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Volunteer in Cambodia with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ has a wide range of volunteer abroad projects available in Cambodia, including Teaching English, Special Needs Care, Childcare, Computer Support and Working with NGOs.
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.
About the Cambodia program
LOCATION OF CAMBODIA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM
The IVHQ Cambodia volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the Cambodian provinces of Pursat and Kampong Speu. When choosing a volunteer's placement and location, we carefully considers the needs of the local institutions we work with, whilst taking into account the background, experience and skills of the volunteer. Volunteers are placed where the most assistance is needed at the time of their volunteer program and volunteers are ultimately assigned with the projects that will benefit both the volunteer and the local institution.
START AND DURATION OF CAMBODIA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM
Volunteer programs begin on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for durations ranging from 2 weeks to 24 weeks.
CAMBODIA VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ's local team on arrival in Cambodia. Additional requirements apply for Working with NGOs and Computer Support volunteers, please read the project descriptions below.
FREE INTERACTIVE VOLUNTEER TRAINING
All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?
Between 30 and 60 volunteers start on our program in Cambodia each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees!
Cambodia volunteer reviews
Visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page to read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Cambodia.
"My volunteer experience was nothing short of amazing and I am so thankful for all the kindness and helpfulness from both IVHQ and the local staff. I look forward to returning to Cambodia as this experience greatly enriched my love for the country and volunteering. I felt most connected to the country through my in-office volunteer work and out of office bonding time with my colleagues and Cambodian friends that I met while I was there." - Anna Jung (Working with NGOs Volunteer in Cambodia)
Cambodia volunteer project descriptions
The level of education in Cambodia is considerably low, leading to a high level of poverty and unemployment throughout the country. English skills are required for most jobs in Cambodia, however many children do not have the opportunity to learn the language, as most parents cannot afford this type of education for their children. Volunteers on the Teaching English project work in orphanage and NGO-run schools, where they are needed to assist in developing the English skills of the children. Sometimes other subjects, such as IT, Mathematics and Art are also required to be taught. Volunteers are required to invest some time each day preparing lessons for their next class and the longer a volunteer participates on this project, the more responsibility they will be given. The schools where volunteers are placed run throughout the year and only close on public holidays. This means volunteers can participate on the Teaching English project throughout the year without being interrupted by long holidays. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ's local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Working with NGOs
IVHQ’s partner organization in Cambodia cooperates with a network of over 40 local NGOs with volunteer placements available in the following fields: community development, human rights, health and HIV/AIDS awareness, gender issues, environmental issues, and education. NGOs in Cambodia generally have limited financial resources and often struggle to run their projects and to raise funds from international donors. These NGOs require volunteer support, primarily in fundraising and proposal writing, organizational development, administration and research. Volunteers work between 3 and 8 hours per day and the tasks of each volunteer depends on the volunteer’s skills and interests and program duration. If a volunteer’s program duration is less than 2 months, the main tasks will involve applying English skills to assist at the NGO. Tasks can include writing proposals for fundraising, preparing case studies and reports, teaching English to staff, and providing IT assistance. If a volunteer stays longer than 2 months, the volunteer will have the chance to work more independently and gain deeper involvement within the NGO and may have the opportunity to participate in field-based research. Please note, volunteers are assigned to NGOs that have the most need for assistance and provide the most suitable match for volunteers, taking into account each volunteer’s educational background, experience and interests. Volunteers who wish to join the Working with NGOs project must be 19 years of age or older and have relevant experience in the field they wish to work in. This can either be university studies or relevant working experience. Volunteers must participate on the project for a minimum duration of 5 weeks and bring their own laptops.
Cambodia has a high number of orphaned children relative to the population. Many children have lost their parents due to HIV, while other parents cannot afford to provide their children with food, accommodation, or an education. As a result, many children living in orphanages in Cambodia still have parents or relatives that they may visit from time to time. Volunteers on this project usually work between 4 and 8 hours per day and have a 2-hour lunch break, which can be spent at the orphanage or volunteer house/homestay. Childcare work ranges from administration, cooking, cleaning, feeding, caring for children, to teaching, assisting with homework and arranging activities, such as painting, singing, and sports activities. At all placements, the children attend public schools and most orphanages have fixed weekly activities, focusing mainly on education, such as Khmer literacy and English language classes. Topics such as morality, hygiene and Khmer traditions are also discussed with the children. Many orphanages also support creative activities, like painting, drawing, origami or Apsara dancing (Khmer Traditional dance), and some orphanages organize visits to the beach or local villages.
