When you open up the box a colorful picture pops out - just like a pop-out picture book! Cook MA’s Financiers are the result of an encounter between a Phnom Penh orphanage and a Japanese company.
The creator of this product, a Japanese company, ESSPRIDE, has a history of great commercial planning, streaming from the corporate message “361°” – taking a client’s idea and adding that extra 1° to make it unique, such as collaborating with well-known local confectionary makers to create one off goods for artists’ events. This collaboration started due to a meeting between an executive of the Japanese company and an orphanage, CCMHA which was run by a Japanese NPO at the time, about 4 years ago. They didn’t just want to support the orphanage but wanted to help the kids have and achieve future dreams – so they decided on creating a place for the kids to work after they exited the orphanage, the Cambodia Souvenir Project.
The souvenir project was started in Sept, 2016. The kids of the orphan loved drawing, so one orphan's drawing was selected as the original pictures for the box and this was relayed back to Japan where a designer worked on the packaging. By March, 2017 the marketing plan was in place and they made their first product, palm sugar financiers. They were first sold at the NyoNyum shop. The number of products has grown, including the use of locally sourced cashew nuts, and they are sold in many more outlets. “I’m so happy my drawings can be used for such a great product”, says 19-year-old CCMHA orphan, “I enjoy drawing so I want to do more projects like this.”
The project manager, Mr. Kashimura says, “I feel Cambodia has less employment options than Japan. I want to let Cambodian children know that creative projects like this are fulfilling as I see the happiness it brings people. It would be great if one of the orphans became a creator in the future.” He’d like for them to continue participating in the products’ planning, and contributing to the packaging designs.