The Mad Monkey hostel and all its greatness!
In my search for a hostel in Kampot, Cambodia I came across a hostel called The Mad Monkey. Other travelers had told me of it but this was the first I had seen of it on my computer screen. Okay my iPhone screen, because let's be real, backpackers don't travel with laptops.
The Mad Monkey.
While checking out the reviews to this place I came across a section that caught my eye. Something that I also fully support!
The arts, the environment and the community!
EPIC ARTS CENTER AND OTHER LOCAL EDUCATORS
the Epic Arts center is a non government organization (NGO) and one of the charities The Mad Monkey assists in the local community. The NGO is an art center that offers education to underprivileged children in Kampot, both disabled and non-disabled. They also work in the UK and China.
Not only does the NGO have an art center but they also run a gift shop and in another location a cafe. Gifts in their shops range from paintings, screen printed shirts, tea towels, hand bags, wallets and so much more!
The Epic Arts cafe.
My last of 3 meals there. Don't worry I shared these dishes with a friend! It was amazing and only $6 each for all this and a slice of apple pie that's not shown.
The cafe is amazing, serving delicious and reasonably priced food. Both the cafe and the shops provide jobs to the disabled. Non-disabled people are also a part of this organization and you will find children at the arts center.
The Epic Arts gift shop.
In addition to raising money for school programs, The Mad Monkey has helped in other ways. In 2014 they provided $750 to Epic Arts to buy a large Tuk Tuk that transports those students
who live in the countryside.
3 Tuk Tuk's taking a break in town. The ones bought for the schools would look something like these.
With a frequent "Crawl 4 School" bar crawl and other fundraising events The Mad Monkey is helping!
The Mad Monkey had also helped other primary schools.
For example, in 2014 a
screen press was donated to the Rabbit School which provides education to children with intellectual disabilities. It's a school that specializes in educating children with disabilities and providing therapeutical activities for them. Children learn at their own pace here and work towards integrating into the community.
The press is used to teach students how to create crafts that can be sold to help fund the school. Photo courtesy of The Mad Monkey website.
The Mad Monkey employs
a diverse range of staff, some of whom were students at The Rabbit Scool. The hostel is also one of only three registered businesses in Cambodia that actively recruits the disabled. Hopefully more buisness will soon follow their lead.
Mad Monkey also helped fund the purchase of a Tuk Tuk for the Sala Monkey School. a non profit that provides free education for poor families in the area. This school depends on donations to stay open. The Tuk Tuk that was bought is also used for tours to tourists in the afternoons. In the evenings a taco stand, all ways to generate more money for the school.
Have you ever heard of garbage dump children?
Photo courtesy of google image.
I learned about them 2 years ago when I friend decided to go teach English in the Philipeans. I didn't realize this was happening beyond those islands. Including Cambodia! Feel free to google this and see more of the disturbing images and read some astonishing facts! I just did, regarding Cambodians youth. It only made me want to help!
A New Day Cambodia (ANDC)
is a non profit that provides shelter, food, and education to Cambodians garbage dump children.
There is a dump outside of Phnom Penh that was started over 40 years ago. The dump is over 100 acres and the waste is piled more than five meters deep. Over 3000 "waste pickers" live and work at this particular dump site.
Just some of many "waste pickers" in the Cambodian dump. Photo courtesy of Google image.
The garbage releases so much methane gas that the dump has been nicknamed "smokey mountain". Fires and explosions are a regular occurance due to the gas, sewage fumes.
Living up to the nick name "Smokey Mountain". Photo courtesy of Google image.
The adverse health conditions are of course increasing disease and death for the garbage dump children. The children don't have proper shoes if they have shoes at all, their clothes are often black from the waste and they usually cut themselves on glass and needles. There is no clean water to wash their hands before eating or to wash their dishes. Their food consists of mostly rice and noodles. They make about $1 a day. This is a life that words can't even describe!
Much like The Rabbit School, The Mad Monkey hostel supports the ANDC and hires their students. This provides a safe and supervised work environment and
training in the hospitality industry that will help them find future employment.
CLEAN WATER WELL PROJECT
Water in SE Asia is bad.
A person must walk 2.3km a day to collect clean water and 20% of child deaths under the age of 5 is a result of unclean drinking water. 60% of rural Cambodians do not have access to clean drinking water.
The Mad Monkey got involved with the water wells when a monk named San Van visited their Seim Reap hostel and blessed it.
Garden fresh cabbage made possible from the new water wells.
This monk's organization is called Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children. It's constructing clean water wells to improve the water quality in the area. It costs $230 to construct one of these wells through the organization.
The Mad Monkey is helping to fund more of these wells in order to help a larger area of the communities.
Since June 2014 The Mad Monkey has funded 130 wells and 121 are already built and working.
Another water well being completed. Photo courtesy of The Mad Monkey website.
The Mad Monkey treats their employees well! Their salaries are higher than typical with a 30% salary increment within the first year of employment for most staff. They have an employee review every 6 months. There is
maternity leave for both men and women.
Each employee receives at least 1 healthy meal per day. In addition, employees enjoy paid
holidays, paid sick leave, health care, an education allowance to learn English and basic computer skills.
Two Mad Monkey emolyees I befriended. They are demonstrating a movement I taught them. Strength training with body weight. They were so happy and eager to learn fitness tips from me.
The more time I spent at The Mad Monkey reading up and asking questions the more impressed I was. they do a lot of good and support several community organizations.
I spent four nights that flew by and that wasn't
enough time! I loved the place! The town was beautiful and relaxed, unlike a few cities I had recently been to.
All the good that the hostel does makes me want to find ways to help this country as well. Cambodia needs a bright future to look forward to and thankfully The Mad Monkey is helping towards that direction.