Help Your Herd - COVID-19 resilience fund for Siem Reap social venture Baby Elephant
Imagine how you would support your family as you fight the injustices and scars of civil war, carry the burden of debts with high interest, and play the role of sole income provider for an entire extended family - all in a country where the development index remains dangerously low.
This is the reality facing the people employed by Baby Elephant Group in Siem Reap, Cambodia every day. Now add the immensity of the Covid-19 economic crisis. The pandemic has seen tourism drop more than 98% - effectively decimating our normal service income. International borders remain largely closed, airlines aren't flying and the global tourism industry is reeling.
In Cambodia, there is no stimulus package. Support from the government to keep people employed goes only to employees of hotels which closed already, and at $40 (not even a month - a one-time payment) is nowhere near enough to live on.
Every day more hotels and service industry businesses close. We are in fact possibly the only property to have stayed open the entire time for the express purpose of keeping our staff employed, and providing a safe space for our community. We are deeply saddened every time we hear of another business closing - because each time it throws hundreds more people into living and financial situations that no one should be in.
This is also what makes us determined to keep going and find solutions until tourism recovers.
For more than five years Baby Elephant has welcomed guests to the Kingdom of Wonder whilst providing an ethical workplace for their Cambodian team. Growing from one employee in 2015 to a team of 30+ dedicated hospitality and tourism professionals.
Our model is to use profits generated from tourism to create sustainable, empowered jobs and thereby work to eradicate poverty.
Our projects are Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, BE Happy Guesthouse, Sugar Spa & Yoga Space. All of which support sustainability, circular economy and elevate people out of situations of human trafficking and extreme hardship into real, meaningful careers.
We urgently need funds to survive.
When this crisis first hit, we faced the difficult decision of whether to stay open or close until tourism returned. We knew we would almost certainly be losing money every month either way, but by remaining open we could keep our staff employed, as well as continuing to pay the drivers, suppliers and contractors who rely on us as well.
We don't know when things will return to anything approaching normal, but our plan is still to remain open for as long as we possibly can, and hope that we will survive this crisis and keep our staff employed.
The situation in Siem Reap is still extremely difficult. While Cambodia has fortunately not seen high numbers of Covid cases, the economic effect brought about by the almost total disappearance of tourism has been disastrous. It is virtually impossible for most businesses that rely on tourism to remain open without running at a significant loss. We are seeing more businesses permanently close every week, and more and more people are out of work.
This is why we are continuing to fight.
We are still fighting to ensure our team is financially supported and we remain open. Will you help us?
Until tourism and hotel bookings return, our ability to support our team and community is in jeopardy.
By supporting us, you will ensure that people here in Siem Reap, Cambodia, can continue to meet their daily needs their own way - by having a job and income.