Speech by Renay Farrell, Business Project Coordinator, Friends-International. Presented to WiTR members during TFWA Asia Pacific, May 2019.
Firstly, I would like to thank Colleen and Gerry for the opportunity to be here this evening for the Women in Travel Retail networking event, it’s truly an honour.
For those of you I haven’t met, my name is Renay Farrell and I have the privilege of working for Friends-International, based at our headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
On behalf of Friends-International, it gives me great pleasure to thank you all so much for kindly and generously choosing our Beauty Vocational Training and Education Support in Siem Reap as your program to support in 2019.
As a brief introduction, Friends is an award-winning international social enterprise that has been operating since 1994. 25 years ago, our founder and executive director, Sebastien Marot, landed in Phnom Penh, an unplanned visit with his friends while traveling throughout Southeast Asia. Sebastien was overwhelmed and shocked by the sheer volume of children living on the streets. He quickly learned that these children wanted to go to school and get an education – and changed his plans to stay in Phnom Penh and focus his efforts on these children and youth to give them a better chance at life. Fast forward to the present day and we are now in 23 countries through our partner operations and have physical offices in six. Sebastien’s vision has created an organisation focused on ‘Saving Lives and Building Futures’ of the most marginalised children, youth and their families through a number of programs which provide outreach and social services, drug & alcohol rehabilitation, support groups, remedial education, the reintegration of children back to school, as well as training and jobs to their caretakers to ensure they stay in school. And these are just a few examples! Vocational training is one of our key programs to help break the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of the most marginalised children and youth. And the most at risk is always female youth.
Marginalised female youth in Cambodia continually face many barriers to access employment including lack of education and the ability to pay for training. Often living on the streets, they are forced to work in hazardous occupations such as construction, scavenging, sex work or begging – leaving them vulnerable to health risks and abuse.
And by supporting our beauty vocational training program, you will be actively taking a part in breaking this cycle.
Our vocation training programs – offered to youth aged between 15-24 years of age – lead to stable and quality employment. Personally, I’ve seen the behind the scenes work of our social workers in encouraging youth to have a better chance at life. When I first joined Friends I had the opportunity to experience our Mobile Night Bus which visits various locations in Phnom Penh where sex workers operate, every night. Our Mobile Night Bus is amazing – it provides services to these sex workers including those from the LGBTQI community, such as free HIV testing, counseling and support from our social workers, and even an area in the bus where they can ‘freshen’ up with the make-up and hair products provided by our teams. On my Mobile Night Bus experience, a 22 year old female was getting advice from our social services team as she was hoping to get out of the sex industry and stop being a sex worker on the street, but she couldn’t find a way out as she had to support her brother and sick mum. On average, she would earn up to $15 a night – as little as $5 a ‘job’. Our social workers spent a long time listening to her, counseling and offering alternatives – via our vocational training programs where she could learn a trade, graduate and get our support with employment. It was reassuring to know that our social workers would continue meeting with her to support her to join our vocation training programs.
Our beauty vocational training is one of seven programs offered by Friends, including hospitality, barber, motor mechanic, electrical, welding and sewing.
Our beauty vocational training program runs for eight months with a curriculum which provides market-aligned quality technical skills within a classroom environment and importantly within our beauty and nail training salons. Equally important, our programs also offer psycho-social counseling, basic literacy and numeracy, Khmer and English lessons, as well as a significant focus on soft skills: personal development via confidence-building, emotion and stress management, along with collaborative working skills designed to truly empower the youth in our programs.
In addition, the program links students to a full range of basic social services such as medical referrals to hospitals, support to obtain legal documents (as many Khmer children and youth born after the Khmer Rouge ruling do not own birth certificates for example), a meal each day, transport to and from training, as well as short-term housing if required.
After graduating, the students then progress to our Futures Office where our employment experts help the students secure employment or assist them in starting a micro-enterprise. Friends has a growing network of hundreds of local businesses who accept graduates as interns, apprentices or full-time employees. For self-employment, Friends can sponsor the equipment and material needed for start-ups until they become self-sustainable (six to 12 months on average).
