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Volunteer Care work with children overseas 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.

Volunteering on a Care Project in Cambodia

In Phnom Penh most volunteers work with a Non-Governmental Organisation called Khemara. Khemara is 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. 

Volunteers read to a child in Cambodia, Asia

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, aged between 3 to 6 years old, and help 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. As far as education is concerned, you will provide assistance to the staff at the centres and run activities incorporating learning about literacy, numeracy and social skills. You will also teach activities like 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.

Volunteers in Cambodia teach the child to wash their hands

A small number of Care volunteers in Phnom Penh can work with children and adults in care centers for those with physical and intellectual disabilities and those affected by HIV. These centers provide shelter, medical treatment, and care. These placements can be challenging but are also among the most rewarding. Many of the children need all the help and support they can get. No experience working with disabled children is necessary, but these placements are 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.

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.

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