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Cambodia

 

Located between Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia shares many of the same virtues and problems as its neighbors. The tropical beauty of its beaches, jungles, and river life will not disappoint. The cuisine also has many similarities with its more famous neighbors. What sets it apart are the famous ruins of Angkor Wat, truly one of the world's most impressive archeological sites. Unfortunately, Cambodia also shares its neighbors' troubled relationship with democracy. Currently, the country is called a "constitutional monarchy." Although there are elections, one party controls the government, and the Prime Minister has no intention of stepping down.

As one of the world's poorest countries, Cambodia has needs that no amount of aid can eliminate. Hunger, poverty, oppression, and corruption are widespread. ELI volunteers have much to choose from. We can't expect to change the country overnight, but the ongoing presence of international volunteers and tourists helps keep the country moving forward towards a more liberal and progressive society.

Project Locations

Phnom Penh:

The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is on a crazy growth spurt.  It is a very international city, filled with diplomats, travelers and international NGOs. There are a lot of western-style western shops, restaurants and bars, but in a huge city like this, it is easy to escape the foreign influence and find Cambodian culture around any corner.  We always try to mention that cities like this are hard to get around. Traffic, distances, lack of good public transportation all contribute to this.

Siem Reap: 

If you find big cities overwhelming, Siem Reap offers a great alternative. It is fairly small and very easy to get around. It is also home to Angkor Wat, a World Heritage sight. Like the pyramids of Egypt, Peru's Machu Picchu, Beijing's Forbidden City, this is a "must see" trip you will not regret.

Volunteer and Internship Programs

Youth Programs - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Children's Homes

Cambodia's long years of bloody internal strife left many children orphaned. Times have changed, and many former orphanages have become children's homes, taking in indigent youth whose families cannot support them. Families also hope that these homes will provide a better education for the children. Although the term orphanage is frequently used, few children are actually orphans. Helping the kids both in and out of the classroom. Your duties will be determined by need. Think of it as a tutor/English teacher/activities director position! You may also be asked to help with preparation of meals and cleaning up. Questions? Click here

Daycare for the Children of Rag Pickers

Joy Daycare may be the most unusual children's home ELI works with: it was created just for preschool children of rag pickers -- the poorest of the poor in Phnom Penh. Each morning, a van drives around the city, picking up participating children age 2-5. Many live in hovels, slums, even on the streets. Once they're brought to this bright and cheerful facility, the kids are given showers and a clean uniform while their own clothes are washed and dried. Their day includes warm, nutritious meals, age-appropriate preschool activities, and another warm shower before they're taken home. Volunteers help the children wash themselves, get dressed, serve meals, participate in their "classes" and play with them: personal one-on-one time and lots of English. Joy Daycare provides these otherwise dramatically underprivileged children the same caring and stimulating preschool environment enjoyed by their middle-class peers around the world. Without Joy, they would have likely been on the streets with their parents. Questions? Click here

Children with Disabilities

Most developing economies struggle with the special care necessary for children with disabilities. Cambodia is no different. Neither the government nor the families have the means to deal with the issue. Many children are sent to underfunded and understaffed care facilities. Volunteers are welcome. You will help care for and entertain the children as well as pitching in with general tasks around the facility. The work is physically and emotionally difficult, but the rewards are great. Questions? Click here

Children's Home for traditional dance

Located on a quiet side street in central Phnom Penh, this small, modest but intriguing orphanage offers care and, in addition, training in classical and folk Khmer (Cambodian) dance to about 23 children age 8-15. On weekends, the children perform these beautiful dances at the city's night market, the money they earn earmarked for food, clothing and other necessities that this dramatically underfunded orphanage desperately needs. The orphanage's mission is two-fold: to provide a home for its orphaned or abandoned youngsters while also continuing the rich tradition of Khmer classical dance that was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970's civil war. The children attend a local public school that doesn't have English instruction. Their only way to learn English -- a key stepping stone in today's Cambodia -- is through volunteers. By teaching basic English, you will offer these warm, lovely (and talented!) children a priceless, sought-after skill. In the evenings and on weekends, you can explore this exciting city that's quickly become a hip mecca for in-the-know travelers from around the world. You'll have the experience of a lifetime - and help children that, right now, have very little besides the love of their dance teacher/den mother -- and the goodwill of international volunteers. Take a look at our Director's blog if you'd like the learn about the amazing women that runs this school. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Medical - Phnom Penh

