SALA BAÏ, training at the heart of development

Fighting poverty through the training and then placing young underprivileged Cambodians in professional employment was behind the creation of the Sala Baï hotel school at Siem Reap in 2002.

The program

A development program created and run by APLC, Sala Baï is a school in hospitality aimed to train each year, free of charge, around 100 young underprivileged Cambodians. After 15 years in operation, more than 1500 students have been trained and found a job in the fastest growing economic sector of the country, enabling them to achieve economic independence and improving the living conditions of their families.

The students

To join Sala Baï, candidates must meet several criteria: come from disadvantaged families, be between 17 and 23 years old, have a minimum educational level of grade 6 and be highly motivated.

A priority is given to girls (70%), more vulnerable and with low access to education and stable employment.

How does the program work?

The student’s recruitment, run by Sala Baï social workers, is a 4-step process: application and registration, written exams to evaluate the ability of the candidates to read and write in Khmer, family visits to check the social and economic family background and personal interviews with trainers to ensure the candidate’s motivation.

The training program lasts 11 months and offers 5 different subjects: Restaurant, Cooking, Front Office, Housekeeping and Beauty Therapy since 2015.

The program includes theory (technical skills, English language, general education and “soft skills”) and practice at school or during their internship in our partner hotels.

The training is completely free of charge. The school covers all the training fees (lessons, school supplies, books, uniforms), and daily expenses (accommodation, food, bicycles, insurance and medical expenses) for all the students.

The 12th month is dedicated to job searching. Social workers assist the students to find their first employment: 100% of them find a job within the month.

Sala Bai Program Impact

The diploma awarded at the end of the training is recognized and co-signed by two Cambodian Ministries: Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and Ministry of Tourism.The training program is also recognized as being efficient by the main local actors of the hospitality industry. 

The training and the diploma are real assets to finding a job. Today, 100% of the students find a job within 1 month after their graduation and have an entry level salary that equals 3 times more than the family average income. Consequently, the students can support their families and can allow their brothers and sisters to continue their education. 

Founded in 2014, The Sala Baï Family is a network of former students. It allows the school to follow the former students in their career and to establish lifelong relationships and solidarity between them and the school.  

Team work

The Sala Baï team is entirely Cambodian with 25 employees.

► 13 teachers and trainers:

  • 8 technical trainers
  • 4 English teachers
  • 1 French and Mathematics teacher who also works as a Social Worker

► 5 social workers, responsible for the selection of students, the schooling follow-up, finding internships and permanent jobs. They are also in charge of the general education curriculum. They train and follow the students who are seeking employment (helping to write their CV, mock interviews) and inform them on the work and pay conditions.

► 8 support functions: one Accounting Manager, one Administrative Assistant, one Sales & Communication Assistant, 2 Housemaids, 1 Cook for the canteen and 2 Guards.  

Seven of them are former students from Sala Baï. After several years of experience in hotels, they really wanted to come back to school to pass on what they have learnt during their career and to help others who are young, and like them, come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This local team can count on the management support of 3 French volunteers. The volunteers, who have a two-year contract, give technical and management assistance to the local team. They provide training and support where it is needed. At present, this aid includes management training, pedagogy, communication, and fundraising.

Thanks to its action, Sala Baï contributes to…

...The setting up and development of vocational training, the development of responsible tourism and the decrease of poverty and human trafficking in Cambodia.

You can also be part of their training!

The training hotel and restaurant are places of essential learning, activity and work experience. Open to the public, guests and visitors also help to finance a part of their training. 

By having lunch in the Sala Baï training restaurant or staying overnight in the training hotel, you will experience Cambodia in another way. So do not wait to discover Sala Baï School and book your room or lunch now!


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Together we can fight poverty

through education and vocational training