Care Volunteer Projects in Cambodia
Volunteering on a Care project in Cambodia can be challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Whether you are on a gap year, holiday from university or coming to development work as an older volunteer on a career break, you will have a role to play and your contribution will be valued.
Although the civil war in Cambodia has long since finished, its legacy continues to haunt this beautiful country and Cambodia remains one of Asia’s poorest countries. Children remain particularly vulnerable.
- Placement locations: Phnom Penh
- Types of care projects: Kindergartens and care centres
- Age of children: 4 months to 18 years
- Number of people cared for: 10 to 40
- Role: Assisting the local staff including playing with children, basic teaching and giving general help
- Accommodation: Shared volunteer apartments
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
In Phnom Penh most volunteers work with a Non-Governmental Organisation called Khemara. Khemara, the oldest locally registered NGO in Cambodia. Since 1991 they have played a significant role in working for the advancement of women and children in Cambodia by working directly with local communities. Projects Abroad and Khemara run nine day care centres on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
There are 20 to 50 children per centre, aged from 3 to 5. The centres are safe places for the children of garment workers to receive medical aid, education and three meals a day. Some of these centres are funded by Projects Abroad.
Disadvantaged mothers drop their children off at the centres so they can go out to work for the day. As a volunteer you will be looking after the children and helping with their early childhood development. Your daily tasks may range from reading to the children to working individually with local staff to build their English capacity. All volunteers are supervised by local staff and may also work directly in the communities, raising awareness of children’s rights.
You will also make sure that the children are taught about hygiene, are fed and provided with monthly health check-ups. You will provide assistance to the staff at the centres and run activities incorporating literacy, numeracy and social skills. You will also teach songs, games, drawing and painting.
There is also the opportunity to participate in one of four mini-campaigns that we run throughout the year, which focus on education and literacy, sports and outdoors, the environment, and health and hygiene.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Cambodia Care Management Plan.
Care centres for boys and men
Some volunteers in Phnom Penh work in care centres for boys and men. These homes provide shelter, medical treatment and care for those with physical and intellectual disabilities, those affected by HIV and abandoned children. The work at these homes can be demanding and is ideal for people with some experience of working with disabled children or in a medical capacity.
Volunteers are needed to help at these centres on a basic level; for example you may be feeding the children or teaching them personal hygiene. On a social level interaction, friendship and support are some of the key things you can offer when on this placement. Whether you are helping children with educational activities or teaching them a new game, the time and attention you give to them is invaluable.
This year, Projects Abroad has made a long-term commitment to improve the standard of life for those at the one of these centres. We converted two disused rooms at the centre into a Physiotherapy Room and a Sensory Room for volunteers to work in. A group from Pembroke School in Australia kickstarted the efforts and installed, decorated and prepared the physiotherapy equipment. Our volunteers also provided much needed shade over the playground area.
Volunteers usually start work around 8.30am and finish by about 3pm, but this can vary, and your exact hours will depend on your project and individual schedule. Some volunteers who live close to their placement return home for lunch, otherwise it will be provided at the placement. Most volunteers work from Monday to Friday and have the weekends free to travel.
Projects Abroad are happy to provide extra help to volunteers on the Care Projects, this may include buying some arts and craft materials or arranging a day where all the volunteers help to renovate a play area at one of the kindergartens. Input from volunteers is welcomed and we are open to any ideas you may have to help make the lives of these children brighter.
Volunteering abroad on a Care Project in Cambodia
Over the years, our volunteers have worked with children at orphanages and residential care homes in Cambodia. They have done incredible work at these placements, improving living conditions there and creating opportunities for children by supporting their education and care. However, we have decided to move our focus away from orphanages and homes toward community and family-based care. This is because we believe stable family environments are best for the children we work with. Read more about orphanage volunteering and our position on it. This means that instead of volunteering in orphanages in Cambodia, volunteers will work in placements like day care centres, kindergartens and schools, or support groups for the elderly and mothers and babies. This will help Projects Abroad build stronger relationships with local communities and – most importantly – help families stay together and flourish.