Medical Internships

Internships are available at several hospitals in Phnom Penh. These are shadowing opportunities for pre-med students and medical students. Any other duties will be assigned based on background. Keep in mind that there will be a language barrier, since most staff and patients do not speak English. Still, this is a great opportunity to learn about medicine in a developing economy. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Women's Programs - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Women's Programs

35% of the Cambodian population lives under the poverty line – in order to strengthen the private sector and local economy, NGOs set up microfinance and microloan projects to support communities and families, enabling them to set up their own businesses. We cooperate with several organizations in Phnom Penh as well as in the provinces that deal with microfinance and microloans. Since most organizations work in a variety of locations, the volunteer might have the chance to visit communities in different areas of Cambodia. See our discussion of microloans here.

Are you studying business? Do you have a background in accounting or marketing? Your skills would be welcomed by an NGO in Phnom Penh that helps the city's poorest residents launch and run small, life-sustaining businesses through micro finance and micro lending programs. As an ELI volunteer, you can set up accounting and financial systems, help monitor and evaluate individual businesses and assist in the preparation of financial reports. You will be part of an undertaking that helps to transform lives in some of the neediest areas of Phnom Penh. If you're a student, this is an ideal opportunity to put your classroom skills to good use in a real-world setting. If you're a professional - what better way to share your experience than to lend a helping hand to a struggling community working hard to lift itself out of poverty. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Microfinance and Community Development - Phnom Penh

Microfinance and Community Development

Help disadvantaged women of Phnom Penh by volunteering with a local NGO that strives to empower those living in 12 of the poorest communities in the city. This grassroots organization focuses on very poor women, victims of abuse and domestic violence and those living with HIV or AIDS. It offers training and education; disaster aid and micro finance programs. As an ELI volunteer, you will help to interview members of the participating communities; help monitor and evaluate microfinance projects and help prepare training workshops. This is an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in microfinance, community building, the organization of outreach programs, public health and women's empowerment.

Among the typical tasks of volunteers help develop business plans, do grant writing, assist program directors, make field visits to the beneficiaries of the loans and interview (with translators) communities that are part of the project.Questions? Click here

Read an interview with a former intern

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Grassroots and Local NGO Support - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

NGO Support - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

The Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge Regime and the killing fields and several years of civil war were devastating to this country, its infrastructure and its economy. Since 1998, the country has been struggling to rebuild. Cambodia still needs to cope with many problems: a weak democracy and corruption as well as poverty are big problems. Initially, there was a huge influx of foreign aid, but that has been diminishing in recent years. Nevertheless, Cambodia’s economy is growing rapidly and plenty of local and international NGOs are working here. We would like to give volunteers the opportunity to learn about those issues first hand – in a local NGO.

Unlike international organizations, local Cambodian NGOs usually have limited financial resources, making staffing difficult. They welcome the support of international volunteers to work in fundraising, grant writing, organizational development, administration, and community development. Among the many possible tasks awaiting the volunteer are:

  • Help with grant proposals
  • Writing up case studies and reports
  • IT training
  • Teaching English to the staff
  • Online research

On occasion, you may be allowed to accompany staff on field visits for a first-hand look at the problems the people are facing. If you can stay longer than 2 months, there are some interesting opportunities monitoring human rights programs.Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Teach Buddhist Monks - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Cambodia is one the most Buddhist nations on earth, with 95% of Cambodian people engaged in Theravada Buddhism. Monks play a central role in Cambodia’s everyday life: you will see them everywhere, a symbol not just of religion but also of perseverance. During the horrifically bloody Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970’s, most monks were massacred and their temples levelled or badly destroyed in an attempt to eradicate the nation’s religious life and impose a rigid, secular communist rule.

