When I was traveling through Kampong Cham in Cambodia few weeks ago, I already knew that I really wanted to visit the Eco Tourism village of Cheung Kok .
Cheung Kok is a traditional village which was developed in a sustainable way with support from AMICA (Assistance Mediation Internationale pour le Cambodge), a french NGO .
Source : http://amica-web.com/
After relying on rice cultivation for a long period time, the village had to diversify and look for other sources of income and development . The villagers could not survive only on rice cultivation due to the shortage of cultivable lands and insufficient water resources .
Amica initiated and accompanied the villagers in the development of ecotourism and handicrafts to allow people from Cheungkok to recover from economic crisis and nutritional deficiencies related to their precarious agriculture .
By trying to find a fair balance between respect, authenticity, openness & friendship, the villagers – with the help of AMICA – offer the visitors a deep immersion in the traditional khmer life and a better understanding of sustainable rural development .
When I visited Cheung Kok , I was accompanied by Agathe, who is working as a volunteer at Amica, and a local guide . I could see and take part in how villagers process palm sugar and weave multi-used scarves called ‘krama’ that are an integral part of Khmer identity . I also learned more about their long term projects concerning education, health and environment .
The visit of Cheung Kok was for me a unique and unforgettable experience that I recommend for everyone who wants to discover an innovative concept of sustainable rural development .
When visiting the village of Cheung Kok, tourists can also purchase locally made handicrafts from abundant local materials such as coconut, bamboo, wood, palm leaves, rattan and seeds and support the preservation of traditional Cambodian silks .
Here you can watch the video I made with Agathe and Bonik , both working at Amica, concerning Amica and the Ecotourism projects :
Special thanks to Agathe for the warm welcoming and all the time she dedicated to present me the village and the work of Amica .
For more informations about Amica : http://amica-web.com/