Special Needs Care
Working with special needs children is a rewarding experience and suited to volunteers who are passionate about education and are looking for a more challenging project, which focuses on personal interaction with special needs children. Volunteers on the Special Needs Care project assist in special needs classes which cater for children between the ages of 5 and 18 years with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, deafness and blindness. Classes are often divided into smaller groups to allow for more individualized teaching and supervision of the children. Volunteers on this project may help to dress, feed and wash the children, who are always very happy to be in the company of volunteers, as disabled people are often rejected in Cambodian society. The focus for volunteers is to assist local teachers in a classroom setting, however for volunteers wishing to work longer hours, additional work may also be available at a small home for children with special needs. Volunteers with skills and experience in therapeutic treatments are also welcome on this project and can work one-on-one with children at the special needs center.
Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and orphanages in Cambodia rely heavily on computer technology and the Internet for communicating, managing programs, and developing a public presence. There is often a lack of local expertise in this area and training opportunities are very limited and expensive. Computer Support volunteers are required to provide assistance within NGOs and orphanages to implement, maintain and improve in-house computer systems to maximize the effectiveness of their communications and help educate staff and children. Volunteers can apply their passion for technology to support these placements in developing websites and social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Experience with Microsoft Office, website development or basic Windows System Administration is strongly sought after. Additionally, knowledge of LAN and printer administration, or security practices is also very useful on this project. Some placements require volunteers who can teach classes of adults or children to use basic tools in Microsoft Word and Excel, and website design. In addition to these tasks, volunteers may also be required to assist in report or proposal writing. Volunteers who wish to participate on the Computer Support project must have studied in a related field, or have advanced knowledge of the software mentioned above. Volunteers will work between 4 and 8 hours per day and must bring their own laptops.
VOLUNTEER ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Volunteers are accommodated in either volunteer houses or home-stays with other IVHQ volunteers. The volunteer houses have electricity, running water and WiFi access. Bedrooms are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided, although this generally only includes a bottom sheet and pillow, due to the warm climate. Volunteers can expect to share a room with one or two other volunteers. Home-stays are run by local families who have been approved by our local staff. Living is comfortable and most home-stays have electricity, running water and western bathrooms. Some rural home-stays do not have electricity or running water due to droughts.
Volunteers in Cambodia are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfast generally consists of fruits and baguettes. A typical lunch includes rice or noodles with fried vegetables and meat. Dinner consists of a range of dishes in the volunteer house, or a traditional Khmer meal at your homestay, including dishes of rice, soup, vegetables and meat with sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavours. Fresh fruits, such as mangos or pineapples are served with sticky rice for desert. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.
Orientation is hosted by our Cambodia team at the volunteer house in Phnom Penh. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Cambodia – Introduction to Cambodia, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
First Day: 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 would is as follows:
7.00 AM Breakfast in the volunteer house or with your host family.
7.45 AM Volunteer leaves home and travels to the project. The volunteer joins with the local staff and will be given a duty roster and plan for work. Work and hours is dependent on the project and location that the volunteer is participating in.
12.00 PM - 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 with the children at your Childcare placement or in the office at Teaching/NGO placements and some placements will offer you food.
2.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at the project usually ends. The volunteer at this point is free to travel home, sightsee or do shopping.
7.00 PM Dinner in the volunteer house or with the host family.
During the weekend, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore their local town, or other areas of Cambodia, such as the Temples of Angkor Wat (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), various National Parks, or the beaches in the south of Cambodia. During the long public holidays in April, September and November, you may also wish to travel further afield to Laos, Vietnam or Thailand.
See our Cambodia Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Cambodia!
Cambodia Volunteer Fees:
|Volunteer period||Program fee US$|
What do my fees pay for?
Registration Fee (refundable if you choose not to go*) – ongoing support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, IVHQ Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.
What additional costs will I have?
Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, transfer back to the airport at conclusion of program, transportation to and from placement, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours and spending money (volunteers in Cambodia generally find US$80 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).
* - Terms and conditions do apply.