Meet some Kinyei supporters

The response to our campaign for local self-sufficiency has already been overhwhelming both online and off. At time of writing we’ve raised $3005 with the help of 14 phenomenal backers, and received some really exciting offers of help with training which I’ll tell you more about when plans firm up.

All of our contributors are critical to the succcess of this initiative but this week we wanted to give a special shout-out to four of the first to jump on board (and agree to be profiled!). These guys along with other early-birds really started the ball rolling, so without further ado, here are some of our amazing supporters:

Larry & Run

We are honored to be a small part of this worthy project. We are Cham Run and Larry Madison in Tennessee, USA. We are retired from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Our support for this project is to show our gratitude to Phalla Yai for her help in locating family members out of touch for 30 years. Phalla is attending Battambang University and is involved in the Kinyei project. We hope to be able to provide more support in the near future and applaud the staff for what they have accomplished so far.

Good luck and best wishes.


Lily Henderson

What do you do? Filmmaker

Why support Kinyei? It’s such a creative and simple idea that it has to work. Creating a space where people can work or hang out over some quality espresso, home baked goods and local artwork is one good community builder but then adding the bike program, which enables people to really branch out into their community and to see it from a different vantage point, makes the Kinyei model brilliant.


Pat Allan

What do you do? Itinerant freelance web developer and event organiser _ Why support Kinyei? _Because I love what the Kinyei team are doing, you’re all wonderful people, and you’re making a clear and positive difference in the lives of your employees and future business owners.


Ariana & Mike

What do you do? At the moment we work to travel.

Why support Kinyei? We love the staff and their ideas and want to support them in making change within their community in Battambang. We hope Kinyei continues to grow and all those involved grow with it.

Love from Paris, Ari and Mike

Thanks to all our backers so far for helping us kick off to a great start, you guys are making amazing things possible!

Starting Some More Good

In case you’re new to this blog, Kinyei is a grassroots initiative to develop social entrepreneurship in Battambang, Cambodia, by collaborating with young Cambodians day to day on social enterprises. (Basically. We also find ourselves getting caught up in open culture events, peer-learning projects and youth entrepreneurship throughout Cambodia.) You can read more about what we do right here.

This week however we are starting a fundraising campaign to support arguably Kinyei’s most critical and exciting initiative yet. We will be training the team to manage their own projects, making them entirely locally sustained and run.

Kinyei has only raised funds once before, to the cafe’s set up costs. We’re proud of what’s been achieved by the team with this – a bare fraction of the funding of many large NGO programs here – and their own sweat and creativity.

This step is if anything more critical than the first, establishing the project’s vision of locally self-sustaining social enterprise for years to come. Please visit the campaign at Start Some Good or our support page and help us finalize all the great progress that has been made by Kinyei over the years!
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Kinyei by the numbers

It’s fun to see what our numbers can tell about our story, have a look:

Project: Cafe

4 – cafe staff moved into other Kinyei projects
20 – volunteers engaged for help or training
2 – trainings given by Kinyei baristas to outside baristas
18 – events hosted
18 – staff received training
30 – % revenue spent on staff
94 – % recommended on TripAdvisor (rating excellent or very good)
7 –  staff trained in financial, communications, technology office processes
15 – open workshops held
150 – open workshop participants
148 – facebook likes
4,100 – coffees served

 Project: Soksabike

2 – industry partnerships
6 – number of volunteers engaged
16 – number of staff trained
90 – facebook likes
419 – customers taken to the countryside
100 – % excellent or very good TripAdvisor rating

Project: Sammaki

6 – Local artist exhibitions
8 – workshops held on various creative processes
(block printing, photography, composting, portraiture, image transfer)
10 – events held in the space
(film festival, art walk venue, graphic novel presentation, noise art performance)
35 – volunteers engaged
800 – visitors to the space
$2,000 – commission of artwork sold to run Sammaki
$6,000  – value of artwork sold

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Phantom Limb Pain Open Workshop Announcement

About the Workshop

Come to learn about an affliction that affects a high number of amputee victims in Cambodia. Stephen will introduce an innovative approach to healing Phantom Limb Pain, or the pain amputees experience in the limbs they no longer have, with a simple technique called Mirror Therapy. He’ll also give a personal account of his experience with phantom pain, as he is an above-the-knee unilateral amputee.

