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The Korean Missionary Society is helping disadvantaged Cambodians to set up their own motorcycle repair shops through its dedicated training center, KOMISO.
Established on the outskirts of western Phnom Penh in March 2009, KOMISO has now trained around 50 people. As well as the technical aspects of repairing a bike, it teaches its trainees the basics of business ethics, planning and management. This gives them the skills, know-how and confidence they need to get their business up and running and to keep it on the road.
“We launched the project to give people who are poor, vulnerable and alienated the chance of a new life,” says Dok Virak, project manager at the center.
The courses are thorough and comprehensive; each one lasts five and a half months. But KOMISO provides help beyond the training. “We also give the trainees accommodation, food, transport, medical care and we lend them some money to get the business going,” says Virak.
Sambath Rithy, one of the teachers at the center, points out that this additional support is vital. “The trainees can’t concentrate so well on their learning if they’re thinking about their poor families,” he says.