What experience do volunteers need?
It is beneficial if our volunteers have experience of teaching or working with children and young people, however this is not essential. This most important skills are flexibility, enthusiasm and an open mind. All of our volunteers attend a training session in Phnom Penh prior to their volunteer placement, which is a great time to ask questions and understand more about what we do. Our volunteers are supervised by Cambodian teachers who provide direction and help when needed giving them the chance to develop new skills along the way.
Do I need a police check or CRB clearance?
Yes. All of our volunteers must have a police check or CRB clearance from their home country before beginning their volunteer placement. Volunteers must also provide their passport and visa details, which will be copied and held on file by NFO. This is a requirement of the Cambodian government and is necessary to protect the vulnerable people we work with.
Can I volunteer with a friend or partner?
Of course. We have welcomed couples, friends, siblings and whole families into our volunteer projects in the past. All we ask is that couples are respectful of Cambodian culture and do not show any public signs of affection. Volunteering with a friend may also reduce your costs as you can share accommodation. Let us know in your application if you are applying with a friend and we will try our best to accommodate your requirements.
How long are volunteer placements?
Our volunteer placements are for a minimum of one week, although most volunteers decide to stay longer. We always recommend our volunteers to stay for six weeks or more to encourage long term volunteers, as this is more beneficial to the children we support.
When can I volunteer?
We have volunteer placements starting every other Saturday, all year round. If you want to volunteer during busier times such as school and university holidays please plan ahead and contact us early, as we can become oversubscribed.
What about “voluntourism”?
There are many organisations in the developing world which have been discredited for running costly volunteer programs which have little benefit to communities. The main criticisms of these projects is that they take valuable jobs away from locals, children do not learn from volunteers and they promote a cycle of reliance on western help.
NFO is different. Our projects run with or without volunteers. We employ local people in all of our job roles, the volunteers are an added bonus. The main benefit of volunteers is to provide native English speaking skills, something which locals cannot do. By encouraging long term volunteering we allow the children to develop appropriate teacher-pupil relationships with our volunteers. This limits repetition of learning, minimises disruption and is much more beneficial to the children. We also understand that our volunteers spread the message of NFO amongst their friends and families. They hold fundraisers, sponsor children and bring vital funds into our organisation. Above all, the children we work with develop and grow by having access to volunteers. They improve their English skills, confidence and knowledge of the world just by spending time with our volunteers.
What do volunteers do when they’re not teaching?
During the day, many volunteers enjoy exploring the town, visiting Takeo’s lively and colourful market, relaxing by the lake, or cycling through the surrounding countryside; as well as preparing lessons and resources for the next day’s teaching. In the evenings, volunteers often sample some of Cambodia’s delicious cuisine at one of the restaurants in Takeo or relax on the balcony or in the gardens of the guesthouse. At weekends, many volunteers explore further afield, perhaps visiting the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh (around 90 minutes away) or heading to the beautiful beaches at Kep, the riverside town of Kampot, or taking a trip down the river to explore the ancient temples at Angkor Borei.
If you have any more questions about volunteering, contact us: email@example.com