Volunteers teach approximately 3-4 hours per day. Volunteer teach English to the monks, both old and young monks. The level of English will vary dependent on which class that are assigned. Most importance is to improve their basic English and conversational skills. Volunteers should be prepared lesson plan for each lesson. It is important to note that monks are highly respected. Questions? Click here

Animal Rescue - Phnom Penh

Life can be hard for domestic animals in developing countries. Keeping an animal requires time and money. Dogs and cats are commonly abandoned and others are born on the street. Because of perceptions of the value of animals in society, international volunteers are sometimes easier to find than locals in rescue centers. This is a good opportunity for the volunteers who are passionate about animals to minimize the suffering of our "best friends." Volunteers will work with local staff and foreign volunteers at the shelters.

Buddhist monks commonly keep dogs and cats on monastery grounds. Some volunteers choose to go to pagodas to feed and give medical attention to dogs and cats. This is also an opportunity to learn about Buddhism in Cambodia. Don't underestimate the cultural rewards of programs like this!

Duties include: Cleaning enclosures, feeding animals, and assisting the vet team as needed. Questions? Click here

Cost & Details

Cost

Length of Program Programs
(except Medical)
Medical
Internships
2 Weeks US$440 US$720
3 Weeks US$548 US$875
4 Weeks US$655 US$1030
5 Weeks US$743 US$1115
6 Weeks US$830 US$1200
7 Weeks US$933 US$1375
8 Weeks US$1035 US$1550
9 Weeks US$1138 US$1725
10 Weeks US$1240 US$1810
11 Weeks US$1343 US$1935
12 Weeks US$1445 US$2060
Longer Inquire Inquire

 

Application Fee: $200
The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee. (Please see our application fee refund policy here)

Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

Programs require at least a two week commitment with a 6 month maximum stay.

All prices are listed in US Dollars. The program fees reflect the costs ELI faces when setting up a program. We work hard to keep our costs as low as possible. ELI is a registered 501(c)3 non profit. US taxpayers may be able to deduct some or all of the program fees. If you are outside the US and wondering what these costs translate to in your currency, click here for an online conversion tool that will give you the approximate current exchange rate.

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

What's Included/What's Not

Program Includes:

*Airport Pickup
*Accommodation
*3 Meals per day
*Orientation Upon Arrival
*Volunteer Work Placement
*In-country coordinator available 24/7

 Program Does Not Include:

*Round-trip Airfare
*Return Trip to Airport 
*Required Travel and Medical Insurance 
*Visa Fees

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Accommodations

Accommodations
In most placements, volunteers stay in a comfortable local guesthouse. Volunteers either have their own bedroom or share a bedroom with another ELI volunteer. All meals are provided, but participants are free to eat at local restaurants or street vendors if they prefer. There is easy access to internet cafes and tourist areas through convenient local bus lines. Want to see the menu? We have the full volunteer menu available!

Start Dates and Visa

Arrival Dates
Start dates in Cambodia are the first and third weekend of each month.

Visas
All travelers headed to Cambodia are required to get a visa either in advance, or upon arrival. Cost is $20 on arrival, and $30 in advance. Our staff will meet you upon arrival at the airport.

Notes and Helpful Links

Notes and Helpful Links

Here is a handy tool to see what time it is in Cambodia: Time Conversion Tool. Be sure to pack for the Weather in Phnom Penh, and keep in mind that April tends to be the hottest month of the year. Participants need to visit a travel nurse before their arrival in Cambodia. For immunizations, we defer to the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. Learn a few Basic Khmer (Cambodian) Phrases before you arrive, you will frequently encounter language barriers - it's best to be prepared. Lastly, pick up a guide book - The Lonely Planet series is a popular choice.

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

 

 

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