rain bowlodge cambodia

GREEN ROOTS

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to probably the most important page on this website & the one that explains our presence, devotion & plans to improve the welfare of those we work with, whilst maintaining that all important balance between nature & tourism.
Mission Statement
We cannot ignore the demands of tourists coming in to the area or it will suffer under the weight of numbers unchecked by sound practices and regulation. We therefore believe that we have a great responsibility as a tourist destination at the edge of a fragile ecosystem. Our very presence here, with the ongoing need for energy, water and supplies, and our production of various forms of waste, will always have an impact on the local environment.

Our commitment is to operate in a way that promotes, at every level, responsible tourism. We aim not only to preserve our local environment for present needs, but to help to conserve it for future generations to enjoy and experience, Conservation.

Through our business activities we involve the local people in a way that facilitates improvement in their health and wellbeing in a sustainable and self-empowering way, Community, and at the same time give tourists a positive experience of local ecology & culture that informs and educates them, Education.

This commitment to sustainable Ecotourism forms the foundation of our operations, and every decision that we make gives full consideration to these three main areas of focus.
Conservation
We seek to minimise our footprint in all areas of operation, aiming not just for a neutral impact but seeking to create a positive environmental impact wherever possible. Our aim is not only to prevent further erosion of this rainforest environment, but to facilitate its recovery from the damage that has been done to it in the past, from deforestation, illegal logging, overhunting, river dredging and the building of a number of dams in our local area.

Conservation is the first consideration in not only our operational systems, but most importantly the design and construction of our facilities. Our permanent buildings utilise local designs and methods in constructing new facilities, and use sustainable local materials such as palm wood for timber and palm leafs for roofing, wherever reasonably practical. ​

Our energy needs are met by a hybrid system utilising solar in the dry season and a combination of solar & hydro during the wet season, with those needs being minimised by low wattage equipment and our efforts in improving guest awareness of the impact of their energy consumption. The installation of a bio digester manages all human and food waste, turning it into Biogas that can be used for cooking & lighting. Access to water is our biggest challenge even in a rainforest, and our demand particularly in the dry season is supplemented, using storage tanks and a reservoir, during the rainy season. We use non-chemical water filters to provide quality drinking water. For trekking activities our guides carry a LifeStraw filtration system to replenish stocks mid-journey and thereby avoid the need to carry extra bottled water.

In all operations, our first commitment is to reduce our usage of resources as much as possible, especially those that cannot be reused or recycled. Where we recognize an unavoidable negative impact, we endeavor to create a positive offset such as allowing the forest vegetation on our property, which was previously deforested, to grow back.

We reduce our reliance on outside produce for meals using the fruit and vegetables grown on our property, including ginger, jackfruit, limes, cucumbers, coconut and pumpkin. Several other types of fruit tree have also been planted, and we intend to add to our range of homegrown produce in the coming years. Most of our produce is purchased at the local market in Koh Kong, ensuring freshness and quality. We further support independent local businesses such as IBIS Rice, Kurata Pepper, Three Rivers Coffee and Saboo Natural Soaps, who themselves also provide sustainable local employment. We use this local produce in our new range of homemade breads, peanut butter, yoghurt and jams, with plans to introduce beehives for the cultivation of honey. We have also created our own range of eco cleaning products for use throughout the premises.

On a broader scale, we have previously engaged in opposing environmentally detrimental activities in the local areas, such as the commercial dredging of sand from Tatai River for construction and the creation of a number of dams within the Cardamom Mountains, funded through foreign investment with little benefit to the country that serves it. We are currently collaborating with the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry’s and Farms in order to bring scientists from around the world to the Cardamom Mountains for a number of Bio Blitz events that will catalogue the variety of unique species that needs protection.
Community
Our efforts in raising the quality of life for the people in our local area begins with the employment opportunities we offer, currently providing a year-round salary above local levels for more than 10 staff. By purchasing our supplies from local markets, and using local service providers for our transport needs, we also provide a reliable income source for several small local businesses, improving their capacity and financial resilience and empowering their business growth. ​

Rainbow Lodge is proud of the many social and community projects our Community Fund has helped to resource over the years, especially our very close ties with the schools of Tatai & Koh Andet, PPAWS and more recently our Community Enterprise Initiatives.
Education
Education in Cambodia is controlled by the state through the Ministry of Education at a national level and by the Department of Education at a provincial level. The Constitution of Cambodia dictates that the state shall protect and upgrade citizen’s rights to quality education at all levels. There are five levels of education that includes pre-school, primary, general secondary, higher education and non-formal education and embraces the development of sport, information technology education, research development and technical education. Sadly the educational budget of Cambodia falls widely short of its ability to provide the basic of resource, school infrastructure, teaching materials, like computers & internet, and the teachers themselves are all failing the system. Non-government organisations however have stepped in and Cambodia has one of the highest rated concentration of educationally lead NGO presence worldwide.

