River Orphanage, Cambodia

Cambodia (C14) | View map
£154 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
3 months

Volunteer teaching children in Cambodia in a reputable community school an orphanage

  • Volunteer to teaching English and lead recreational activities in this school and orphanage in Cambodia
  • A jewel. One of the best run orphanages in Phnom Penh
  • A volunteering opportunity for those who can help with administration and fund-raising
  • Ideal for gap year students and those with experience of working with children
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Project summary

This is a well-resourced community school that has its roots as an orphanage. It still supports over 50 children aged between 7 and 15 and is set in spacious grounds next to the Mekong River in Phnom Penh. Children live in a comfortable house with a young couple who have agreed to act as surrogate parents. Each couple have 5 or 6 children and all the houses form a small, intimate village, with little gardens, playing areas and shady trees. There is also a special needs programme for 12 orphans who receive care and education in a special room.

The aim of the organisation is to give these children everything they could need to become happy and healthy adults. This is done by trying to create an environment that is as close to a normal home life as possible.

Additionally up to 200 children come in from the local community for their education. Education is paramount and in the centre of the school is a little Early Years school. The classes are small, and the children are taught in both English and Khmer. It is an innovative school that uses some of the most up to date educational practices, believed to be one of a kind in Cambodia. They also run after school programs for children of all ages, in areas as diverse as mural painting, mask making, gardening, tennis, football, volleyball & cooking.

An ideal volunteering opportunty for gap year students and those with experience of working with children

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

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Teaching English is important but the children also need IT, art, music, drama, dance and games so they can grow into well rounded individuals. There is plenty of space for these activities. The project needs to generate its own income and a career break volunteer is needed to assist with fund raising, writing grant proposals, office administration and putting together a business plan for income generation.

The project coordinator is keen to adapt the project to match the skills and interests of individual volunteers. This is an excellent centre and is being used as a model for other children’s homes and orphanages.

There is also a special programme from June to September, when schools are closed. We are looking for enthusiastic gap year volunteers who would work in the Summer School Programme, to help run the day to day activities, to plan exciting classes and generally make sure that the children have a great summer holiday.

How you can make a difference

An objective is to help the children become bilingual by the time they leave school. This is possible with the right volunteer support. When the children reach the age of 18+ they will be expected to leave and care for themselves. With a good education they will have every opportunity of living successful lives.

What is distinctive about this project:

Undoubtedly the best resourced and most efficiently run orphanage in Phnom Penh and probably Cambodia. Spacious, committed staff and well financed. Orphanages tend to receive negative publicity in Cambodia because they are often badly run for questionable purposes. This is a jewel. A superb centre, often used as a ‘demonstration’ for other orphanages.

Blue Tiger Features:

This is an excellent project that has long ties with Outreach International and we are confident this will reward a committed volunteer. You may be the only volunteer working at the orphanage, so volunteers need to be capable of acting independently and being flexible in accommodating the cultural differences that exist.


The orphanage is open all year round, although normal activities close down for the Khmer new year in April each year.


English is widely spoken, although it will be welcomed if volunteers take on some basic Khmer.

Experience required:

Volunteers do not need specific experience, but this project (like others) demands that volunteers are hard-working and committed to making a difference, which requires a certain maturity. Experience of teaching and teaching English is welcome, and more mature volunteers may be able to offer skill sets that help with administration and fund-raising in the project.

Good to know:

Our very own Nimol is one of the house parents, so volunteers will have a familiar face around the workplace. Volunteers live in the Outreach International volunteer house, which is approximately 40 minutes away, where you can make new friends as you plan adventures around Cambodia.

Price table

12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks6 months

Includes: Onlien teacher training. Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, airport transfer, in-country support, welcome meal. 8 hours private tuition in Khmer.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations. Cambodia fees DO NOT include meals or the local transport costs of travelling to your project. Volunteers either cook in the Outreach apartment, or eat in the numerous street stalls, cafes and restaurants. Budget from £5 a day for food. Budget from £5 per day for transport, depending on your preferred mode and destination.

Things to see and do

  • Angkor Wat
  • Toul Sleng Museum
  • Sihanoukville - Beach Resort
  • Street food
Ung Veasnanimol  (Nimol)

Country co-ordinator

Ung Veasnanimol (Nimol)

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.

About Cambodia