Foreigners visit Cambodia every year for volunteering purposes to the point that volunteering has become a fully developed industry which has received a lot of negative press.
Through extensive research, this article explains everything you may or may not know when it comes to volunteering in Cambodia.
- Children in Cambodian orphanages are not orphans
Most children in Cambodian orphanages are not orphans. In fact, these children placed in orphanages have parents. However, parents choose to place their children in these orphanages due to good financial incentives and education offered by foreign tourists. There is also a high demand from foreign tourists to visit and work in these orphanages.
- Cambodian children are being taken from their homes
Cambodian children are taken from their homes so that foreign tourists can do volunteer work while visiting Cambodia. These children skip school and pose as orphans so that foreigners can take pictures with them and post it on social media as proof of volunteer work being done.
- Volunteers must be accepting of other cultures
Foreign tourists doing volunteer work must be receptive to other cultures volunteering with them. Different countries have different education policies so they must be open minded to those with no teaching qualifications choosing to volunteer.
- Volunteering requires at least 3 months
Foreign tourists visiting Cambodia to do volunteering work have to stay in Cambodia for at least three months or more. This is essential for Cambodian students looking to master the English language. A language takes years to master so one week is not enough to teach students all the rudimentary elements of a language. Foreign tourists volunteering in Cambodia should be sincere in their undertakings and should not only be motivated by financial incentives. A short-term volunteering stint is not enough to solve the country’s problems.
- Be wary of certain organisations
These organisations are usually shady and require the person volunteering to pay money. These organisations do not conduct any background checks on the volunteer and do not take proper care of the children in the orphanages.
- Certain volunteer work are better done by Cambodians
Volunteering work such as building houses and teaching languages like English are better when done by Cambodian locals as they perform better than foreign tourists who are willing to volunteer.