Phnom Voah Farm

Key Statistics

Located roughly 170 kilometres south-west of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh are the Phnom Voah Farm in Kampot Province and St Francis Private Technical High School (St Francis) in Takeo Province.

students currently enrolled at the school
teachers and staff are employed
income was generated in 2022 (USD)

Empowering Generations at the Phnom Voah Farm

Thanks to your generosity, these initiatives, which Catholic Mission has been supporting since February 2016, are achieving incredible results, reducing the region’s high levels of poverty and unemployment, and giving countless young people opportunities for life through education and training. However, the work is far from done.

The farm is operating at a profit, having made over US$68,000 in 2018. While numbers for 2019 have not yet been finalised, it is expected to generate over US$150,000. These funds have gone back into the running costs of the school and the farm, which includes animal care and nutrition, maintenance of school and farm resources and equipment, internship opportunities for students from St Francis, and teacher and staff salaries.

St Francis is providing quality, holistic education in agriculture and hospitality, achieving in 2019 a student pass rate of 100% for its graduating year 12 students, compared to a national average high school pass rate of 66%. The school has received widespread recognition (being promoted several times on national television), community support, and government approval, with the Minister of Education opening the new building in 2019. It has also established fruitful relationships with industry, with major hotel chains such as Sofitel and Sohka offering students employment even before graduating.

Two students from St Francis making tablets from the moringa tree a sugar plant high in nutrients with medicinal properties

To build on these successes, amplify impact and ensure sustainability, the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh is now looking to implement phase two of a broader vision to empower generations of Cambodian people through agriculture and social enterprise. Phase two will help the farm to expand its operations and generate more income, as well as support St Francis Private Technical High School to continue training and educating leaders for the future.

This project is a chance to join Catholic Mission as we journey with the people of Cambodia to consolidate progress and ensure a strong and sustainable future. Your gift will go towards:

  • Establishing a social enterprise revolution;
  • Providing invaluable training and vocational education;
  • Creating employment opportunities for local farmers and graduates of St Francis; and
  • Generating income to sustain the work into the future and support other social development projects of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh.

Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler (centre) in the classroom with students

Project Activities

  • Develop the knowledge and capacity of students at St Francis through activities supplementary to core studies, including study tours, local and overseas internships and field practice at the Phnom Voah farm.
  • Expand farm size and production to increase income. This will include establishing organic vegetable cultivation and preparation for market; pig, chicken, duck and fish rearing; land preparation and irrigation systems for rice crops; and flower cultivation.
  • Establish laboratories and processing rooms for flower seed germination, and soap and food production. Cambodia currently does not have a domestic flower market, with most flowers being imported from Vietnam. Consequently, with constant demand for flowers for religious ceremonies and other celebrations, there is the potential for large profits from establishing flower germination and farming facilities at Phnom Voah. Two graduates from St Francis are studying flower pollination and germination in Thailand and will return with the required knowledge. A separate laboratory will also be established and raw materials and consumables purchased for the production of soaps and food items to be sold for a profit.
  • Improve hospitality facilities by expanding practice hotel and restaurant rooms for students from St Francis, complete with required furniture, manchester and equipment. This will help the school expand into the future and give more young people access to vocational education.
  • Develop and evaluate teacher capacity with teacher training and development days, workshops and study tours that place particular emphasis on entrepreneurship and business skills. This will also include a teacher evaluation and funds for teacher salary increases on a yearly basis.

Inside the classroom at St Francis