Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Determination pays off for youngster Salet

Tenacious. Perseverant. Single-minded. These are words that friends and colleagues use to describe Salet Nhy. The 23-year-old works in the Food & Beverage service on The Jahan and principally manages the East India Club (our unique open funnel bar on the sun deck).

The eldest of eight siblings, born to farming parents in Siem Reap, Salet had to leave school after grade nine to care for her younger brothers and sisters. She recalls the days when she worked on her family’s farm in the day and taught English to the villagers in her community at night: “We couldn’t even afford a bicycle, so I had to walk five miles daily from my house to the English tuition centre.” Life was tough and the family could barely make ends meet. But the plucky Salet was not fazed. She was admitted to Sala Bai, a hotel school and not for profit organization that equips impoverished youngsters with skills for a career in hospitality.

In the evening Salet spent most of her free time to teach English to local kids and with her sister she built up a language school. Around 200 children visited and visit the class every evening to improve their English. “It makes me so happy to see the kids getting better in English and to give them hope for a future.” Salet sighs when thinking back of these days. “I have no time nowadays to teach but my sister is taking care of the school and I support her as much as I can”.

Given her superb command of the English language and her passion for the industry, Salet sailed through her studies. After jobs in luxury hotels in Siem Reap, she was spotted by a Heritage Line manager: “My friends and I were having drinks at this hotel in Siem Reap and she served us. We were thoroughly impressed by her care and attention and above all her cordial way and smiles when interacting with guests. So, there was no doubt, Salet had to be a member of the unique First Choice amily,” he says.

“I worked on the Jayavarman and now I have been with The Jahan for the past year. I love every minute of it,” Salet says. Asked about her ambitions, she says “I hope to be the assistant of our F&B supervisor one day.”

Given her unbridled persistence, we are certain that day will come soon. Real soon.

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