The rural government schools of Cambodia may cater for increasing numbers of students as a result of generous international and local funding, but they do not offer their students with the opportunity to learn English, an essential skill for children who are striving to escape the cycle of poverty which they are subject to every day.
This is why Youssa, the Cambodian founder and manager of Partnering Against Poverty Association has dedicated himself to creating a number of private English schools, sponsoring orphanages and government schools and funding community building projects, which have resulted in him one way or another being responsible for over 2000 disadvantaged Cambodian children in his area. He dedicates 100% of his time and resources to ensuring these projects continue, while him and his beautiful family, including three young children, continue to live in nothing more than a 6 by 7 meter, stilted style house, which resembles that owned by many of those who he helps every day.
However, unfortunately, despite his best intents and efforts, his schools and community support can simply not continue without the help of volunteers and donors. That's where your help is essential in ensuring these amazing programs continue to be supported. Through volunteering you are making a real difference in the lives of countless children within Cambodia and are able to undertake in an experience that is enriching for both you and your students.
Your Volunteering Experience
Through volunteering teaching at one of PAPA's private English schools you will have the opportunity to personally get to know the local kids who attend in up to five one hour classes a day and will also be able to participate in an agriculture or building project for their families.
Oo Torr Teung village, in Phras Dak commune, where you will be situated is the perfect combination of seeing the 'real Cambodia' and nonetheless being close to Siem Reap city, which is just a short took took ride away for a weekend of experiencing is night markets and culture with fellow volunteers. Even better however, is its positioning easy bike riding distance from the Angkor temple complex, which is home to the beautiful Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and many more amazing historical sights. Furthermore, Youssa helps fund his expenses through working as a professional tour guide and knows these temples and their history back to front.
From the onset Youssa ensures you are fully aware of exactly who you are helping and why it is so important. On the second day you are provided with an intimate tour of the local village, Tah Ni, were you are able to experience poverty at its most raw as you are humbly welcomed onto the properties of people living in tiny houses on farms, many of which have only been provided as a result of generous donors to PAPA. In the village you catch glimpses of some of your students and Youssa shows you the effects of his projects, which have provided not only housing but also toilets, fruit trees and water pumps to people who otherwise have no access to clean water or hygiene.
Classes in the school range from just four to thirty students. Teaching allows you to get to know the beautiful children who show inspiring amounts of love and appreciation to volunteers. Throughout my time I was showered with gifts of small fruits and pictures drawn by the students, and while communicating with them was often difficult, many were nonetheless eager and excited to learn.
Supported by the local Cambodian English teacher, who is always there for guidance during lessons and translation, Volunteers are able to teach the kids songs and words and most excitingly are able to witness their progress as their English vocabulary and pronunciation improves.
About half way through your two weeks you will also get to contribute to a community project for three days. This may entail anything from building a vegetable garden to helping build a house, gives you a good break from teaching and allows you to help in a new and exiting way.
Catering along the way is a team effort. Lunches are provided and breakfasts can be purchased in the morning, with many local choices including soups and Cambodian style pork crepes just a couple hundred meters from your doorstep. Moreover, included in your experience is a cooking class on the first day. During this local woman will assist you in preparing traditional Cambodian food which you will have the option of cooking for your dinners or going to local restaurants or street stalls to eat.
Volunteering with PAPA is not for the faint hearted. While accommodation is comfortable, vollunteers should realise that they will nonetheless be living in a poor community where resources are scarce and the children are in need of real help. Many situations can be confronting and volunteers should expect to have to fully respect the customs and needs of their community.
Location: Oo Torr Teung village, Phras Dak commune, Siem Reap Province.
Time: Two week stints, runs all yer, though experiences will vary depending on weather conditions.
Average temperatures in celsius and precipitation in mm in Siem Reap are as follows:
Jan: High - 31, Low - 19, Precipitation - 0
Feb: High - 32, Low - 21, Precipitation - 10
Mar: High - 33, Low - 23, Precipitation - 20
Apr: High - 34, Low - 24, Precipitation - 60
May: High - 33, Low - 24, Precipitation - 140
Jun: High - 32, Low - 24, Precipitation - 170
Jul: High - 31, Low - 23, Precipitation - 200
Aug: High - 31, Low - 23, Precipitation- 200
Sep: High - 30, Low - 23, Precipitation - 260
Oct: High - 30, Low - 22, Precipitation - 230
Nov: High - 30, Low - 21, Precipitation - 80
Dec: High - 30, Low - 19, Precipitation - 10
Teaching generally involves working Monday to Saturday. Two shifts a day, beginning at 8am - 11am then again from 2pm - 4pm.
Times during working on community projects times are flexible.
Cost: $150 per week, includes:
- Angkor temple complex tours (including Angkor Wat)
- $3 per day bike hire
- Weekends in Siem Reap (Can experience night markets, pub street etc)
For booking or further volunteering enquires please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (+61)0432710793