Siem Reap has no shortage of NGO (Non Government Organisations) and Social Enterprises designed to help the very poorest Cambodians achieve a better standard of living. Several of these take the form of restaurants or cafes such as Marum http://wp.me/p2spY3-2uJ and Haven http://wp.me/p2spY3-2v9 and Siem Reaps newest (at the time of writing) Social Enterprise is the newly opened Project Y Frozen Yoghurt, a self serve frozen yoghurt shop on Night Market Street.
Project Y is an off-shoot of the Cambodia Rural Schools Trust, an NGO who provide “education and opportunities” to students from poor, rural backgrounds – something there is sadly no shortage of here in one of Cambodia’s poorest districts.
The frozen yoghurt shop is operated by a team of students who do 6 month stints in everything from sales and marketing to restaurant management and finance for 3 years, after which time the idea is that they will have the necessary skills to move forward as a small business owner themselves or be able to find a well paying job in one of these disciplines.
I was invited along to one of their opening nights a couple of weeks ago and was immediately struck by the enthusiasm of the young students who greeted everyone walking past with a cheery smile and an offer to have a free sample of frozen yoghurt.
The yoghurt itself is 97% fat free and is available in around half a dozen different flavours including coffee, salted caramel, blood orange and coconut amongst others and is priced at $2.50 per 100g. Once you have helped yourself to the frozen yoghurt, you then have an exciting array of toppings and sauces to adorn your dessert with, from pretzels, Tim Tams, fresh fruit and Oreos to chocolate covered honeycomb, granola and more.
My chosen toppings of granola, Malteasers and chocolate covered honeycomb proved so successful on my first visit where I tried them with the salted caramel frozen yoghurt (Can’t quite bring myself to say “Fro-Yo”) that I had the exact same toppings when I returned this past weekend although this time I decided to try the coconut flavour frozen yoghurt (and I added a little smidgen of caramel sauce too) On my first visit my serving came to $4.50, on the second just $3.50 – it helps to have an idea of portion servings as the cups themselves are extremely large (smaller ones are being delivered shortly) and if you weren’t paying attention you could easily end up with something topping $10.
I love seeing new and interesting ideas like this in action and would like to thank Aviv (the Cambodia Rural Schools Trust Founder and Director) for inviting me along to see all the good work that they are doing. The night market location is easy to find and convenient, meaning that you can easily walk there from Pub Street after dinner for a bit of shopping and dessert.
Project Y Frozen Yoghurt – http://www.projectyfroyo.com
Open Daily 18:00-22:30
Night Market Street (between Sivatha and Bugs Street)
*I was an invited guest for the opening and they very sweetly wouldn’t let me pay so I left a tip matching the full amount instead.