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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Cambodia

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Cambodia


There are many opportunities for self financing volunteers to help in Cambodia. Many organisations take great pride that they are locally run and sustained with Khymer staff but welcome volunteers to either fill skill gaps or pass on experience to local employees.

Wanting to help street kids and orphans is a popular motivation for volunteering in Cambodia but it should be noted that despite significant reductions in the number of orphans, as the country recovers from its dark past, the number of orphanages is thought to have increased by 65% in the past five years. About three quarters of children in these orphanages have a parent and half of the orphanages in Cambodia operate illegally, often with the intention of exploiting the goodwill of both volunteers and tourists. Reputable organisations will ask volunteers for a police check or CRB clearance from their home country and ask for passport and visa details, which will be copied and held on file as required by the Cambodian government.

In recent years orphanage tourism, including volunteering, has become a global issue and voluntourism companies are increasingly committing themselves to a world without orphanages. ReThink Orphanages Network is a good place to start for finding out more on the issue.


Grassroots Volunteering in Cambodia

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

Conversations With Foreigners

CWF's Volunteer in Cambodia programme arranges for volunteers to teach a conversational course to Cambodian students, aged 15+. Around 20 volunteer teachers per semester teach up to 5 hours per day, Monday to Friday. CWF has four three month long semesters each year and volunteers must be available for the full semester. Teaching experience and/or qualifications are a great help in the classroom, but are not required for native English speakers. Non native but fluent English speakers require teaching experience or certification.

Where: Phnom Penh.
Accommodation & Costs: CWF do not charge a fee to volunteer. A shared ensuite room, including meals, in their volunteer house is available for $725 for the whole semester (12 weeks), otherwise volunteers are welcome to make their own arrangements.

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Angkor Hospital for Children

A charitable hospital, AHC provides outpatient, inpatient, intensive, surgical, and HIV care, as well as other services, free of charge. The hospital also supports greater Cambodian health care self sufficiency through its Medical Education Center. Though many of the 25 volunteers working at AHC each month have medical skills, non medical volunteers are also welcomed to assist with administrative undertakings, teaching English, and playing with the children. Applications accepted all year.

Where: Siem Reap.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers should be self funding.

Volunteering in Cambodia


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Green Gecko Project

At Green Gecko, Siem Reap's street kids can eat a hot lunch, attend an English class, play and get a hug, get their hair combed and receive medical attention. The focus of their volunteer programme is now on specialised creative skills, and they invite anyone with an interest in proposing a workshop programme to send an email outlining their idea. Volunteers should be aged over 25 or have had strong experience working with children, such as education or social work.. A three month minimum commitment is preferred.

Where: Siem Reap.
Accommodation & Costs: A nearby hostel offers discounts to Gecko volunteers. There are no fees but volunteers should be self funded.

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New Futures Organisation

NFO is seeking volunteers to help in its Children’s home and to teach English in the chain of rural schools they run in the villages surrounding Takeo, a provincial capital to the south of Phnom Penh. They also offer English classes to the local community such as the local police and monks. Volunteer placements are for a minimum of one week, although many volunteers decide to stay longer. For volunteers staying for over one month there may be volunteering opportunities working alongside the monks at a local pagoda who are studying and practicing their English skills.

Where: In and around Takeo.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers arrange their own accommodation and food. Expect to pay around $6 per night at a nearby guest house.

Volunteer Work in Cambodia


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Journeys Within Our Community

A non profit organisation registered in the United States and Cambodia. JWOC runs five projects promoting improved living conditions for people in Cambodia by working to promote economic and educational opportunities while also improving health. Independent, passionate volunteers with relevant experience that they can share with local staff and scholarship students are wanted.

Most volunteers are placed in the Free Classes Project, preparing sustainable resources, helping out in the library and supporting students and teachers with pronunciation and language development. Special skills such as accounting, web design or photography are also desired.

Where: The Free Classes Programme is based at their purpose built community centre in Siem Reap.
Accommodation & Costs: They do not provide accommodation but JWOC may be able to suggest possible places to stay. There is no fee but volunteers are encouraged to contribute financially to the ongoing running of the projects by fundraising at home.

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CHD Cambodia

CHD welcomes both short and long term volunteers to teach English, support environmental education, or assist other projects that help educate the poor and disadvantaged children in a rural area of Cambodia.

Where: Po Village, Takeo Province.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers pay an application fee of $50. CHD help arrange accommodation with a guest house in Takeo.


Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Cambodia

Meaning 'hope' in Khymer, the Sangkheum Center for Children, in Siem Reap, provides education, training, scholastic support and care to children between the ages of four and 17. The main goal of their volunteer programme is to develop the capacity of their Khmer staff in their direct work with their children, so volunteers will predominantly be working with designated staff in planning and performing activities. The Sangkheum Center accepts volunteers over the age of 25 who are qualified and have professional experience areas such as social work, health education, physical, occupational and speech therapy. They can also use volunteers who can help with administration, accounting, research, website development and graphic design. Their preference is for volunteers to commit to a minimum of three months, with six to 12 months being ideal. However, they can make exceptions depending on your area of expertise and their needs.


Help Exchange Networks in Cambodia

Workaway -
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HelpX -


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Cambodia

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

A Day in the Life of a Volunteer in Cambodia (Volunteering as a Doctor) - An extract from the emails send back to Kathryn’s family and work colleagues from her time volunteering in Cambodia.
10 Years Ago Today – Cambodia - Tash reflects back to her time in Cambodia as a volunteer for Youth Ambassadors for Development.
Short-Term Volunteering in Cambodia: Some Questions - With so many places in Cambodia offering the orphanage volunteer work experience to travellers, Travelfish suggests that despite the best intentions your contribution might not benefit everyone.
A Typical Work Day - Tammy and Chris chart their day working for a NGO in Cambodia.
Volunteerism: Be the Change You Want to See in the World - Tammy Lowe tells us more about her role placing Cambodian graduates in marginalised communities.
Memoirs of a Grizzled Expat 8: The Dilemma of Helping Vulnerable Street Kids - Andy Ahmed finds that other expats, irresponsible parents and the possibility of accusations of being a paedophile make it difficult trying to help street children in Cambodia.
Day 31-43 Tanop Community Education Centre - The Baigrie family describe the facilities and duties for volunteers at this Cambodian school.
Volunteering in Svay Rieng - This is what Dave Dean of What’s Dave Doing did last year in Cambodia.
Our First Gig Volunteering in Cambodia Didn’t Exactly go to Plan - Though it hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm to volunteer again, the Appleford family decide to cut short their first ‘character building’ stint teaching in Siem Reap.
The Ups and Downs of Work Field Trips to Rural Cambodia - Tammy goes on a field trip to interview and take photos of some of the beneficiaries of the NGO she volunteered for.
Volunteering And Applying Skills In Cambodia - After finishing her studies and wanting to do something amazing with her new qualifications, Tash is accepted on a programme set up by the Australian government.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Images courtesy Direct Relief and Charles Pieters