Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in Cambodia
Interested in being a Special Needs volunteer in Cambodia? International Volunteer HQ’s Special Needs Care project empowers volunteers to assist and interact with elementary school children who are disabled. Volunteers will gain experience of working with children with disabilities while the children in turn benefit from the extra care and attention they receive from volunteers. Effective and enthusiastic special needs care can make a real difference to their quality of life.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from AU$1141 for 5 weeks
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Give care and attention to children with a range of disabilites
Explore Cambodia’s diverse natural landscapes
Stay with other volunteers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
In Cambodia, people with disabilities are often excluded from society and can struggle to get the help they need. Elementary schools in Cambodia run special needs programs, but often there are too many students and not enough teachers. The help of volunteers means that staff are able split classes into smaller groups to provide more effective and personalised care which can make a huge difference to students’ quality of life.
As a Special Needs volunteer you’ll be helping those with a range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disabilities. You may also take part in outreach work, where you’ll visit the homes of students who cannot attend class.
Special Needs volunteers may find themselves helping with a range of tasks including:
- Assisting special needs teachers
- Helping with the basic activities of daily life
- Encouraging the development of social and community skills
- Supporting therapeutic activities and rehabilitation
Why do Special Needs Care volunteering in Cambodia with IVHQ?
Why do Special Needs volunteering in Cambodia with IVHQ? While volunteering on the Special Needs project in Cambodia, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Supporting young people with disabilities
- Helping improve access to care for people with disabilities
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining experience working with disabled youth
- Immersing yourself fully in Khmer culture
- Discovering Cambodia’s beautiful beaches
- Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Cambodia photo gallery
”Volunteering in Cambodia through IVHQ is such an amazing experience. Not once did I feel unsafe during my 2 volunteer programs and if there ever came a time that I needed help the local team and IVHQ were right there to help me out. It is such a great way to see the country while being able to give back at the same time. Allowing me to broaden my horizons and meet so many people around the world. I would with out a doubt definitely go back and volunteer for a 3rd time.”
Read reviews from Special Needs Care volunteers in CambodiaSee more reviews
In the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is a country full of beauty and tragedy. As well as an abundance of beautiful beaches and temples there are many reminders of the history of genocide and civil war that left Cambodia one of the least developed countries in the world. In Phnom Penh there are numerous places where you can learn about what happened, including the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum or Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre. It is important to be informed about these poignant events in order to gain a better understanding and deeper respect for the Cambodian people and their culture.
As an IVHQ volunteer in Cambodia you could be based at placements in the capital city of Phnom Penh, the remote city of Battambang, or by the impressive temples of Siem Reap.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of the month and volunteers need to arrive in Siem Reap any time on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Siem Reap International Airport (REP). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in Siem Reap. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night before your program orientation.
If you are travelling in Cambodia prior to your volunteer program, the local team can pick you up on Sunday from any hostel or hotel in Siem Reap.
Orientation is hosted by our Cambodia team at the volunteer house in Siem Reap. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Cambodia – an introduction to Cambodia, its culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
Volunteer schedule example
On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays - A typical volunteer day might be:
|7:00 AM||Breakfast in the volunteer house or with your host family|
|9:00 AM||Volunteer leaves home and travels to the project to begin work|
|12:00 - 2:00 PM||Lunch break. In Cambodia all workplaces have a lunch break for about 2 hours. Some start earlier, some later. During this lunch break you are welcome to stay at your placement. Some placements will offer you food.|
|2:00 - 5:00 PM||Work at the project usually ends. You are free to travel home, sightsee or do some shopping.|
|7:00 PM||Dinner in the volunteer house or with the host family.|
Cambodia is packed with a vast range of things to do and see in your free time. In the modern capital city of Phnom Penh you can visit the king’s official residence, The Royal Palace, and the famous Silver Pagoda, check out the huge art-deco market, cruise along the Mekong or learn about Cambodia’s devastating history at one of the many museums.
The tourist hub of Siem Reap is home to Angkor Wat, a collection of temples that together form the largest religious monument in the world. There are many hotels, resorts, markets and museums, and nearby is a lake with floating villages, a national park featuring waterfalls, rivers and Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha.
During the long public holidays in April, September and November, you may also wish to travel further afield to Laos, Vietnam or Thailand.
Accommodation and WiFi
You’ll stay in a volunteer house where you can expect to share a room with three to seven other volunteers. Bedrooms have bunk beds with a bottom sheet, blanket and pillow provided. Due to the heat, there are electric fans in each room, but no air conditioning.
Volunteer houses are located in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The volunteer houses have electricity and running water and the majority of rooms have private bathrooms. In each volunteer house, there is a sitting area, dining area, television and WiFi.
Volunteers on the Teaching project in Battambang will be accommodated in a homestay which is located in the school compound in which you will be teaching. You will have a separate room which you will share with one other volunteer. Electricity, running water, western bathrooms and WiFi are provided.
Volunteers in Cambodia are provided with three meals a day which are served in the volunteer house. Breakfast generally consists of seasonal fruit and bread with a variety of spreads such as; peanut butter and jam.
Lunch and dinner is usually rice or noodles with fried vegetables and meat. These meals include a wide range of dishes consisting of rice, vegetables and meat with sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavors.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please let the team know when you apply for the program so arrangements can be made.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|5 weeks||AU$1143 Equivalent to AU$33/day|
|6 weeks||AU$1314 Equivalent to AU$32/day|
|8 weeks||AU$1655 Equivalent to AU$30/day|
|10 weeks||AU$1997 Equivalent to AU$29/day|
|12 weeks||AU$2331 Equivalent to AU$28/day|
|16 weeks||AU$2984 Equivalent to AU$27/day|
|20 weeks||AU$3638 Equivalent to AU$26/day|
|24 weeks||AU$4291 Equivalent to AU$26/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of AU$443 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Cambodia generally find US$50-80 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
Check what's required to visit Cambodia
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Currency||Cambodian Riel (KHR)|
Weather and climate
Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22°C (71.6°F) and is generally accompanied by high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April and temperatures can rise up to 40°C (104°F ) around April.