prison between 1975 and 1979, when the Khmer Rouge took control over Cambodia. The buildings were enclosed with barbed wire, the classrooms were converted into torture chambers, and an estimated 20,000 Cambodians and foreigners were tortured and/or killed in less than four years.
Although it is not for the faint hearted, this museum really is important to see in order to understand more of the horrific past, and just how far Cambodia has developed, though the scars still remain.
Cost: $3USD or $6USD for an audio tour (recommended)
Choeung Ek – Commonly known as ‘The Killing Fields’, this site is a mass grave of victims from the Khmer Rouge. Most of the victims were transported from Tuol Sleng and executed on the site. There is a memorial stupa on the site, filled with more than 5,000 human skulls. There are also pits from which thousands of bodies were exhumed. Just like a visit to S21, you will leave with a heavy heart.
Choeung Ek is approximately 17km from the centre of Phnom Penh, so it is recommended you take a face mask as you will be driving through some dusty areas to get there.
Cost: $6USD which includes an informative audio tour
Wat Langka – Wat Langka is a gorgeous (and clean) pagoda situated close to the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. The pagoda was used as a storehouse during the Khmer Rouge era and therefore managed to avoid total destruction. It is quiet and peaceful, and the stupas are kept in a great condition. While you are there you can take a walk over to the Independence Monument and the Statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Cost: Entry is free
National Museum of Cambodia – This is Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history, and is home to a large collection of Khmer art. There are many statues that have been removed from Cambodian temples, so if you are interested in Angkor Wat, a visit to this museum is a must.
Although photography is not permitted within the museum galleries, you are able to photograph the museum exterior and courtyard.
Wat Ounalom – This is the most significant pagoda in Phnom Penh. Located close to the riverside, it is easy to get to and can be accompanied by a visit to the Royal Palace. Dating back to 1443, it consists of 44 structures. It was damaged during the Khmer Rouge but has since been restored.
Cost: Entry is free, though you may want to bring some small riel to make an offering.
Wat Phnom - Situated on top of a small mountain, Wat Phnom stands approximately 88 metres above ground and is the tallest religious structure in Phnom Penh. Legend has it had a widow found four bronze statues of the Buddha in a tree in the river, then constructed the shrine on the hill to protect the sacred statues. Hence, Wat Phnom was born.