Courtenay eatery raising funds for Cambodian shelter project

Tita’s serves Cambodian food Sunday for the Banteay Srey Project, which provides safe shelter for Cambodian women.

LISA (FREYA) METZ will serve Cambodian food Sunday at Tita's to raise funds for the Banteay Srey Project.

LISA (FREYA) METZ will serve Cambodian food Sunday at Tita's to raise funds for the Banteay Srey Project.

Tita’s Mexican Restaurant is serving Cambodian food this Sunday for the Banteay Srey Project, which provides safe shelter and opportunities for exploited young Cambodian women escaping prostitution.

The project was founded by the Courtenay restaurant’s owner Lisa (Freya) Metz. She will speak about her experiences in Cambodia and establishing the project over the past two years.

As co-owner of Tita’s for more than 12 years, she has a strong business background and has trained, mentored and empowered many local young women new to the workforce. She is now applying this experience and her skills full time to the Banteay Srey Project.

After her family adopted twin infant orphan girls from Cambodia when Freya was a child, she developed a lifelong interest in the country and Khmer culture. Freya has lived and travelled extensively in Cambodia, and speaks Khmer.

In Khmer, Banteay Srey means women’s temple, and refers to a famously beautiful temple built in honor of female deities in the Ankor Wat complex. The Banteay Srey Project provides a safe place for sexually exploited young Cambodian women to heal and grow in a nurturing environment and to build a new life.

Over the past year, Phase I of the project — renovations and construction of facilities and hiring and training Khmer staff — has been completed. Phase II — active recruiting of young women for the project’s programs — has begun. The project operates an on-site residential shelter as well as a women-only training spa.

Freya’s goal is to provide healing and skills for a better life for these women. Initial participation focuses on the women’s physical and psychological health, and then the women receive instruction in spa and business skills to work in the project’s spa and earn a training wage.

The women will be encouraged to transition from the Project when they are ready, working in spas in Cambodia’s burgeoning tourist industry or establishing their own businesses with project mentoring and support.

The gathering and fundraiser Oct. 14 is being run with the participation of Comox Valley supporters and volunteers. Gourmet Cambodian tapas will be served, and wine and beer will be available.

Freya returned from Cambodia with a variety of exotic Cambodia items — including Kampot’s famous pepper — which will be available for sale to support the project.

The event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Advance tickets for a donation of $20 are available at the Laughing Oyster Bookstore and Blue Heron Books and also at the door on Oct. 14 if available.

— Banteay Srey Project

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A fawn stands in a field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
MARS hoping to build fawn complex for rehab

Their goal is to raise $20,000 in a relatively short period of time.

Aspen Park in Comox is the latest school reporting a COVID-19 exposure. Screenshot, Google Maps
Fifth Comox Valley school reports COVID-19 exposure

Exposure at Aspen Park in Comox was reported for Feb. 22

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read