Future Factory, Phnom Penh
The core problem in most of the developing countries in Asia is poverty. All the other issues are interlinked with poverty, and putting an end to this would solve a lot of problems. Cambodia isn’t any different when it comes to poverty, the country is plagued with poverty, and people with goodwill are trying their best to put an end to this problem. Easier said than done, poverty is such an issue it doesn’t seem to perish anytime soon.
But that didn’t stop Friends-International, a very popular restaurant chain in Phnom Penh to try and make a living for street kids. That didn’t stop The Intrepid Foundation from supporting projects that will help replenish poverty. Together, they have recently formed a new initiative, known as the ‘Future Factory’, a place that would make sure at least 52 youth who are at-risk, can get a future, break the poverty cycle and live meaningfully.
Imagine a community space with live music, good food, exhibitions alongside bars and indie shop markets. Sounds amazing, no? This is the plan for the Future Factory. It is set to be a cultural center in Phnom Penh, and will soon be the center of a lot of attention once it starts going on full flow. But before predicting, first, let’s know a bit about the ones who took the initiative.
Read more: Cambodia Holidays
‘Friends’ is, if not the best, one of the most beloved restaurants in all of Cambodia. Not just because they serve the best tapas in the world, or that they have creative cocktails. No, it’s not the otherworldly smoothies as well. It’s their humanitarian work that made them quite famous in the Cambodian urban culture.
What they do, is that they offer street children a chance to earn their livelihood in a respected way. They train the street kids about cooking and hospitality, and many of the kids turn out to be good chefs when they grow up. The vocational training at both their social enterprise restaurants, Romdeng, and Friends the Restaurant. The kids there learn various skills like barber and beauty salon skill, the art of food service, the motorbike mechanism- things like that. They can then take apprenticeships and pursue their careers when they grow up.
What exactly is the Future Factory?
Supported by the Intrepid Foundation, Future Factory is a project for the at-risk youth to learn hospitality skills in a decent, safe environment. In the previous successful initiatives taken by the Friends restaurant, the street kids were given apprenticeships and different lessons on various work by experienced professionals. But they were not given any shelter, which is a massive problem for these street kids. This Future Factory will solve that problem, it will provide a good, safe shelter for all the trainees.
The Factory will first offer its trainees lessons on different meals and drinks. For the first year, the project will try to support at least 52 youths from the at-risk group through intensive training, lessons, and apprenticeships. Like the other restaurants owned by Friends-International, this one will also be a social enterprise.
The process is really simple, though. The project will offer cocktail-making training and other cooking procedures and the kids will learn and eventually turn out to be a chef or a bartender themselves. The tourists will dine and drink here, have the taste of authentic Cambodian culinary, a good cocktail and see how the at-risk youth are overturning their dark future. They can also grant money for the betterment of more street kids, for the grant will be used to train more of them. However, it doesn’t end here. With more grants there will be at least two more social enterprise restaurants, creating more opportunities for the at-risk youths.
What are the plans for ‘Future Factory?
One of the reasons why the Future Factory concept is so well-praised is that it encourages Co-living and using the public spaces on the grounds for a living. There are three projects regarding this. One is to transform an unused medical space into a cafe and a training school where the kids will learn about hospitality. The second one is to remove a gable wall, create a small street and fill it with small food trucks and carts to instantly create a booming food market. The third one is the largest space, it used to be a bicycle factory. Here they will create the first floor for supporting new social enterprises and use the ground floor to turn into a marketplace. That way, the trainee kids can use their barber and tailor training to work.
Cambodia doesn’t have a lot of public space, so this factory will be a good example of how to utilize open and green spaces. The idea is to make people understand the benefit and goodwill of social enterprises and act accordingly.
Why should tourists visit Future Factory?
There are two very valid reasons for tourists to have a look at the future factory. The first one is obvious, who would want to miss out on authentic Cambodian food, right?
Future Factory will provide a food and drinking experience that is authentic and unique at the same time. The visitors will be allowed to taste sample cocktails made from local ingredients, fresh out of the farms. The wide range of Cambodian dishes will surely not disappoint you, and the ambiance adds to the beauty of the food.
Finally, the training in the Future Factory will mostly include cooking and cocktail experiences. The trainers there don’t call it lessons or training, they mention it as an experience. That brings us to the second reason for tourists to come. Many tourists contributed to this noble cause before, and it would be amazing for them to see actually what they contributed for. They will get to eat food prepared by the trainees, they will know about the hardship, the struggle. To have a unique insight on social enterprises, Future Factory visit is a must for the tourists.