Collectively, the government schools in our area have approximately 200 students and 10 teachers, but actually receive very little funding or assistance from the local government. Rainbow Lodge has been using guest donations to help support the staff and students of both schools in a variety of ways since the Lodge opened.

In past years and with the participation of other local businesses we have provided solar power, computers, sports and playground equipment, IT training & English lessons. Most recently, we have installed a new and improved water collection, storage and sanitation system for the school as well as constructing a new toilet block.

We are proud to have played our part in providing educational support to the local primary schools of Tatai & Koh Andet and will continue to provide bespoke classes, teacher support and educational workshops.
Project Plans
With limited funding & resources it is paramount that we maintain an equilibrium between low cost schemes benefiting individuals of the community and those more expensive projects that impact the community as a whole. ​

Funding as mentioned previously, comes from guest donations, NGO & charitable donations. We have plans to add a third revenue stream through the sale of locally produced merchandise for example, honey, preserves & pickles.
Merchandised Sales

Our plans are to provide guests and other supportive local businesses, the opportunity to purchase locally made preserves & pickles. Initially we will fund the resource and materials to get this project of the ground and once operational we are hopeful the three micro projects, Give a Pig, Bio Digestion & Tree & Vegetable Cultivation that support this scheme, will be self-funding in its evolution. Each micro project is expected to benefit both individual families, small family groups and the environment as a whole.

​ For example, the poorer families of the community will be provided the means of a sustainable source of income through the sale of livestock. The animal waste will supplement the production of a biogas in providing a fuel for cooking & source of light, whilst reducing the health risk associated with poorly managed sanitation. The bio digesters by-product will act as a suitable fertilizer, for the trees & plants we will cultivate in bearing the fruit & vegetables, for our locally made honey, preserves & pickles. Need we say more about the importance of honey bees!

Tree & Vegetable Cultivation

Excessive farming practices & the clearing of land for rice cultivation has resulted in scorched lands. Trees as most of us are aware, maintain an ecological balance. They affect rainfall and without them there is less water for irrigation and the cultivation of crops, the effects of such, many Cambodian Farmers are only just beginning to realise.

​ Weather patterns over the last couple of years have resulted in severe periods of drought and many seasonal crops, primarily rice harvests, have fallen victim resulting in a loss of revenue and for most a valuable food source. ​

Trees provide shade and without them the ground dries up and reduces the amount of nutrients in the ground, making it ever harder to maintain the following season’s crop. More worryingly if left unchallenged for any length of time, could potentially result in famine like situations and the health risks associated with such.

​ Through a series of educational workshops we propose to demonstrate the benefits of planting and maintaining orchards and vegetable gardens. In cooperation with local villagers, we are planning to fund a number of orchards & vegetable gardens that will provide a valuable and alternative source of food whilst having a positive effect on the environment. In return we will receive fruits and vegetables for the production of our locally made preserves & pickles.

Give a Pig

Rearing livestock as a means of survival is common practice in rural Cambodia, but one that is very often beyond the reaches of the poorest families a community. With the help of our community partners we will identify those families in much need of support and provide them with the opportunity to raise a piglet and subsequent management of a litter. ​

Chosen families will, having agreed to a memorandum of undertaking, will be provided with a piglet, an initial supply of fodder & materials to build a suitable enclosure pen. During the piglets development the family will be encouraged to collect & recycle the food wastes of local businesses to supplement fodder demand.

​ Educational support will be provided in all aspects of rearing, including best practice guidelines for the health & safety of both human & animal welfare, together with regular checks for compliance. ​

Once the gilt has grown to a mating age, the family will be given access to a boar and the ensuing litter, having given back one piglet to the program, will be theirs to continue rearing or sold as they see fit. The gilt will remain the property of the scheme coordinators until two successful rearing cycles have been completed.

