Cambodia is an extraordinary country and there is much to discover and explore. Amongst the folds of beautiful countryside and enchanting landscape are the Khmer – a people of deep-rooted tradition and culture. Although Cambodia still bears the scars from wars and recent brutality, its people are strong, resilient and eager to move forward into the future. You will encounter countless individuals who will welcome you like family and embrace an upbeat, optimistic and light-hearted attitude to life.
The Cambodian people have a beautiful nature and approach to everything. They are always smiling and laugh easily and often, despite the fact that many live a challenging life. They are the endearing kind of people you want to help out. Surprises and unexpected cultural differences abound, but all the warm smiles and laughter will soon make you feel relaxed, and very much a part of a vibrant community.
A turbulent history of warfare, poverty, and disease has left quiet Cambodian villages with a very large number of young orphans. On their own, these children have no choice but to beg or forage for survival. Life can be challenging without someone looking after them. Local orphanages offer some protection and education, and these are vital for the children to be able to grow up safely. The children are eager to learn, and have dreams and desires to earn a living for themselves one day.Schools are a haven for the orphan children; a place where they can find security, comfort, learning, and friendship. Sponsored language schools provide completely free tuition in subjects such as Korean, Japanese, English and are taught how to use computers. Many students do not have the opportunity to receive formal education by attending a government school. Financial burdens such as paying to sit exams, buy books and their own uniform prove to be a large expense for the majority of Cambodians who are living on less than a $1 per day.It is crucial for students to learn languages in their formative ages, and so there is a need here for education that enables students to have work opportunities in the local industries. In a typical Cambodian classroom, interaction and engagement with students is a different approach that is highly valued. Even if you are not a qualified teacher, your knowledge of your own progressive style of education is very valuable to teachers here and enhances their classroom teaching. With your volunteer efforts, schools can provide the opportunity for students to have an education that they would not otherwise have.The Cambodian students are not accustomed to a school bus. Rather, they ride their bikes along a dirt road, which is a large part of the culture in Siem Reap. It means that getting to the school isn’t always easy, but for these children, the education and care provided through the efforts of the school and its volunteers make every muddy pedal worth the ride.
Many rural villages in Siem Reap province suffer a high rate of disease, illiteracy and other devastating effects from the lack of water, sanitation and food. This is why clean water, education and community development are high priorities for lessening poverty and improving quality of life in a sustainable manner. Volunteers’ efforts here nurture relationships with the local community, and support the village infrastructure.The projects that you would be involved with focus on basic needs, health and sanitation, and education. One major project involves Bio-Sand Filters, which works by filtering water through sand and gravel making 98% pure water. Volunteers can provide a valuable “extra set of hands” for activities like sorting sand, sifting gravel, pouring cement moulds and painting the filters. Then, on delivery day, you deliver the water filters to the grateful smiles of families within the local community.In addition to purifying water, we focus our efforts to support sustainable agriculture. Projects such as a mushroom growing project attempt to educate and empower farmers to be able to grow cash crops such as these mushrooms to sell at the market. In addition, trial gardens are set up for research on reseeding plants and finding affordable ways to conserve water through drip feeding systems that keep crops green through the dry season. Empowering these local communities by tending to plants, vegetables and other cash crops is a very rewarding feeling when you experience the gratitude that the Cambodian people consistently exude.There is much to be done here. Every day, every effort enables the villages in Siem Reap to become less impoverished and more stable, as the friendships formed between a Cambodian and a volunteer become more enduring.What are you waiting for? Come outside. Get your hands dirty.
During your experience in Siem Reap you will truly appreciate being able to develop a deep teaching and learning connection with students through volunteering, which is essentially what it’s all about.Teaching or assisting in the building, painting, or other helpful activities here does not only provide the students and staff with a more solid base for education, it also deepens the understanding of what life is like in Siem Reap.Your own leadership skills will be shaped and strengthened while creating positive change in these communities. An invaluable life experience will be gained along with a sense of achievement in an environment where your global volunteer efforts and leadership abilities truly matter and make a measurable difference.Volunteers are warmly welcomed to these communities. The impact of volunteer efforts lightens the hearts of these beautiful people, and empower them with the skills to better help themselves.
Angkor Wat is unlike any building in the world. It is a colossal symbol of Cambodian national pride. The Khmer temple is admired for the splendour and magnificence of the medieval architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devata (guardian spirits) adorning its walls. Angkor Wat is surrounded by a huge, water-lilied moat, which held back the encroaching jungle, leaving it so well preserved.Riding a bike to visit the temples is an experience like no other. The visit to the stunning Angkor Wat is visually, architecturally and artistically breathtaking. You will feel very small against the giant, stone faces carved into the temple walls of Angkor Wat, the stoic reminders from the previous empire that once thrived here.Angkor Wat challenges you to explore, to understand, and to fully discover the meaning of the great empire it used to be. On a day-long exploration, you can bike ride among the stone-built temples carved of hundreds of different faces. You’ll ride along the formed ranks of stone elephants, and stonewalls hugged by giant roots of trees and jungle vines. Leaving your bikes on the ground, you can climb to the top of the temples and watch the Cambodian sun go down behind the dense and darkening jungle. The view from the towers rewards with a breathtaking panoramic of misty jungle treetops and a splish-splash of rice fields sprawling across the Cambodian landscape.During your stay, you will be able to venture down a number of overgrown jungle paths climbing to ancient stone temples, each trek leading you to something spectacular. There are crystal clear waterfalls foaming over stone carvings in riverbeds, and mystical floating villages beyond your imagination.
Some days it will be nice to leave the bike leaning on a rail, save the excitement of a tuk tuk ride for another day and set off to explore by horseback. Some places in Siem Reap are best visited on a four-legged friend that would be otherwise unreachable. Trot through traditional countryside villages, passing monasteries and temple ruins. Horseback riding is an authentic taste of the true Khmer lifestyle and gives you a chance to meet the locals, and observe local craftsmen and farmers in the scenic rice fields away from the main roads.A lovely trip to take during the cooler Cambodian mornings is a visit to Psar Chaa, the Old Market, to browse for local crafts and souvenirs. The market is popular for its variety of Cambodian cuisine selling various rices, dried fish and pork sausages, and various vegetables and fruits. If you are keen for a taste of the more unique local cuisine, some stalls sell baguettes and spiced frogs, as well as various Khmer soups, red chilli slices and peanuts. Sampling the exotic cuisine may be just the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in the village.Because Siem Reap’s main source of economic support is through tourism, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes. With a vibrant main street through the city there is ample entertainment for anyone in search of food, shopping or live music.
Let’s begin the EDventure . .