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Riding towards a sustainable future


Grace with the staff at Community Translation Organization, receiving bikes donated by Bikes 4 Life to use for the Community Tours Cambodia social enterprise project.

A Cambodian organisation which empowers Siem Reap communities through education and training has set up a new social enterprise with the help of an Australian volunteer.

In 2014 Grace Hermocilla volunteered at Community Translation Organization (CTO), a local non-government organisation which promotes economic development and community empowerment through projects such as water canal construction, agricultural education, natural resource management, and coaching in business skills.

Grace says the most rewarding part of her volunteer assignment was seeing the successful establishment of the eco-bike tour enterprise, Community Tours Cambodia, which offers tourists a chance to experience the food, history, culture, landscapes and people of Cambodia in an environmentally friendly way. The enterprise is a self-funding scheme, with all profits reinvested into CTO projects that help Cambodia's rural community.

"We have already begun to rent out bicycles daily, attracting tourists from various countries to participate in our city and village tours." Grace says.

Grace has supported staff to develop business plans, provided training on business management techniques and assisted with fostering partnership opportunities with stakeholder groups in Cambodia, Australia and other countries. She has also helped to develop marketing strategies and materials for the business, and trained staff to implement more effective administrative procedures.

In Grace's own words, "It has been very rewarding to witness the establishment of the bike tour enterprise. Social entrepreneurship is a key approach to alleviating poverty as it provides communities with a self-sustainable income, whilst empowering them with essential management and literacy skills, accountability, and highly valuable market opportunities."

star Tips for Volunteers

Cambodian people are a warm and hospitable people. Volunteers are encouraged to make local friends and learn as much as they can from Cambodian culture, as they will certainly be enriched by the experience!

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