Cambodia is one of the most fascinating countries in Southeast Asia. Following years of war and genocide, Cambodia is now a very safe place to visit, and most importantly, extremely needy. The Angkor Wat temple complex is an enormous tourist draw and the city of Siem Reap is seeing more visitors than ever. Unfortunately, most Cambodians are not reaping the benefits of the blossoming tourism industry, and a large percentage of people still live in abject poverty. Cambodia's children are in need of attention, there is a burgeoning street-child problem, and schools are inadequately equipped to deal with the increasing number of students. Over 50% of the population is under 25. In addition, thousands of Cambodians are maimed and killed every year when they step on the unexploded landmines that remain in the countryside from the years of horrible war. More on Challenges in Cambodia.
Globe Aware's program is located in Siem Reap, the gateway to the famous Angkor Wat temples. Volunteers will participate in a variety of projects, usually including a mix of concrete projects such as assembling wheelchairs or making home repairs in indigent areas to soft skill projects working with children in a variety of interactive opportunities at a village school in a rural Cambodian village who otherwise have very little contact with native English speakers. You will work alongside a teacher at the school to make sure your time is meaningful and efficient.
Volunteers may also have the opportunity to help in the construction of a chicken coop for a needy village family. A chicken coop will allow the family to harvest the eggs for a great source of protein as well as sell any surplus eggs for a profit. Volunteers may also participate in part of our reforestation efforts in villages around Siem Reap. Outside of the temple complex, trees are not protected. With the construction of new roads and the clearing of large expanses of land, erosion has become a problem. We are working with local villages to set aside protected areas for tree planting as well as alongside new construction.
As so many have been injured by landmines, or are victims of polio and other debilitating illnesses, volunteers may be able to assemble and distribute wheelchairs to needy recipients in rural villages. The wheelchair project will be possible based on availability of parts and in accordance with shipping and customs regulations.
There is always the possibility of small projects to work on at the school as well. A set itinerary is created a couple of weeks before your arrival.
Globe Aware volunteer vacations to Cambodia - SIGNUP NOW!
Food and Lodging
Volunteers will be lodged in a simple hotel setting. Running hot water is available, as are flushing toilets and electricity. Fresh American and Khmer specialties will be served. Many say that Khmer cooking is similar to Thai cooking but with less spice.
A simple breakfast is always included with your room. For YEARS we have tried to arrange, as we do in all our other locations, to have all remaining meals arranged and catered from a variety of sources. After twelve years of trying, we have to admit defeat. There are so many inexpensive, safe, wonderful, diverse, Khmer and cosmopolitan, safe and nutritious restaurants within such easy walking distance that they continually lure our volunteers away from whatever has been planned. Rather than trying to have volunteers eat what we have planned, we have decided to take the funds out of what we charged for them, and allow volunteers to have lunch and dinner on their own. If anyone wants recommendations of what is safe, your coordinator will have many suggestions. But we know you will see what we mean when you arrive: it’s a gastronome’s paradise. Wonderful meals can be had anywhere from $2.50 to $7 per meal at almost every restaurant.
Leisure and Activities
The Angkor Wat temples are more unique than the Taj Mahal in India, taller than any European Medieval Church, and more varied and numerous than the pyramids in Egypt. Volunteers will have time to visit many of the famed temples of Angkor Wat, the stunning floating village on Tonle Sap Lake, and explore the town of Siem Reap.
Cambodia - Sample Itinerary click here
Arranging Your Airfare
Arrive in Siem Reap by 10am the Sat. your program begins. Program ends at 11am the following Saturday. The airport is one of the return drop off stops our driver will make. You would not want to arrange a flight that departs any earlier than noon on the return unless you want to make special arrangements. Flight tips coming soon!
Safety and Security
Your greatest risks are if you decide to travel independently in urban areas, where you are more likely to see road traffic accidents, or if you decide to go trekking independently where landmines and unexploded ordnance exist in certain rural areas.