Learn exactly what phantom pain is, where it stems from and see a hands-on demonstration about Mirror Therapy in action, and the short and simple protocol of what amputees or caregivers must do to ensure success. Participants will gain exposure to the excruciating existence of phantom limb pain (over 90% of trauma-based amputees – ie: landmines and traffic accidents) and to the availability of an incredibly simple, effective, non-narcotic cure that requires no clinics, hospitals, doctors, drugs; a cure that’s virtually free and doesn’t carry the danger of addiction (unless you really, really, like to look at yourself in the mirror).

About Stephen

Stephen hails from Vancouver, a logger, fisherman, photo model, fisherman again and hobo-drifter for life. First a ski racer and then a road cyclist, where he developed his life-long passion. Stephen lost his left leg above the knee in a hit-and-run motorbike accident about 8 years ago near Siena, Italy. His injuries were manifold and he spent some time in a coma. Shortly after the amputation and various other procedures, he began to experience a harrowing intensity and frequency of Phantom Limb Pain bouts. This continued, more or less unabated, for a full four years until he finally took a tiny gamble and bought a mirror to begin Mirror Therapy. After five easy weeks of self-treatment he’s been pain-free ever since. Over 10,000 limb amputations have been done in Cambodia since 1979 – and who knows how many before that. Many of these people are suffering today and Stephen, with his experience and his breakthrough treatment is in a unique position to help them.

He is so grateful that he has taken it on as his duty, and is his great and priceless pleasure to bring this technique to others that might have have little hope of discovering it otherwise. He’s since lived in Vancouver, Afghanistan, Southern California, Berlin, Baja, Saudi Arabia and is now working with various NGOs and caregivers in Cambodia. He also had the ultra-rare experience of being involved in the making of a movie based on my own life. It was a Warner Bros Germany film (thus in the German language) and is called Phantomschmerz or ‘Phantom Pain’. Here’s an English subtitled clip: Phantomschmerz (English Subtitles). He is hoping that his having been so many places and done so much since his accident will inspire energy and motivation in at least a few of the amputees that he has met on this ‘mission’.

When is the workshop?

Monday February 27th at 6 – 7 pm; about one hour plus question and answer.

Who should attend the workshop?

Anyone and everyone including local Khmer amputees. This is a unique and valuable opportunity for information about phantom limb pain and mirror therapy techniques to reach the local NGO community, ex-pats and Khmers alike. The talk is for a broad audience and we’re hoping to have a variety of people with different backgrounds in the room – everyone is welcome and encouraged!

What languages?

English with Khmer translation provided

Register now!

**Workshop places are limited so please register your interest to ensure a place. Please email katie_at_kinyei_dot_org with:</p>

Your name: Organisation (if applicable): What do you want to achieve in this workshop:</strong>


Kinyei Cafe

St 1.5 Battambang Town Look forward to seeing you there!

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Zine making and Creative writing Workshop

On December 20th 2011 Kinyei welcomed a new friend, Jan Cornall, who is from Sydney, Australia. She came and visited Battambang and Kinyei cafe’. During her visit to Battambang, she opened two different workshops. The first one was in the afternoon which was about the creative ways of making zines, crafts from paper. The other one was about creative writing. The workshops mostly encouraged people to think and be creative by making things and making decorations. It reduces stress and is also fun to see other people’s creative ideas. We got different people attending from a different organisations who attended like GEMS International School, Children’s Future International and Kinyei members and other friends. Katie who is one of Kinyei’s Facilitators joined the Zine craft and expressed that the workshop is mostly a relaxed way, great and fun to do something creative with friends and others. She loves and enjoys finding beauty from normal things. It helps her to have more creative ideas with her project. And she’d love to do more crafting with group in the future.


Elizabeth who is a psychologist from Switzerland and now working freelance in Cambodia, joined the creative writing workshop and said that she really liked how the teacher balanced directiveness and letting all participant to find their own way of creativity. “It was inspiring to see and exchange with other people’s ideas.”

Kinyei thanks to Jan Cornall who ran these workshops and hopefully we’ll enjoy seeing and working with her on some more creative things again in January.

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Bounce to Battambang

Kinyei is looking for a volunteer to hang out with us, experience Battambang, and work alongside a Khmer team from January to March, to plan, organize, and host the first ever Trampoline Unconference in Battambang, Cambodia.

What is Trampoline?

Established in Melbourne, Australia three years ago, Trampoline is an unconference driven by participants who share what they find amazing. There is no specific topic – indeed, the goal is to share ideas from all different disciplines, industries and walks of life.









