The Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) at Torrens University last week hosted its annual fundraising dinner to help young Cambodians in need.

The event was held on Thursday 25 August at BMIHMS’ Leura Campus in aid of Sala Bai Hotel School in Siem Reap, which supports young Cambodians from underprivileged backgrounds. An impressive $21,200 was raised on the night. BMIHMS students in Sydney also raised an additional $2,500 through their own fundraising initiatives, bringing the total to $23,500.

Sala Bai was established in Cambodia to address low school attendance among the population, and in particular the huge drop out rate of young girls leaving to help at home or get married. The School works to ensure greater vocational opportunities for its students, providing them with hospitality training and assisting them to find work on graduation. BMIHMS has been working with Sala Bai since 2004.


Laureate Australia General Manager – Hospitality, Jerome Casteigt, said the event was just one of many initiatives the School was involved in to support Sala Bai.

“We have a long standing relationship with Sala Bai Hotel School and strongly admire their commitment to encouraging and helping young Cambodians to continue their studies and seek work opportunities upon graduation.

“At BMIHMS, we share a similar vision for our own students; we want to provide them with the best possible start to their careers. Our fundraising initiatives are a great way to show our support to Sala Bai and the wonderful work they do.

“Currently, Sala Baï continues the remarkable achievement of 100% graduate placement in hospitality positions.  This accomplishment is even more heartening when we remember that, on average, every Sala Baï Graduate supports 10 family members via their income.

“On behalf of BMIHMS, I would like to send a huge thank you to all of the staff and students who were involved in making this event such a huge success. A special thank you also goes the local Blue Mountains community for their terrific support – in particular Maurice Cooper, OAM, who hosts and drives the fundraising event. He works closely with our events students, giving them real word experience and insight into running an event from inception to conclusion. We look forward to continuing our commitment to this worthwhile cause with the upcoming dinner and other fundraising initiatives in the future,” he said.

Created in 2002, Sala Bai is a free hotel school based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Every year 100 young, underprivileged and often orphaned Cambodian teenagers attend the School to gain kitchen, restaurant, housekeeping and front of house skills.

Over a period of 12 months, Sala Bai covers all the training fees (including lessons, school supplies, books, uniforms), and daily expenses (including accommodation, food, transport, insurance and medical expenses) for the students. 
The training lasts 11 months and includes more than four months in industry, and the final month is dedicated to assisting the students to find their first job.

Over the past 11 years, Friends of Sala Bai Australia has raised over half a million dollars for the School. Of this, BMIHMS has contributed more than $170,000, and has also sent over teachers and graduates to work on and develop programs, along with donating computers, books and other essential items.

In 2016, Sala Bai was announced as one of Laureate Australia & New Zealand’s principle Here For Good projects.

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