March 7, 2011

MasterCard and Hôtel de la Paix Making a Difference in Cambodia

[ASIA Travel]

MasterCard cardholders staying at Hôtel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia, now have the chance to make a difference to the lives of Cambodian children simply by swiping their MasterCard cards.

Through a MasterCard Purchase with Purpose initiative, MasterCard will donate five school uniforms for every bill paid for using a MasterCard card between 1 March and 30 June 2011. All school uniforms donated through this program benefit children from needy families in Siem Reap.

Uniforms are mandatory in Cambodian schools, and children whose families cannot afford to give them uniforms, are denied the opportunity to attend school. School uniforms donated through this Purchase with Purpose initiative will be given to primary school children in Prey Chas, a small government-run school located north of Siem Reap.

These uniforms will be made by 20 disadvantaged women at the Life & Hope Association Sewing School, which Hôtel de la Paix works closely with, giving them the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills to use. The uniforms also have a multiplier effect: two children can benefit from one uniform, as one child can wear it for morning school and another can wear it in the afternoon.

This is the fourth initiative MasterCard is working with Hôtel de la Paix on. The collaboration began in 2008 with the launch of the Pushbike initiative, which saw a bicycle getting donated to an underprivileged Cambodian child for every room bill paid with a MasterCard card.

The bicycle meant children from outlying villages could get to school without having to walk long distances in the heat. In 2009, this program expanded to include a school bag filled with school supplies in addition to each bicycle donated. Some 500 school bags and almost 1000 bicycles have been donated to date.

MasterCard has also enabled disadvantaged Khmer women learn a skill and support themselves and their families, through its work with the Life & Hope Association Sewing School. This vocational facility offers a ten-month programme teaching Khmer women to sew, speak English and learn basic skills required to set up a business. Upon graduating, these women are provided a start-up kit of materials that will help them begin their own businesses. Starting from 2009, MasterCard has sponsored 20 women at the school, all of them have graduated and 18 of them have started a business.

In 2010, MasterCard raised funds for the reconstruction of the Sewing School through a Purchase with Purpose initiative, enabling the School to accommodate more women and teach them skills to earn a living. US$50 was donated for every bill settled using a MasterCard card at Hôtel de la Paix between 1 August and 30 November 2010.

Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, said, “We are pleased to work with Hôtel de la Paix on another initiative that engages MasterCard cardholders in making a difference to the community. Education plays a key role in boosting community development, and we are happy that something as simple as providing children school uniforms goes a long way in ensuring that they are not denied education. We encourage MasterCard cardholders to help improve the quality of life for the community while they are on vacation – for every time they settle their bills at the hotel with a MasterCard card, they are helping ten children go to school.”

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