Bio Digestion

For the innocent reader, a bio digester is like a mechanical stomach. It is fed with organic material, which is broken down by micro-organisms, more commonly referred to as bacteria, in an oxygen-free environment to produce a renewable energy called biogas, which is a combination of methane and carbon dioxide and other material that is mainly used as fertiliser. ​

Any organic material can be used to feed a bio digester including human waste, but some materials work better than others because they are easier for bacteria to digest. Anaerobic digesters, as they are often referred to, work well when supplemented with animal manure from farm animals. ​

The construction of a bio-digester plays an important role in improving the quality of life for households & smaller hamlets. Families can benefit from reduced air pollution, improved environmental sanitation & fuel for cooking or lighting their homes. It may also help to minimise logging as many families rely on wood as their primary fuel source. ​

Building a bio digester is relatively easy and a unit serving 16-20 people would cost somewhere in the region of $750 and last for years with periodic maintenance. Installations will continue as the merchandise scheme evolves in its own right & supplemented as donations become available. Piglet benefactors, under the memorandum of undertakings, will be obliged to donate animal waste in the optimisation of each unit we construct. ​

Refill Not Landfill

Refill Not Landfill is a scheme set up to cut down on the millions of plastic water bottles discarded in Cambodia each year by offering an alternative: reusable aluminum bottles. Through an informal consortium of businesses and organizations the scheme hopes to revolutionize the way that tourists consume water in a country where few plastic containers are recycled, with most ending up in mountainous landfills or piled up beside the road, choking the Kingdom’s waterways and littering azure fields with waste.

The statistics are shocking: Some 4.8 million visitors travelled to Cambodia in 2015, staying for an average of 6.8 days with each visitor consuming around 2 litres of water per day. This means 10 million half-litre bottles could have been used (and thrown away) in just one month. That’s 355,000 bottles per day or 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of plastic per year.

With an expected lifecycle in excess of four years and current sales nationally of 41,000 units (As 2016) this scheme has potentially contributed to a reduction of over 175 million discarded plastic bottles. ​

There are numerous outlets up & down the country now participating in the sale of reusable bottles. In addition these outlets operate as service stations where bottles can be refilled free of charge.

We are proud to be part of this initiative and we hope you will join us in working together to develop a greener, more beautiful country and planet for the benefit of all mankind.
Guest Donations

It’s regrettable that we continue to fight against illegal logging, animal trapping and many other harmful acts against the environment, which community members continue to practice. Much of this is born through a basic need to survive, whilst remaining ignorant to the impact their actions have on the environment and for the future of their siblings. Guest Donations ​

It’s regrettable that we continue to fight against illegal logging, animal trapping and many other harmful acts against the environment, which community members continue to practice. Much of this is born through a basic need to survive, whilst remaining ignorant to the impact their actions have on the environment and for the future of their siblings. ​

The schools we support play a lead role in turning the table on these destructive acts against nature and education is a powerful tool. If we are to improve the culture of our community than what better way than through the children and their families, after all, they are tomorrow’s future.

Guest donations will focus on five key elements, all purposefully linked to improving the education of tomorrow’s decision makers. ​

Language & Computer Studies

In the past we have funded a series of bespoke English lessons and computer training classes which have proven very successful. Tatai & Koh Andet schools are currently undergoing changes to their school status and work is underway to provide secondary education in the near future. We plan to supplement this welcomed upgrade in educational status with further classes once the schools have adjusted accordingly to the changes afoot.

Community Enterprise Initiatives

Rainbow Lodge believe in empowering the people of Tatai to develop their own small business ideas using their existing skills to provide a meaningful service in the local community. So far we have successfully launched two local enterprises and have plans to introduce more as funds become available. ​

Panna’s Laundry Business

Panna has been a loyal and valuable employee of Rainbow Lodge for many years and has taken on a variety of roles from cleaning, cooking and serving in the bar and restaurant. During that time, she has been proactive in developing her hospitality and English speaking skills. She is an intelligent woman, who is quick to learn. ​

Panna is local to Tatai and is married to Wan who is also an employee at Rainbow Lodge. They have two children O’Jim and Millie. As the oldest child in her family, Panna takes her responsibility to look after and provide for her wider family very seriously. ​

Panna’s family live in a small hamlet of Tatai on the other side of the river from Rainbow Lodge and due to her careful accounting skills have been able to raise enough money to start building themselves a new, bigger house. To help fund the new house Panna has started a community enterprise. ​

