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MasterCard and Hôtel de la Paix Give Cambodian Women Skills for Brighter Future

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MasterCard and Hôtel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia, are teaming up again to train young rural Khmer women as seamstresses, so they can earn a living and support themselves and their families. As part of a MasterCard Purchase with Purpose initiative, MasterCard will donate US$50 towards the reconstruction of Hôtel de la Paix’s Sewing School, for every room bill paid with a MasterCard card between 1 August and 30 November 2010.

Hôtel de la Paix’s Sewing School is a vocational facility funded by the hotel that offers a ten-month programme teaching Khmer women to sew, speak English and learn basic skills required to set up a business. Students are given a sewing machine and a kit of materials upon graduation to enable them to start their own businesses.

The programme reaches out to young rural women from outside Siem Reap, where access to employment or training is rare. With limited work opportunities, these uneducated women often find work on construction sites, earning US$1 per day for 16 hours of hard labour. The funds collected through this Purchase with Purpose initiative will enable these women to learn a relevant trade, work in a safe environment and earn a decent wage. This will help them provide for themselves and their families, contribute to their communities and build their self-esteem.

This is the third Purchase with Purpose initiative that MasterCard has run with Hôtel de la Paix. The “Pushbike” initiative that was launched in 2008, saw a bicycle being donated to an underprivileged Cambodian child, for every room bill paid with a MasterCard card. This initiative helped children from outlying villages to get to school, where previously they would have had to walk long distances in the heat. In Cambodia, it is common to see up to three children using one bicycle to get to school. In 2009, this programme expanded its donation to include a school bag, in addition to each bicycle donated. Some 500 school bags and 900 bicycles have been donated to date.

MasterCard also sponsored women in 2009 and 2010 at the Sewing School as part of its broader commitment to women’s advancement. The first of these women have now graduated and been provided with start-up materials and are self employed.

Wendy Morris, General Manager of Hôtel de la Paix, said, “We are very pleased to be working with MasterCard again on an initiative that makes a difference to the lives of the local Khmer people. Through our “Community Partners & Projects” programme, we enable hotel guests to visit and interact in the local communities, giving them a genuine insight into life in Cambodia. Our collaborations with MasterCard have always been successful and we are confident that this initiative will be well received by our guests.”

Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, added, “MasterCard is committed to women’s advancement and we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to work with likeminded organizations to provide women with skills that help them stand on their own feet. We have had a great collaboration with Hôtel de la Paix and are pleased to be working with them again on this initiative. The Purchase with Purpose platform is our way of involving our cardholders in doing good when they use their MasterCard cards, and we are glad to work with Hôtel de la Paix to give our cardholders a role in making a difference to the local women’s lives.”

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