Grant 2015 – Vocational Training Restaurant for Marginalized Youth in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

Established by Friends-International (FI), an international NGO with headquarters in Cambodia.  FI has provided services to marginalised children, youth and their families across the world since 1994.

FI has established a Vocational Training Program in 3 countries of operation with plans to open a new restaurant in Indonesia in 2015.  The programme seeks to reintegrate youth from poor and unstable backgrounds into society as productive, skilled and empowered citizens through quality market-linked skills trainings.

In 2014, FI Laos expanded its services and coverage into Luang Prabang, including setting up a new vocational training restaurant for vulnerable youth, with the support of the TREE Alliance (Training Restaurant for Employment and Entrepreneurship).  The restaurant is following the success of the award winning Makphet vocational training restaurant in Vientiane, training vulnerable youth to work in the rapidly growing hospitality sector while generating income for the programme.

The vocational training restaurant will be able to supply young and skilled people to work in the booming tourism sector in Luang Prabang where currently many restaurants and hotels are experiencing a great lack of qualified labour.  The innovative restaurant will be bringing added value to the selection of services available in Luang Prabang, serving high-quality dishes with a social purpose and catering for the increasing number of travellers who pay attention to the social implications to their travels and tend to shy away of luxury and international chains and instead locally in nearby shops, markets and guesthouses and use other local services in the area.

Friends’ restaurants and sales outlets are frequented by expats and tourists.  Approximately 75% are Western tourists, 19% are expats and 6% Asian tourists.

The restaurant currently attract up to 60,000 customers per year per restaurant.  The increasing in the number of visitor to the area will positively contribute to the growth of the surrounding businesses.