Many of us dream of finishing our studies or quitting that job and setting off to far-
flung, exotic lands to experience something different and truly eye-opening. Many opt to
volunteer whilst away, but if this is something that you intend to do you should be aware
of a sad trend of these volunteering opportunities setting you back an arm and a leg –
thus alienating many of those who wish to do it. Fortunately, Cambodia is emerging as a
country where you can find good, socially responsible projects which still cost a little bit but
won’t cost you half of your life savings. As well as being a fascinating place to spend time
volunteering, the country itself is deeply interesting – full of tropical forest, diverse wildlife,
resurging towns, and welcoming people with a compelling heritage, all of which can be
explored as a backpacker or on the many new exciting Cambodia tours.
Today we outline some of the best and most interesting opportunities around…
Child welfare and teaching
The Poppy Project in Siem Reap (the home of Angkor Wat) is a children’s welfare volunteer
programme that you can get involved with for as little as one week, or for as long as you like.
From Monday to Friday, from nine in the morning until late afternoon, you will work with
these children, enabling them to develop through play and field trips. To participate you
will need a positive reference and police clearance, plus the fee of AUD$1,070 for one week
(inclusive of accommodation, transfers, food and drink and more).
Medical Assistance Direct Volunteer Project
If you have medical experience then you can utilise your skills in Cambodia to provide
medical care and education to underprivileged rural children. Through Volunteers Making
a Difference (VMAD), you will work with rural communities to pass on essential medical
Battambang Children’s Home
This project will allow you to work to teach children English and important life lessons about
hygiene, health and sex as well as to help improve their cognitive skills. Located 1km out of
Battambang, the minimum volunteering period is one month – a good amount of time to
get to know and help the children. You will need a police check and a resume, and you must
confirm your attendance two months in advance. This opportunity is available through Open
Save Children in Asia – Phnom Penh
If you are in the nation’s capital and would like to flex your English teaching skills then Save
Children in Asia are always on the lookout for volunteers to teach their enthusiastic pupils.
You will be playing with the children, helping out with various building projects, designing
displays and helping to fundraise – basically your duty is to do anything that you can to help
the centre whilst you are there. Volunteers are welcome for any length of time.
Bear rescue – Phnom Penh
If you are passionate about wildlife then you can help out with an organisation that provides
a safe haven for rescued bears. You can get involved for a starting price of AUD$872,
furnishing the bears’ enclosures with pools, rocks, climbing frames and the like. The centre is
one hour south of Phnom Penh, and opens its doors to volunteers over 21 years of age for a
duration of 1-8 weeks.