Last year, 43 girls studied in our beauty vocational training program:
We have experiences where students have graduated, are placed in full-time employment thanks to the Futures team, progress in their new roles and then return to be a vocational training teacher in our programs.
I’d now like to share a story from one of our graduates – her name has been changed for privacy reasons, so we will refer to her as Theary:
“My mother was a karaoke girl (entertainment worker) and I have two other sisters with different fathers. My mother placed me and my sisters into many orphanages in Phnom Penh. In the orphanage I went to school until Level 5, but when I eventually moved back in with my mother I wasn’t able to continue my education because she kept moving house. I never felt safe, so I decided to move in with my grandparents in a rural area. But I could never go to school because it was more than an hour away on foot on a quiet road. My grandmother soon got sick and passed away. I was left with only my grandpa in that old cottage, very isolated. I was always scared and insecure. I was going to move back to the orphanage, but I met an old lady who told me about Friends-International where a new chapter of my life began. I felt relieved when I walked into the center. A few staff happily introduced themselves, and I was shown around the center before I decided to join the Beauty training. It was then that I regained all my hope to become someone better. I was offered a safe place to stay in the group home where I get to live with 3 other girls. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity: everything is free for me, I can access all the necessary facilities and it feels like home. I have lots of new friends and they are very nice to me, and we are all from similar backgrounds. I’m now in the second level of Beauty training, and I take other classes like Khmer literacy, English, and computers. My life has changed a lot. I never thought of getting skills or trying be anyone better, but Friends has changed my perspective on life. I enjoy my training here, getting to learn new things every day. In the future, I believe that I will be able to use my skills to support myself with a good job. I have big dreams to get a house where I can live happily with my mother and sisters. I hope I can get everything I want and make up for what I missed when I was young. I also have a message to other young people: study hard to get the skills you need for a good job and a better future. And I want Friends to keep helping the young people like me to achieve their goals.”
Looking at the future for students like Theary, is where the Women In Travel Retail comes in! Your support will allow many girls in Siem Reap find employment and get out of the slums, the drug dens, off the streets and out of the sex industry. The cycle will be broken and they will have a new chance at life!
We have already seen the huge impact of Women in Travel Retail with introductions to various companies in your network to partner with us through program support and capacity development, or n buying our products. We would love to discuss partnership opportunities with more of you, and really believe this is the start of a fantastic relationship.
Once again, from everyone at Friends, thank you for your kind and generous support which will allow us to continue our work in supporting marginalised youth and children. We look forward to continuing a positive and long-lasting relationship with Women in Travel Retail and to keeping in touch along the way.
Enjoy the rest of your evening!
Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) has named Friends International as its 2019 charity of the year.
Friends International was founded in the early 1990s in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It has 25 years of experience working directly with disadvantaged urban children, youth, families and communities, across Asia, Africa and Europe. The charity enables individuals who lack opportunities to become productive, independent citizens.
WiTR will raise funds to support a Siem Reap-based Friends International project, which provides beauty salon training for 24 young women, aged 16 to 24. The training will enable them to provide for their children and siblings.
“This grant will help many young women on the path to learning new skills, getting jobs and empowering themselves to be happy, active and productive members of Cambodian society.” – Friends International Founder and Director Sebastien Marot
On the 2nd of October, during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, WiTR held a fundraising event for Hand in Hand for Haiti. Hosted in the iconic Palais des Festivals, WiTR members also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and network over a glass of prosecco. Here is a photo gallery of the event.
WiTR’s creation of a platform to bring together the women working in the travel retail industry and its support for charity was recognised at the 2018 Frontier Awards in Cannes with the coveted award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry.
The award was accepted on behalf of WiTR’s Members by Chair and Vice Chair Sarah Branquinho (Dufry) and Gerry Munday (Furla).
Florida-based members of industry networking group Women in Travel Retail and friends held a get-together in mid-May in Miami Beach hosted by Virginie Cordero, of distribution agency Sunnytouch, and raised $1,800 to assist the Primary and Anganwadi School complex in Mudh, India. The school was built by Lotus Flower Institute with support from TFWA CARE; and the Florida WiTRs – spurred on by Virginie – previously funded beds and supplies for the children in the school. This year’s donation aims to fund all the school supplies for the coming year.
