WiTR sets €15,000 target to support vulnerable women in Cambodia

By Charlotte Turner |

WiTR-2019-charity-Friends-International-leadWomen in Travel Retail (WiTR) is choosing to support Friends International – in particular its scheme which offers vulnerable young women in Cambodia, beauty salon training courses  in its latest fund-raising activity which will culminate in a WiTR meeting, once again in Cannes, during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference.


In its second year as a fully-fledged membership organisation for women in the travel retail industry, the members of Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) were invited to nominate charities for support in 2019.


With a number suggested to choose from, members opted for a programme nominated by Colleen Morgan of The Moodie Davitt Report. Run in Siem Reap, Cambodia, by established charity Friends International, it gives beauty salon training to young women aged 16-24, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation and provide for their families, work in safe place and learn customer-oriented skills in a real work environment.


Marginalised female youth in Cambodia continually face many barriers to access employment, including lack of education and the ability to pay for training. Often living on the streets, they are forced to work in hazardous occupations such as construction, scavenging, sex work or begging; leaving them vulnerable to health risks and abuse.



“The €15,000 target that we have set ourselves will fund places for young women on the beauty vocational training program,”says WITR chair Sarah Branquinho. “This runs for eight months and has a curriculum that provides market-aligned quality technical skills within a classroom environment and within recognised beauty and nail training salons.”



Run in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Friends International program gives beauty salon training to young women aged 16-24.

“Equally important, the program also offers psycho-social counselling, basic literacy and numeracy, Khmer and English lessons, as well as a significant focus on soft skills: personal development via confidence-building, emotion and stress management, along with collaborative working skills.”


The program also links students to a full range of basic social services such as medical referrals to hospitals, support to obtain legal documents (as many Khmer children and youth born after the Khmer Rouge ruling do not own birth certificates for example), a meal each day, transport to and from training, as well as short-term housing if required.


After graduating, the students progress to FI’s Futures Office where employment experts help the students secure employment or assist them in starting a micro-enterprise.



Women in Travel Retail will be inviting exhibitors and visitors at TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes to help them reach their target of €15,000 by entering the draw to win fabulous prizes.  Each business card entry raises €10 towards the project (three entries for €20). The event takes place on Tuesday, 1 October at 17:30 in the Business Centre, Level 3.


Additional commitments from industry colleagues of auction and raffle prizes for the grand draw* would be appreciated.


Friends International Founder and Executive Director Sebastien Marot, comments: “We at Friends International, and particularly the young women whose journey to building a better future the funding from WiTR supports, are immensely grateful.



After graduating, the students progress to FI’s Futures Office where employment experts help the students secure employment or assist them in starting a micro-enterprise.

“We extend those thanks to the exhibitors and visitors to TFWA Cannes who will help WiTR to reach their target, and ensure that these young people can achieve their dreams by completing their training, finding employment and going on to have stable, successful and happy lives.”


*Please deliver donations to the Lacoste stand (Riviera RH15) by 1500 on Tuesday 1 October.


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