Voluntourism in Cambodia

Cambodia has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, and has seen much investment since the political situation stabilised after the civil war finally ended. For the last 30 years of the twentieth century, however, Cambodia could represent everything that was wrong with how international politics and the Cold War impacted third world nations: corrupt puppet governments, genocidal dictators, the deaths of innocents, and the major powers ignoring crimes against humanity in the pursuit of shallow, often petty, political goals. It will take much for Cambodia to fully heal from those scars.

Giving something back...

Many come to Cambodia to see some history - but few come to the country and are not moved. The reason we are here is to help fund the education of Cambodian schoolchildren through tourist revenue, but we understand that many visitors are at stages where they are time rich rather than in a position to help us financially. "Voluntourism" is an ugly word, but a beautiful idea - to visit a country, see it, meet its people, and give some of your time and labors to help some of those people.

It's all ABOUT Education

We started by building a school. Prey Chrouk did not have a school, so Andrew Booth and David Chase started IAMCambodia, and built the first school in the town, about 45km from Siem Reap, Cambodia. ABOUTAsia Schools continues to support the school with volunteers, and support other schools in Siem Reap province with volunteers (usually English speakers to help with English lessons, but also tradespeople and professionals with other useful skills), uniforms (with the assistance of previous Hotel de la Paix), and teaching materials. If you would be interested in combining a trip to see some of this beautiful country, and helping out at one of "our" schools, then please get in touch.


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Cambodian schoolchildren

Volunteering in a Cambodian school

Ethics of Voluntourism

It is important to realise that volunteering should be for the benefit of the locals, not for the benefit of the volunteer. We do have requests for short-term volunteers, but we are extremely cautious with short-term help: we have some fun full or half day activities (particularly for groups), but these will not be "teaching", as a constant stream of ever-changing faces is not helpful for development or education. We can arrange a visit to a school to see some of the challenges that pupils, teachers and (long term) volunteers face, but these are sensitively handled.

Please note:

  • We do not support "Orphanage tourism" - vulnerable children are not a tourist attraction, and visits can sustain and encourage orphanages to be run on commercial rather than humanitarian grounds
  • We do not support several children's performance groups for similar reasons, and would encourage our guests not to visit - children should be in school or with their carers, not performing for tourists
  • We would encourage all visitors to not give money to, or buy from, children on the street - give to a reputable NGO or charity instead, who will ensure that money does not end up in the hands of adult "handlers"

childsafe ABOUTAsia is a proud partner of ChildSafe Cambodia

Cambodia travel information and Angkor Wat tour specialists ABOUTAsia are based in Siem Reap just 4km from Angkor Wat. At the heart of the organisation is a guiding research centre providing Cambodia vacation advice and industry leading tours planning.


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Cambodia travel and Voluntourism in Cambodia information from ABOUTAsia