Virginie comments: “We gathered a small but very dedicated crowd, with 10 WiTRs plus friends, and had a very good time, sharing stories of our business and life but more importantly, raised such a nice amount of money for these children. The very generous gifts were a hit and made the raffle a lot of fun. Thank you to those who sent in donations also.”
Virginie will be visiting the school in August and it is not too late to send in a donation. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
During TFWA Asia Pacific Conference and Exhibition, at the first TR Business Travel Retail Awards judged by consumers, TRBusiness and their guests joined forces with Women in Travel Retail to raise money for WiTR’s chosen 2018 charity – Hand in Hand for Haiti. WiTR aims to raise €15,000 to purchase musical instruments for the school, which was funded by the industry in Haiti to rebuild children’s lives following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
The generosity of guests who contributed through a charity raffle, and TRB who donated a percentage from every seat sold, resulted in a fantastic start to the 2018 fund raising by raising €5600.
Olivier Bottrie, President and Co-founder, Hand in Hand for Haiti said: “This is amazing. Let me thank you, WiTR and TRB for this great event and support for HiHH. Introducing interactive music to our children will give them a sense of joy and real confidence.”
On the eve of TFWA Asia Pacific conference opening, WiTR’s representative in Asia, Chandra Mahtani, Vice President, T5 Commercial Planning (Airside Concessions Division), and her team sacrificed their Sunday morning to give WiTR members a very special tour of Terminal 4 at Changi Airport which commenced operations on 31 October 2017. T4 is home to several carriers led by Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and AirAsia, and will welcome approximately 8 million passengers in its first year of operations.
The landside check-in and procedures include state-of-the-art self-service technology and unusually passengers can see from landside to airside while admiring the Petalclouds, another of the amazing moving artworks for which Changi Airport is renowned.
Covering 16,000sqm of commercial space, T4 is home to several new and innovative retail concepts.
At the airside area, passengers experience Changi Airport’s first integrated duty-free zone jointly operated by DFS and Shilla for the Liquor & Tobacco and Perfumes & Cosmetics categories respectively. Through their close collaboration with Changi Airport Group, the integrated duty-free zone is able to process pre-orders and purchases from both categories, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.
A range of specialist boutiques line either side of the open lounge area, starting with double-volume façade flagship stores for brands such as TWG which is its largest outlet in the world and The Cocoa Trees which house a carnival-themed concept. This culminates in the Heritage Zone which epitomises the “sense of place”, offering a unique showcase of the Straits Chinese Peranakan culture. The beautiful shophouse façade, housing an array of well-known and beloved Singaporean brands, is complemented by a sensational immersive three-dimensional story of two families in dispute but with a happy ending in marriage…. Some of us even tried to look the part (see photos).
The hospitality throughout the tour was legendary, starting with a Hendricks cocktail on the experiential bar, tea-sampling with macaroons at the stunning TWG store, tasting of the Singaporean barbecued meats and special cakes, before being hosted for a delicious lunch by local F&B operator Select Group which showcased popular cuisines from various Asian countries.
A big thank you to Chandra and her team, and also to T4 retailers Raelene Johnson (Shilla) and Amy Chan (WH Smith). As you will see from Chandra’s title, Terminal 5 is next and we can’t wait to see what new benchmark that will set!
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day has been observed for over a century, with the first gathering support from over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) decide to mark the day with a number of activities throughout the world.
We teamed up with the Moodie Davitt Report to celebrate IWD with a branded make-over of the website.
WiTR raises Breast Cancer awareness in Singapore
In Singapore, an intimate and cosy networking-cum-sharing event was held on 8 March 2018, kindly sponsored by Estee Lauder, with the support of WiTR Steering Committee Member Chandra Mahtani (Changi Airport Group).
Held at The Glass House, Hotel Fort Canning, the event attracted over 30 female executives from the travel retail industry, as well as local brands / operators.
Chandra kicked off the night’s programme with a welcome address and an introduction to the WiTR’s vision and efforts. She shared about the WITR’s attractive member benefits such as the member-only area access during tax free shows, networking forums and industry data and research and enticed the guests to sign up as members. She also touched on WiTR’s current fundraising plans for the launch of a music program for children jointly organised with the charity organization, Hand in Hand for Haiti.