Cambodia is just beginning to explore the benefits of unconference type gatherings. Young changemakers in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have facilitated and participated in a range of idea exchange forums the likes of TedxPP, BarCamp, and smaller break off gatherings. It’s an exciting time here, there is an energy and a charge that is palpable. As a catalyst for Trampoline Battambang, you’d get to witness the first of these idea exchanges in a community full of potential.

Thus you’ll have the opportunity to play a key role in getting this new event happening in Battambang, and encourage the spirit of social innovation, sharing and community in Cambodia. And because we need you located here with us, you’ll also get to experience the relaxed charm of Battambang while the weather’s at its best.

So what exactly will I be doing?

You will be working with a Khmer team to translate the Trampoline idea into something that fits the local context, and providing event planning and communications support. You’ll be putting your skills and talents to use for other Kinyei projects as well. We’ve got Trampoline pencilled in for late February or early March 2012.

Language training, mentorship and guidance will be provided by the Kinyei team – who don’t lack for experience in both attending and running Trampolines – so will you have plenty of support as you hit the ground running.










Ideally, you should excel in the following areas:

  • proven ability to thrive in new, challenging environments
  • excellent communication skills
  • creative problem solving skills
  • initiative taker
  • desire to be helpful and work well with others across cultures

And for bonus points, you should also have some experience with:

  • running events
  • video production and/or social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook
  • leveraging networks

This is a volunteer position and thus there is no wage.

What’s next?

Send an email to Pat (pat at freelancing-gods dot com) for more details about why you should come to Battambang.

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One year kicking at Kinyei’s St. 1.5 Cafe

Latest from the Cafe front: Barista trainings and Championships

We’re fast approaching our one year anniversary at Kinyei’s St 1.5 Cafe! Incredible to think that it’s been one year since we launched our Kickstarter campaign to get this whole thing off the ground, ran a remote training with our green staff and the Jasper folks, and opened our doors in Battambang.

There hasn’t been a minute to sit still so far; looking back at the past two months, it’s been a frenzied push to expand our team and into our upstairs space. We’d like to think these last several months have been a testament to the team’s hard work and endless energy for fulfilling Kinyei’s collaborative spaces a making the most of every opportunity that presents itself.

Barista Training in and out

We kicked off October with another round of hiring to ready ourselves for the tourist season, nearly upon us. Theavy, Sopheap, Seyla and Chouert, the cafe newcomers, are quickly acclimating to cafe life. Fortuitously, Kinyei was hosting volunteers James and Joel, pals from Australia, on site for 2 weeks around the same time (see post below for their blog). James, a coffee connoisseur with years of experience in the coffee industry back in Brisbane, used the two weeks to pass on his expertise.

Sopheap's first latte


James, with help from Katie and the Cafe team, developed a comprehensive Barista training manual and accreditation course, with a coffee appreciation component, covering coffee concepts from crop to cup.

This newly minted Barista Course has jumpstarted a new service for Kinyei’s cafe team – professional espresso machine training. So far the Kinyei team has facilitated our training for one barista from Art Deli in Siem Reap, and two baristas from a new cafe near Banteay Preab, Phnom Penh. The Cafe team did a fantastic job of delivering this training and received stellar feedback from the trainees. Sorn Sreyna commented about the benefits of the training,

“I feel excited that I can make a nice coffee now, I know clearly how to make many kinds of coffee and hot to steam a very nice milk.”

She then asked, “Can I come back to train again?”

Similarly the cafe team was excited to be able to share (and show off) their skills. Untac also noted that “the training was great but quite short. I would want at least a week if I were a trainee I would feel confused!”

Srey Na and Sopheap, barista trainees from Phnom Penh

Untac also incorporated YouTube instructables into the training himself, citing how helpful it was for him when he was learning to use YouTube to watch different milk steaming techniques. To be sure, making delicious espresso takes persistence and passion!

TOT for P2P

Kinyei’s senior Cafe staff also attended a train the trainer workshop led by the Women’s Reproductive Team from the Catholic Centre in Battambang at Kinyei. Perfect timing for the team to use their new training skills as we rolled out the Barista training curriculum to staff from cafes around Cambodia.

TOT P2P it's all happening

Soksabike tour guide Moth Pheap was happy for the chance to view experienced trainers to get ideas for leadership style and setting clear direction and focus to a task. Sopheap Khou appreciated that the trainers spent time to understand their audience, and become familiar with those they were going to train, including cultivating a friendly feeling between instructor and student. Phalla Yai pointed out that the training was just a first step, and that with limited time, there was limited potential for learning – she’d like to see more trainings like this in the future.

