旅行日期: 2016/06/05 21:00
Be the Change You Want to See in the World
Tonight is our first night in Siem Reap and we enjoyed the night with a rewarding visit to Phare The Cambodian Circus. We were received by their Sales and Marketing Manager, Craig, who told us a great deal about Phare, its social mission and the major challenges faced by social enterprises in Cambodia. We highly recommend this wonderful show to everyone who visit Siem Reap!
The circus is operated by Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE), whose mission include offering employment opportunities with reasonable pay to less fortunate Cambodian youth and contributing to the development of Cambodian modern art via financially sustaining its parent organization Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) NGO school. PPS found an art school after the fall of Khmer Rouge by 9 children and their art teacher seeking to use art therapy to help the underprivileged children in Battambang step out of the shadow of the war. PPSE was found in 2013 to operate the circus and provide PPS students a place to use their skills to earn a dignifying wage.
We shared our previous working experiences in social enterprises, as well as our opinion on the development of social enterprises in Hong Kong. Social enterprise has become increasingly popular concept around the world and yet they face many challenges in their operation. One wouldn’t be surprised to find that social enterprises in a developed city like Hong Kong and in a less developed country such as Cambodia are quite different. In Cambodia, many existing social enterprises are established based on the mission to provide more training and job opportunities to the youths in Cambodia. In tourism-dominant cities like Siem Reap, most social enterprises appeal to foreign tourists with their high quality offerings and social mission. Such organisations are very common in the city center of Siem Reap, including Phare, Haven, Artisans Angkor, New Leaf Café and many others. Social enterprises in Hong Kong, on the other hand, serve for broader varieties of more specific purposes. For example, one of our teammates worked in Fair Employment Agency, which is a social venture start-up targeted at helping the foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Another example of social ventures in Hong Kong include Soap Cycling, which recycle and give used soaps from hotels to those who need them the most.
While the social missions of social enterprises in Hong Kong and Cambodia may be different, they both face similar challenges: how to stay financially sustainable. Social enterprises are established to solve social problems that may not be solved efficiently by the government or NGOs. In doing so, social enterprises usually incur higher costs in providing better wages and welfare to the employees and being responsible to the environment. Therefore, they must pay extra attention in increasing the sources of revenue to cover such costs. Phare has done a very good job in this regard by aggressive promotion through social media and travel websites like tripadvisor. In just 3 years, Phare has built a wonderful reputation among those who visited Siem Reap and as a matter of fact, we came across Phare via a tripadvisor post ourselves!
We are the most touched by Craig’s sharing of the stories of two previous employees of Phare who are currently interning at Cirque du Soleil, one of the most astound and famous circus worldwide. One of them even launched a permanent contract with the circus and will be travelling to many countries with the circus for performance. We are deeply moved by the fact that not only does Phare offer dignifying job to those underprivileged youths, it actually opened up many more opportunities for these youngsters who would otherwise work in a rice field or selling souvenirs to tourists outside Angkor Wat. Phare did more than just helping these youths but empowering them to follow their dreams and sore high.
After the delightful chat with Craig, we stayed for the exciting and amazing performance by Phare. Instead of traditional circus performance where performers do their tricks separately, the performance features a storyline based on Cambodian culture. The show we watched was Eclipse and here are some snapshots for the highlights of the show as a teaser.
Wonderful performance from two lovely ladies at Phare!
Phare combined traditional Cambodian music with circus performance to give its audience an unexpected and spectacular show!
After the show, we were given the opportunity to hang out and chat with the performers. We shared with them some traditional Hong Kong food we brought with us and in exchange they infected us with their happiness and energy! Say HELLO to the Phare performers!
Although they may not know it, these vibrant and energetic youngsters have moved each and every member of the audience. Phare may not be the most profitable company nor the most famous circus in the world but in one way or another, it is changing the lives of both the performers and the audience. As a lesson to those who dream to change the world for the betterment of our society, Be the Change You Want to See in the World!