Rainbow Lodge have helped Panna to set up her business & assist in the funding of equipment so she can gain a supplementary income for herself and her family. She now provides a much needed laundry service in Tatai to service the local businesses including Rainbow Lodge. This extra income has enabled her to move forward with the family’s new house build and assist relatives with hospital bills for much needed medical treatment. ​

Mom’s Tailoring Business

​ Mom is a small dynamic character with a natural maternal instinct and a wicked sense of humour. She has been a cook at rainbow lodge for many years. She also lives in the same hamlet with her two young children and her husband and mother. ​

Before working at the lodge Mom was an employee in a garment factory. She has fantastic tailoring skills and often makes beautiful brightly coloured dresses for herself and other women from the local community to wear to traditional Khmer weddings.

​ Mom has set up her own community enterprise with the help of Rainbow Lodge using her sewing skills to make sheets for guest houses in the local community, including Rainbow Lodge. Key to Moms success was a reliable electric sewing machine & a reliable power source to set up this enterprise, Rainbow Lodge helped her to fund this initial cost, to help her realise her business concept. ​

Mom is now able to work from home during her time off to gain a supplementary income to help her support her family. This extra money has helped her to contribute towards paying for the materials for her husband to build their new house, which has provided much needed extra room for their growing family. ​

Environmental Workshops

​ Working with and in support of other professional operations we aim to

Waste Recycling & Disposal

An ongoing initiative that is slowly bearing signs of success but still has a long way to go. Following the implementation of a number of waste collection points we are slowly moving towards the separation of recyclable materials which can be either reused in construction or sold on for recycling.

Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society

Our efforts don’t stop at the local human community. Since 2010 we have regularly supported the efforts of Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society, PPAWS, in providing veterinary care & support to the owners of sick & injured animals. We carry out 3 to 4 workshops every year treating ailments like mange, eye-infections and open wounds, to offering preventive services such as neutering, tick and flea treatments, and vaccinations for rabies and heart-worm.

The Society was founded in 2011 by Nicola Scales, since then it has grown in size and now has several employees and volunteers from around the world. Their aim is to improve the welfare of Cambodia’s cats and dogs. The following link provides a detailed insight to the invaluable work this organization undertakes & we are delighted to be able to support them in the achievement of their goals. http://www.ppaws.com/ ​ ​

The schools we support play a lead role in turning the table on these destructive acts against nature and education is a powerful tool. If we are to improve the culture of our community than what better way than through the children and their families, after all, they are tomorrow’s future.

Guest donations will focus on five key elements, all purposefully linked to improving the education of tomorrow’s decision makers.

Language & Computer Studies

​ In the past we have funded a series of bespoke English lessons and computer training classes which have proven very successful. Tatai & Koh Andet schools are currently undergoing changes to their school status and work is underway to provide secondary education in the near future. We plan to supplement this welcomed upgrade in educational status with further classes once the schools have adjusted accordingly to the changes afoot. ​

Community Enterprise Initiatives

Rainbow Lodge believe in empowering the people of Tatai to develop their own small business ideas using their existing skills to provide a meaningful service in the local community. So far we have successfully launched two local enterprises and have plans to introduce more as funds become available. ​

Panna’s Laundry Business

​ Panna has been a loyal and valuable employee of Rainbow Lodge for many years and has taken on a variety of roles from cleaning, cooking and serving in the bar and restaurant. During that time, she has been proactive in developing her hospitality and English speaking skills. She is an intelligent woman, who is quick to learn.

​ Panna is local to Tatai and is married to Wan who is also an employee at Rainbow Lodge. They have two children O’Jim and Millie. As the oldest child in her family, Panna takes her responsibility to look after and provide for her wider family very seriously. ​

Panna’s family live in a small hamlet of Tatai on the other side of the river from Rainbow Lodge and due to her careful accounting skills have been able to raise enough money to start building themselves a new, bigger house. To help fund the new house Panna has started a community enterprise.

