For the past five years, a socially conscious U.S business called Digital Divide Data has played a leading role in the emergence of Cambodia’s IT services industry, while also providing competitive paying jobs, career training, and healthcare to the country’s disadvantaged people. The award-winning U.S business will celebrate its 5th anniversary gala on October 21, at Chenla Theatre in Phnom Penh.
Jerry Hockenstein, a Canadian along with four other Americans, founded digital Divide Data, and opened their doors for business in 2001. They saw an opportunity to get into data entry work, and wanted to create job opportunities for people in Cambodia and Laos.
Few businesses in Cambodia train and educate their employees to make them more skilled workers, particularly disadvantaged people. DDD aims to hire people who often could not easily find work in Cambodia, including youth with polio, landmine victims, orphans, and abused women.
Jeremy Hockenstein, co-founder of DDD said in an interview with National Radio, that when he was in Cambodia he saw “universities [that] won’t even admit individuals with missing limbs”, and that’s when he decided to help disadvantaged people by starting an international business that would employ the people in poverty-stricken Cambodia.
In helping employees with their career development, DDD offers English language classes. They also provide their staff with health insurance, and above average salaries for entry-level data work. But one of their better perks, is that they offer their employees reduced working hours.
Through their training programs, more than 100 of their employees have “graduated” from entry level position to local jobs paying them an average of $153 a month, which is 6 times the average per capital income in Cambodia.
Digital Divide Data’s initiatives has been recognized globally for its groundbreaking and grass roots approach to economic development in developing countries, which also led the company to received the Development Marketplace Award in 2003, from the World Bank.