It was fun to see Kinyei’s different project teams come together to learn a general skill like leadership and training that they can bring back to their specific jobs, and use in peer to peer education whether that’s training new baristas in the cafe, new tour guides on the route, or any other hobby, interest or skill that they have.

Thanks again to Meg Battle, Theary and the team from the Catholic Church for putting together a super workshop!

Kinyei’s first entry into the Cambodian National Barista Champs

On the 20th of October Katie, Sean and Sakana crowded into a shared taxi to Phnom Penh to cheer on Untac in the 2011 Barista Championships at the Sofitel.

On the 21st of October Untac had 15 minutes to make and serve 12 coffees. He made four espressos, four Cappuccinos and four signature drinks. With help from fellow cafe staff, Untac concocted the ‘Kinyei’; a shot of espresso, a shot of ginger sugar syrup, latte milk and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The ‘Kinyei’ was served in a piccolo latte glass. Delicious…and innovative! Katie, Mel, Justin and I got the pleasure of tasting the ‘Kinyei’ during Untac’s practice round the day before the competition at St 1.5.

Untac brought his coffee making flare and charming personality to the floor to produce some stunning coffees. Have a look for yourself – Untac competes in National Barista Competition

“The three who won were very skillful, all the competitors have skills, but did worse during the competition, even me”, Untac noted. He attributed this to the nervousness all contestants felt, as none had been judged before. He also noted that there were two different machines and that the contenstents were randomly assigned to compete on; the participants all agreed the larger 2 Group Saaco machine was more optimal than the smaller single group machine. It was luck of the draw.

The crowned barista was from The Shop in Phnom Penh. Talk about steep competition, most of these baristas are churning out hundreds of espressos daily. We’re terribly stoked for Untac, he did us all proud in Phnom Penh!

Untac and Sakana scoping out the competition

The small Kinyei contingency was delighted to witness the pomp at the Cambodian Restaurant Association’s (CRA) barista competition. Sakana noted that she loved to watch the cooking competition “since cooking is something I’ve loved since I was little.” On Phnom Penh, she added “Romdeng restaurant was my  and the pumpkin cake at Living Room cafe.”

“The cafes in Phnom Penh are similar to Kinyei, but I got some new ideas about specials. At Kinyei we could have something like Banana Cappuccino”, Sean reported.

As for watching Untac compete, Sakana remarked “I was very scared for Untac!”

Untac just before his turn at the machine

“I was very happy when I watched Untac to make coffee, some time I want to help but this is a competition so I cannot”, lamented Sean.

Untac interjected that one of his favorite things was getting to know the other contestants from different places in Cambodia. Everyone was really friendly, and happy to share about their experiences. “While we played on the machines, people would come and share what they know. We’re still talking together on facebook.”

“I think next year Kinyei should send two baristas to compete” Sakana concluded. We couldn’t agree more.

An aside: Lucky for the team, the event was held as part of the CRA hospitality competition. You can imagine our elation as we witnessed competitors in the bedmaking, fruit carving, and bartending competitions.







Kinyei Participates at BarCamp 4 in Phnom Penh

Two months ago, in October I was lucky enough to attend the most recent BarCamp in Phnom Penh.

What is BarCamp?


Recently, BarCamp Phnom Penh 4 was celebrate at the University of Puthisastra, which is located in Phnom Phenh. It was a 2 day event for computer enthusiasts, technologists, IT professionals, mobile & web developers, bloggers, translators, entrepreneurs, and especially social media specialists.

Kinyei was invited to participate, share some experiences and learn about the latest innovations of technology, from applications software to operating system, wired networking to wireless technology and from offline to online business.

My experience at this great event

Melina Chan run a Social Media in Cambodia session for BarCamp Event

A Social Media in Cambodia session was run at this BarCamp

In the BarCamp event, I joined some workshops on topics such as Why we need more courage for ourselves by Soluy Loeurt, Social Media Cambodia by Melina Chan, and Travel with no money by Rithy Thul. I got some good ideas such as how to communicate better through Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail; and about how to travel without any money to spend on food, accommodation or anything. Life is struggle sometimes, but we can survive.

