Reasons of changing fields from volunteer to internship at social enterprise in Cambodia

[:ja]山崎[:][:en]Hikari[:] [:ja]ひかり[:][:en]Yamazaki[:]

by Hikari Yamazaki


From educational support to social business: Two reasons of challenging internship in Cambodia

I’m Hikari Yamazaki. I took a gap year from the year 4 and I am working as an intern at href=”” target=”_blank”>kru khmer, a company that produces and sells spa products with Cambodian ingredients, for one year.

In this experience story I will tell you how I thought of participating in a long-term internship in Cambodia, the reasons, and what kind of work I am currently doing as an intern.

The relationship between I and Cambodia so far

The encounter with Cambodia was just after entering university.
Although I was interested in international cooperation from the time of junior high school students, I did not act in particular, I thought that I would go to the site and start activities when I entered university.

As soon as I enrolled, I encountered a new celebration of a student NGO which is supporting education in Cambodia and decided to enter as it is.
Although it was a coincidence, perhaps I had some kind of connection to Cambodia like the stage of internatinal cooperation books I first read was Cambodia.

The NGO are providing educational support based on rural villages in Kampong Cham province and I visited Cambodia four times by the fall of the third year of university.
Either stay was less than two months. While keeping thinking back on what I had left behind in that short period, I came back to Japan with a desire to be dragged back every time.

From education support to social business: Two reasons why I decided to join an internship in Cambodia

From education suppor to social business: Two reasons why I decided to join an internship in Cambodia

The first reason I decided to join an internship in Cambodia, that is “To embody the form of different support”.

I visited Cambodia every time the university’s long vacation, my affection to Cambodia became completely increased. On the other hand, I realized the problem that volunteer education support can not solve, especially the importance of employment.

As I majored in developing countries and social business at university, I thought that I wanted to work with Cambodians at the site of social business actually, I wanted to embody forms of support through business different from volunteers.

The second reason is that “To tell the Japanese people the charm of Cambodia”.

Most of the report about Cambodia in Japan are related to ‘Poverty’ and ‘Landmine’.
I felt regret that there were many people with negative images in Cambodia, including people around me.
The Cambodians I have met at the village have a strong living ability, have wonderful wisdom, there are many people who are plain but living a rich life.
There was a desire to be able to tell Japanese people the wonderful things in Cambodia.

So I remembered kru khmer which I happened to visit in the summer of college 1st year.
Activities in which Japanese and Cambodian people equally advance towards the same goal and purpose, and the activity that customers can experience the wonderful material in Cambodia was very attractive.

I applied for the internship at kru khmer for the above two reasons.

To do long-term internship

To do long-term internship

I have in charge of a spa, SPA KHMER which kru khmer opened last year. At the beginning of the internship, I just did my tasks my best like the unfamiliar guest relationship, communication and instruction in Khmer language, teaching Japanese for staff and so on.

It is a nostalgic thing now that honest Cambodian staffs told me that I was inferior to past interns than Khmer language ability and I was really depressed.

Currently, I am given the goal of “Improve sales by 120% compared with the previous fiscal year”, “Improve customer satisfaction” as a company, “Enhance foundamental skills for business” as interns, and am in charge of two new projects.
I have never experienced current jobs, such as communication in business, guest relationship, spa operation, public relations, marketing and education for staff.

However, I think it’s unique to the long-term internship that following the PDCA cycle, “planning with own power → carrying out the plan → trying to make the problem visible → trying out a new method”, without fear of failure.

So I will keep doing my best to achieve the goals.

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