​ Rainbow Lodge have helped Panna to set up her business & assist in the funding of equipment so she can gain a supplementary income for herself and her family. She now provides a much needed laundry service in Tatai to service the local businesses including Rainbow Lodge. This extra income has enabled her to move forward with the family’s new house build and assist relatives with hospital bills for much needed medical treatment. ​

Mom’s Tailoring Business

​ Mom is a small dynamic character with a natural maternal instinct and a wicked sense of humour. She has been a cook at rainbow lodge for many years. She also lives in the same hamlet with her two young children and her husband and mother. ​

Before working at the lodge Mom was an employee in a garment factory. She has fantastic tailoring skills and often makes beautiful brightly coloured dresses for herself and other women from the local community to wear to traditional Khmer weddings. ​

Mom has set up her own community enterprise with the help of Rainbow Lodge using her sewing skills to make sheets for guest houses in the local community, including Rainbow Lodge. Key to Moms success was a reliable electric sewing machine & a reliable power source to set up this enterprise, Rainbow Lodge helped her to fund this initial cost, to help her realise her business concept. ​

Mom is now able to work from home during her time off to gain a supplementary income to help her support her family. This extra money has helped her to contribute towards paying for the materials for her husband to build their new house, which has provided much needed extra room for their growing family. ​

Environmental Workshops

Working with and in support of other professional operations we aim to

Waste Recycling & Disposal

​ An ongoing initiative that is slowly bearing signs of success but still has a long way to go. Following the implementation of a number of waste collection points we are slowly moving towards the separation of recyclable materials which can be either reused in construction or sold on for recycling.

Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society

​ Our efforts don’t stop at the local human community. Since 2010 we have regularly supported the efforts of Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society, PPAWS, in providing veterinary care & support to the owners of sick & injured animals. We carry out 3 to 4 workshops every year treating ailments like mange, eye-infections and open wounds, to offering preventive services such as neutering, tick and flea treatments, and vaccinations for rabies and heart-worm.

The Society was founded in 2011 by Nicola Scales, since then it has grown in size and now has several employees and volunteers from around the world. Their aim is to improve the welfare of Cambodia’s cats and dogs. The following link provides a detailed insight to the invaluable work this organization undertakes & we are delighted to be able to support them in the achievement of their goals. http://www.ppaws.com/ ​
Charitable Donations

Funding for bespoke projects can often take months, sometimes years to come to fruition, unlike revenue from merchandise sales & guest donations, which are used to support ongoing initiatives. Charitable donations from NGO’s, businesses & individuals alike are paramount to the success of these unique objectives. ​

It is our mission to actively seek funding through Crowd Sharing websites, business partners & suppliers and individuals alike. We welcome any advice & or support you can provide in helping us in the fulfillment of our plans. sity of those that care.

Water Purification Plant

​ Everyone should have access to clean drinking water but sadly this is not the case. More than 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet. 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. ​

Recently we lost out in our bid for funding towards building a water purification plant for the village of Tatai. This unit alone would have served the community of Tatai with clean filtered drinking water well into the next generation. Disappointing as it was there is a community in Indonesia that is now benefiting from safe clean water through the generosity of those that care. We continue to seek financial support to provide Tatai with a much needed & lasting clean water supply and hope next time it might just be our turn! ​

Rain Buddies

Setting aside our greater aspirations we cannot ignore the need of those without access to clean drinking water today!

Our short term aim is to provide individual families with independent water filtration units. These units are readily available worldwide and are generally intended for the filtration of stored rainwater. Sadly there are many communities that don’t have the means of capturing & storing the primary source of water for filtration. With this in mind we sought a solution that would reduce the risk of filtering potentially harmful untreated water that is resistant to the capabilities of these filtering units.

In collaboration with a similar scheme run by a Thai based Foundation we found a filtering unit similar to those general sold but with silver impregnated into the filter. Silver for years has been used in hospital water systems to control Legionella & in cooling towers to control bacterial growth. The use of silver in these units enhances the ability to control and eradicate bacterial growth in water. ​

Please consider contributing or donating one of these units which cost $58 & will serve a family of 4 with a enough clean drinking water on a daily basis. ​
Funding

Our previous successes and indeed the fulfilment of our long term objectives are solely reliant on the support of our guests, NGO & charities alike and we graciously thank you for taking the time to consider our cause.

​ For further details of our funding initiatives please write to us at info@rainbowlodgecambodia.com

Collaboration of Community Activities

It is fundamentally important we react timely & with continuity, to the needs of community in order to gain the trust & respect for the actions we take, in providing an improved standard of living for those we so dearly rely upon for our own survival. ​

​Wherever possible we involve and work closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Education & Health Departments in Koh Kong & the communities we serve, in achieving our objectives in community funding, development, family support & the preservation of the surrounding environment.