Experience a country full of contrasts. Thousands of Buddhist temples and orange-robed monks in towns and villages give Cambodia a great sense of gentleness and serenity. Phnom Penh is a bustling metropolis, in a country that is alive with its customs, religion, dance, art & crafts and the remarkable jungle-temples of the previously ‘lost’ complex of Angkor Wat. Cambodia is an incredible but challenging place to volunteer, as a destination on its own or as part of a wider gap year trip to south east Asia.
Outreach International have supported volunteers in Cambodia since 2001 and so our experience is second to none. We have an excellent local coordinator and two apartments in the city to provide an assured standard of accommodation for volunteers, and help keep our placement fees low. We have long established relationships with the local community which means volunteers are warmly welcomed, given good support and appreciated on a variety of humanitarian projects.
It is the one country where we have the opportunity to place mature and experienced volunteers into NGOs working on humanitarian causes, in both human trafficking and lands rights. This can be a fascinating career break for professionals wanting to ‘give back’ and work in a different environment and culture.
We also support volunteering opportunities in Cambodia working with children, in teaching projects based in community and orphanage schools. Different volunteers will be suited to different projects, depending on your experience and ambition, and we will work with you to ensure you are placed in the right one – where you will challenged but confident.
We have long established relations with projects that require volunteer therapists, both qualified and part-qualified physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Depending on the time you have to volunteer in Cambodia and your experience to date, you will be able to work with children in a rare special needs school, or in a clinic that supports children and adults with disabilities ranging from amputees to club foot, cerebral palsy and polio. Experienced therapists and travel savvy volunteers may even have the option to work in the rural clinics, to have a deeper experience of volunteering in Cambodia.
We also have a unique opportunity for a volunteer in Cambodia to teach English to buddhist monks in a pagoda. This requires a teacher with experience of teaching English as a foreign language to run a short course (3 months+) for the young aspiring monks in Phnom Penh.
Volunteering in Cambodia needs to be planned thoughtfully, with an organisation such as Outreach International that has the experience and resources to plan a successful placement and support you during your time volunteering abroad. In all countries we focus on matching volunteers to the right project, and the environment and culture of Cambodia makes this even more important.
The legacy of strife includes social and economic scars. Hundreds of new businesses are stimulating the economy in a country that has effectively been closed to the outside world during the turbulent years of civil conflict. The pressures of a fast-growing population contribute to poverty. Because of a lack of education and skills training, people have inadequate employment opportunities and low capabilities.
Rural poverty and lack of opportunity in rural areas have contributed to the spread of HIV AIDS, as young women migrate to urban factories and become sex workers in neighbouring countries.
Yet despite these challenges, Cambodia retains its charm. Businesses in Phnom Penh operate next to charming restaurants set in streets with French colonial buildings and splendid royal palaces. Buddhists worship in ancient temples overgrown with plants, while the streets are a hive of activity from morning to dusk.
Volunteering in Cambodia is a rewarding challenge that we can support you on. See all of our Cambodia volunteer projects that you can participate in.
Nimol has enjoyed looking after volunteers at one of our orphanage projects in Phnom Penh since 2004. In 2013 we were delighted when she accepted the position of Cambodia coordinator for volunteers on all of our projects. She is a foster mother to 6 children, retains an administrative position at the orphanage and is also studying a Bachelors Degree in International Relations.
Everything is really fantastic here. My project is absolutely amazing, the people are wonderful and it's been very rewarding alreadyStudent, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfect composition, balance, proportions, relief's and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world.
In 1975, Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). Over 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the killing fields Choeung Ek to be executed. The museum acts as a sobering reminder of the Pol Pot regime of the 1970s
A laid back, beach town providing a weekend getaway from the bustle of Phnom Penh. Sihanoukville is a place to unwind by the beach, enjoy seafood fresh from the ocean, take in a snorkelling or scuba trip and generally slow-down, lay back and chill-out.
Street food is one of the lessor known delights of visiting Cambodia and Phnom Penh. A culinary delight awaits those who are adventurous enough to explore the street vendors and stalls – it is not about eating bugs and reptiles, there is a wonderful range noodles, soups, kebabs and even coffees to explore.