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In the Northern part of Thailand there is a distinct lack of education and employment opportunities for the vulnerable ethnic Karen minorities who often become victims of human trafficking, forced to work in sweat shops or sold into slavery.

In general, there is a lack of hospitality training in Thailand which is typically classroom based and neither sufficiently practical nor meets the professional service requirements of the industry.

To address both of these challenges, the Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement (IECD) together with the Tak Border Child Assistance Foundation (TBCAF) founded the Hospitality & Catering Training Center (HCTC) which offers a hospitality and catering vocational training programme in Mae Sot to young marginalised Karens, by providing both theoretical and practical training over a 2-year period, at no cost.

Solidarity AccorHotels supported this project since 2013 helping 120 beneficiaries through this programme. As part of Planet 21, AccorHotels’ sustainable development programme, AccorHotels in Thailand have also provided internships and employment opportunities to these trainees.

One of the beneficiaries, Kasemsri Bannangodngam is now a teacher at the HCTC’s restaurant. As the first in her village to study at the school, graduate and get a job, she is an inspiration to other young people in the region to seek out and realise a better future for themselves and their families.

With Bangkok recently surpassing London as the number one tourist destination in the world, it’s these type of initiatives that will provide inclusive, win-win solutions, growing value and delivering business impact whilst contributing towards sustainable social upliftment and the global development agenda.