“Critical thinking narrows and creative thinking expands, but they must work in tandem for problem solving and decision making.”

Pearl Zhu

Creative Development

Imagine a life without story books. Imagine growing up without ever having your parents, a relative or a teacher read to you; without ever viewing cartoons; without access to pencils and paints to create your own artworks.

This is the reality for many young people who attend our workshops.

Imagination is the key to innovation. It is at the heart of our creative development programs and workshops. 

We strongly believe building imagination and creativity is integral to the development of outstanding employees, successful businesses, productive communities and adapting to economic and environmental challenges.

Filmmaking Workshops and UNODC human trafficking forum

Spean Chivit youth participants at the UNODC Combatting Human Trafficking Online forum

We were invited to take part in a documentary filmmaking project to illustrate the impacts of Covid-19 on Cambodian youth.

Six young people took part in the project, generating compelling stories of hardship for local youth and minority groups.

The weekend workshop, facilitated by GMB Films on behalf of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, talked the group through all aspects of filmmaking from finding a story to storyboarding, interviews ad filming.

Following the workshop, we were invited to attend the Forum on Combatting Human Trafficking Online, organised by the UNODC in collaboration with Safe and Fair Cambodia.

The films produced by these youth were shown at the forum, along with other vulnerable communities.

The forum featured international and national speakers.  One of our young women was a panellist in one of the discussions.

It was an amazing opportunity and a huge learning curve for our youth.

Creative Writing Workshops
2021 Writers and Readers Festival: Angkor International Festival of the Arts

These workshops were held over five weeks. The first four took place at Spean Chivit. The last session was held at Footprints Café on the final day of the festival.

We started with absolute basics – that a story needs a beginning, middle and end. We pushed hard to move participants out of the comfort of familiarity to imagine scenes, characters, creatures and worlds of their own creation.

We achieved outstanding results. On the fourth session they each submitted a story of about 1000 words.

At the final session, five community volunteers read the stories out loud to an attentive and delighted audience. It was a huge success. And such a thrill for them to hear their stories come to life.

hTe series was a competition. It was judged by Catherine V Harry the vlogger behind A Dose of Cath and a talented writer.


Participants pushed the boundaries of their imagination further than ever before.

They became more animated and more confident in their ideas, with each exercise.

They developed a desire to imagine more.

Cambodian youth and their mentors with certificates for participating in Creative Writing Workshops

Life Skills and 21st Century Skills

Educators around the globe are increasingly putting emphasis on 21st century skills in attempts to make students life-ready and employment-ready. 

21st century skills encompass a wide range of practical and life skills tailored for the digital era and fast-paced living.

They include, but are not limited to: critical thinking; problem solving; creative thinking; communication; collaboration; social responsibility; global awareness; technology; digital literacy; and social skills.

In Cambodia, students are still taught predominantly by text books and rote learning. Assignments are often done in groups and do not encourage independent thinking. Questioning information is discouraged and further research is often not expected.

There is little access to technology, especially in rural areas. Many do not have access to the arts and have limited world knowledge.

Employers are calling for the need for soft skills in graduates. Our programs and activities aim to fill these gaps.

Budgeting workshops

The ability to manage money, to understand the risks of debt and to plan and save can be a powerful tool to gain financial security.

Cambodia has one of the highest numbers of microfinance loans in the world, averaging more than twice the country’s annual GDP per person.*

Budgeting or saving on minimum wages can be incredibly challenging or impossible. 

Our budgeting workshops are designed to show young people how to prioritise their spending, to understand the impacts of debt and to try and avoid it.

We incorporate games to make a fun learning environment.

The workshop has been described as “life changing” and we think that speaks for itself.