Cambodia Investment Review

Starbucks partners with The Asia Foundation’s ‘Let’s Read’ program to promote the culture of reading in Cambodia

Starbucks partners with The Asia Foundation’s ‘Let’s Read’ program to promote the culture of reading in Cambodia

Sreynich San

Starbucks Cambodia has continued its partnership with The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read program to promote the culture of reading specifically for children in Cambodia aged 5 to 10 years old.

To celebrate this partnership, a book launching event was held on the 18th of November 2022 under the theme “Women Empowerment and Children with Disabilities” at Raffles Hotel in Phnom Penh.

For 7 years in Cambodia, Starbucks has not only promoted the culture of reading but also taken care of the community, following the slogan: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”.

Let’s Read is an initiative that draws on The Asia Foundation’s deep expertise and networks in communities across Asia to cultivate the skills of local authors and illustrators while building Asia’s only free digital library for children.

Let’s Read books explore topics such as environmental stewardship, diversity, tolerance, gender equality, and STEM. As mobile penetration is high across Cambodia, digital library books are available anywhere, any time: and every book can be downloaded and printed for offline use if needed.

Starbucks gives back to the community

Mr. Por Lim, General Manager of Starbucks Cambodia and Laos said: “We have collaborated with The Asia Foundation since 2018. We will continue to collaborate and to engage in digital reading as smartphone penetration is very high in Cambodia.”

“Take me as an example; I have three small children, so I often put them into the digital reading challenge after their school class and reward them when they are done reading. This kind of activity can encourage children to love reading every day. This is why Starbucks Cambodia and The Asia Foundation keep doing this job,” he added.

Ms. Van Chansereyroth, from Starbucks also said: “Starbucks strongly supports the empowerment of women, we want them to have more potential, especially our young and talented writers who have their book launching today,” she said.

“Starbucks fully supports the project since August. Until now that these books has been completed, we will do our best to let everyone know about this initiative,” she added.

The Starbucks teams added they were also planning to renovate a library for school by repainting libraries, donating reading tables and more.

Woman’s Empowerment and Children with Disabilities

Ms. Meloney Lindberg, Country Representative of The Asia Foundation said: “The Let’s Read platform currently has 9,000 books in 51 different languages among those books, there are more than 500 books available in the Khmer language.”

According to Ms. Lindberg, all these books have been developed through a mix of translation and creating original Khmer content through the innovative process available on android and IOS devices.

“This evening along with Starbucks, we’re here for a special reason which is to highlight one main objective of our partnership to promote the reading culture in Cambodia. We are so pleased to have with us two young authors for rising stars in the Let’s Read program,” she added.

Omrin Pisey, a 24-year-old writer and author of the book being launched shared her experiences of writing books with Let’s Read adding with the help of the editor and design team, her newly published book was launched with great meaning.

“I have written a series of books, the first book I have ever written is about the environment, and the second one is about promoting reading in Cambodia. Last but not least, this one is about family and love,” she said.

“This time specifically, with the Let’s Read program with Starbucks, I, along with editors, created a book under the theme Woman Empowerment and Children with Disabilities, which focuses on the deaf child who is afraid to make friends,” she added.

Sopheawatey, another young writer who has her book published and launched also had a key message for girls to dare to have a dream and be strong enough to do anything that boys can do.

Starbucks has been operating in Cambodia since 2015 operating in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and Battambang. Most recently, Starbucks Cambodia expanded its branch to Laos, under the management of Coffee Concepts (Cambodia), Ltd.

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