The night’s event continued with an inspiring and personal sharing session by two speakers from Estee Lauder’s selected charity, Breast Cancer Foundation.
The audience benefitted from the informative talk by Ms. Anthea Kiu, GM of Breast Cancer Foundation, on breast cancer prevention and detection. Ms. Linda Tam, a breast cancer survivor, touched the audience with an animated and inspirational account of her overcoming the disease.
Ms. Celine Tan, Estee Lauder’s Regional Brand Director for Origins, Glam Glow and Becca, then rounded up the session with a sharing on wellness tips and Estee Lauder’s initiatives for breast cancer.
The guests were treated to a champagne toast session before the start of the networking segment. An exciting lucky draw with prizes sponsored by Pashma, Estee Lauder, FNA and DFS marked the end of a wonderful evening of a successful and lively event. All participants also went home with door gifts generously sponsored by Estee Lauder.
WiTR Pampering Lunch in Dubai
International Women’s Day was celebrated in style in Dubai on March 8th with a special ‘pampering lunch’ organized by WiTR’s regional steering group member Sinead El Sibai of Dubai Duty Free (DDF).
DDF teamed up with Shisedo and Nars to provide WiTR Middle East members with a relaxing skin care and make-up session at the stylish Cuba lounge at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. A light lunch was served in Cuba, which enjoys spectacular views over the city, with drinks being provided by Bottega.
The 20 women, all of whom are signed up members of WiTR, enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and heard about plans for the WiTR website which will provide members with invaluable industry information as well as practical advice for those who travel frequently.
Speaking at the lunch, Sinead said: “WiTR provides us with a great opportunity to interact with other female executives and share our experiences. The plan is to have WiTR events in our individual regions on a regular basis and I have asked those attending on International Women’s Day to share their thoughts on the kind of events that they feel we should organize, which would help them either from a business or social angle.
“Many thanks to Shisedo, to Nars and to Bottega for helping us host this inaugural event in Dubai” added Sinead.
In London, WiTR members enjoyed a networking meal at The Westminster Kitchen
In Warsaw, a large group women from the industry toasted IWD in the back of a TFWA management committee meeting.
Despite terrible weather in Amsterdam, an event was held at the Kyas Art Salon attended by representatives from PVH, Marchon and Heineken.
While others, such as Kurate International in Ireland, showed their support.
The Women in Travel Retail network is gaining momentum with events last month at MEADFA in Dubai, and next in March on International Women’s Day and at the Summit of the Americas in Orlando.
Dubai Duty Free senior officials headed by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO with Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer, Salah Tahlak, Executive Vice President-Corporate Services and Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President-Marketing, conducting the Millennium Millionaire Draw to win US$1million in Series 262, won by Mr Pacicco with ticket no. 4548. A Canadian national from Quebec, Mr Paccico is the seventh Canadian to win in the US$1 million promotion since its inception in 1999.
The members section of the website is being expanded to include a Data and Resources section to help you understand the latest in our fast-moving industry, and to make stunning presentations packed with facts and insight. There’s also a Health & Well-being section under development.
All this – and more – for £25 per year!
Become a member of WiTR with three friends before the end of March and you are in with a chance to win a ticket (worth Dhs1,000… c. GBP200) which will be entered into the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw.
The 80 members who have already joined WiTR can also participate by encouraging three new members to join.
How to be part of this: when your three friends have joined, send their names to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your own name will then be entered in the draw which closes on March 31st at midday CET. The draw will be made from those names before midnight (CET) on March 31st.
If you are lucky enough to be the winner of a ticket, you will receive an email from WiTR followed by confirmation from Dubai Duty Free.
For information, the winner of the ticket has the chance to win US$1 million when their ticket is entered into the Millennium Millionaire draw. There is a total of 5,000 tickets in each series. The Millennium Millionaire draw was introduced by Dubai Duty Free in late 1999 to mark the new millennium and the opening of the new retail area in Terminal 1. To date, DDF has created 265 dollar millionaire. There are 6 winners who have won twice over the years, now that is some luck!
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