I especially remember one quote that the leader of the workshop said: “life is improvement”. This made me realise that even though life is a struggle, I should keep trying to solve the problems I face. And by attending BarCampPP, I now have more knowledge of technology and and communication.

BarCampPP is a great event in Cambodia that shares information with a new generation of Khmer people. It provides a great education in technology, business skills, and communication. I really enjoyed attending BarCampPP, and I hope I will get to participate in this event again soon.

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Social Business competition by ARUN

For some reason every event we go to seems to produce pictures of people sitting around which never represent the buzz and kick that I remember the event being all about, and the ARUN business idea comp that just went by is no exception. So I want to make it clear that despite the picture to the left being of people in chairs and tidy clothes, the 2-day competition / symposium was really awesome and I’m already excited for next year’s.

Kinyei went down as facilitators to help the 3-person teams (2 Cambodian and 1 Japanese student each) identify social issues, conceive of solutions, and try to distill an innovative, workable business idea from all of that. With just 24 hours to do this from start to finish, the teams performed admirably and I think they can all feel justifiably proud of their efforts.

Despite going along as “facilitators”, the experience was really a learning one for us too. Seeing groups of other people trying to find the right balance of social impact and economic feasibility (although I suspect that’s false dichotomy), and trying to home in on a social problem sufficiently well-defined to begin to tackle throws the whole process into a new clarity. Here are the top four things we learned from the event:

**Well-defined is half done ** “Hunger” might be something you’re really passionate about solving, but as a problem for a social enterprise to tackle, it is really pretty vague. Often groups had to sacrifice their heroic attack on a colossal social problem in order to find one that was clearly defined enough that a solution in the form of a single business was possible. Something we found helped in this process was an iterative interrogation of the causes of their stated problem: “What causes hunger here?” and “Ok and what causes that?” until an approachable problem emerged.

Know your customers This is an entrepreneurship truism, and only more important when your enterprise is “social”. Frequently teams found they were trying to address problems and work with customers from a completely different socio-economic or cultural space to their own, and were therefore flying blind when it came to predicting their customers’ values and priorities. You need to be in touch with your customer base early and often, testing your critical assumptions in the real world to avoid potentially finding out one of them is critically wrong many months and thousands of dollars down the line.

Be flexible – about (almost) everything In the competition, teams were coming up with ideas from scratch. The businesses had no customer bases, no buildings, no one on payroll and no existing brands to worry about. In other words, the teams had everything to gain from re-thinking their ideas from the ground up in response to new information, and nothing to lose – yet frequently, we found people reluctant to re-think their business model after it had been conceived. The problem is that any team that is diligently exploring a given social problem will inevitably come up with game-changing insights or information during the process, and often these insights will show their existing solution to be less than ideal. Teams therefore need to be able to prioritize their social mission, and be prepared to throw out any and all business ideas that they discover don’t serve that, rather than staying attached to a business idea itself, and manipulating the social mission and impacts to it.

Your team is your single most valuable asset Finally, what was clearly obvious in the final presentations was that the passion, motivation and resources of the individuals in a team can make all the difference to potential investors (or in our case, judges.) The greatest social business idea in the world is only as good as the team that is going to implement it.

You can find out more about the event from ARUN, and Sen Tharo did a write-up you should probably check out.

The nascent social entrepreneurship culture in Cambodia is really exciting and it’s going to be interesting to see what the ARUN students end up doing with their ideas now that this competition is over (students, write to us to let us know!). With two more similar events coming up in the next few months, it’s obvious that support for social business is growing here, so hopefully the scene is here to stay.

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Cafe expansion + new office space

It’s here!

The cafe has finally burst its belt, and its taken over the upstairs of St. 1.5. Fully equipped with comfy couches and rustic tables, the old office has had a fast facelift, and can now accommodate lazy travelers looking to kick back, remote workers hoping for an energizing desk space, and everything in between.

Thus the office has picked up and relocated a mere 10m south on St. 1.5 in a similarly charming yellow restored colonial building.* With plenty of space for the Soksabikes, and our growing office crew, the place already has a lively cowork feel to it. And rightly so! We want to encourage remote workers coming from near and far to check it out.

*We absentmindedly left out that it was our dear friend and former Battambang resident, Alison, that made this move possible! Alison was our neighbor on St. 1.5 until she moved to Phnom Penh for work. She gave us the heads up about her fantastic property, and we jumped on the opportunity to rent. Thank you, Alison! We sure miss you and best of luck in Phnom Penh!

Have a glance at the new spaces here.

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