Teaching and Community Development in Cambodia


Spend a few weeks discovering the real Cambodia through rewarding volunteer work, engaging cultural exchange and visits to impressive sites. Volunteers assist with education at a centre or kindergarten, as well as helping out with community development efforts in a rural village. Make friends, lend a hand and take in Cambodia’s beautiful scenery and history on this rewarding volunteer program!

Program Overview

Lend a hand to impoverished children while taking in the beautiful culture and history of Cambodia! This project targets local Khmer families who are struggling to support themselves and educate their children. Many families in rural villages have very limited access to education and medical attention. Volunteers help teach English and other related subjects in a local primary school, as well as help out with water and clothing distribution. You’ll experience big city and small village life, not to mention the opportunity to visit the popular attractions of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat!

Project Details:

  • Project Activities: Volunteers are not required to have any background or formal qualifications in teaching or education for this program. Volunteers with partial or complete teaching / education qualifications will be able to start engaging with students much earlier, with less supervision. Your skills and expertise will be warmly welcomed by the teaching staff on-site. Volunteers with no teaching background will be provided with a detailed handbook with lots of tips and advice in terms of teaching primary school students in a classroom environment. The local teachers will also be there to guide and support you. You will primarily be teaching local Khmer students basic English, but there are also other subject areas that the children and teachers need support, e.g. art / crafts, sports, math, science, etc. Volunteers will also be rotated in the computer class (only basic skills required) and will all have the opportunity to assist on the daily water run and dropping the children back to their homes in the afternoons. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to assist with the clothing run (no fixed schedule). Students are requested to bring as much appropriate second-hand clothing as possible – for both children and adults.
  • Project Availability: Year-round. Arrive any Sunday. 10 students maximum on the project at any one time – first in, best dressed policy.
  • Project Duration: Minimum 2 weeks. Recommended 4 weeks. Up to 12 weeks maximum.
  • Working Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm
  • Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia (with an excursion to Siem Reap for groups of 6-10 participants)
  • Excursions*: 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the Silk Farm
  • Support: 24-hour on-site support from our Site Coordinator and Site Director
  • Police Check is required
  • Minimum Age: 18+

Language: English (having basic Cambodian is not required but is helpful and shows the locals that you are keen to engage)

*Note: The Siem Reap excursion includes transport from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, basic accommodation, meals and entrance fee to Angkor Wat. The excursion is only offered for groups of 6-10 volunteers. If attending the program at a time with 1-5 volunteers, your program fee will be reduced by approximately A$250 over two weeks. Speak with your CISaustralia Advisor for further information.

Sample Itinerary

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on local conditions, daily weather, project priorities and a range of other influences. Local staff will advise students at orientation, and ongoing, of the schedule and related amendments. Students should come to this project expecting to be challenged and be able to adapt to change quickly. 

Day 1
Airport pick-up by on-site staff and transfer to accommodation in Phnom Penh. Depending on arrival time, a walking tour showing the key highlights in Phnom Penh – e.g. Royal Palace, Independent Monument, Central Market, Wat Phnom, Riverside and back to accommodation followed by a welcome dinner that evening.

Day 2
First day of volunteer work, visiting the educational / community development centre or visiting a village and assisting with water and clothing distribution / general cultural exchange.

Day 3+
Rotate groups so all volunteers have a turn in each project and on the village community development. Together the volunteers will spend some days – usually a Wednesday afternoon – guided by on-site staff, handing out second-hand clothing in the village. The village trip is a learning experience of Khmer culture and how the extremely poor Khmer are surviving. Students should be prepared for culture shock and to be challenged.

Weekends are free for volunteers in Phnom Penh.

Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

If there are 6-10 volunteers, the program concludes with a 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. The trip includes transport to and from Angkor Wat, basic accommodation, 1 full day at Angkor Wat, a half day at the Silk Farm and all meals.

The Volunteer's Role

As is the case with many developing nations, Cambodia has only so many government-sponsored resources, such as schools and medical facilities, which are high in demand but short in supply. Rural villagers often find themselves without transport to arrive to such facilities, which is where local NGOs attempt to fill the gaps. Our partner NGO targets the most disadvantaged Cambodians: the homeless, landless, jobless and those without adequate healthcare access. We also focus on children whose parents are not able to provide sufficient care, with the end goal to keep families together.

Volunteers play an important role in assisting at the local school / kindergarten offering much needed childcare services and assisting local teachers with English language classes. Bring as many teaching aids as you can fit in your bag, such as flip cards, maps, wall charts, puzzles, books, etc. – all will be put to very good use, both while you are there and after you are gone.

The water and clothes runs give valuable cultural insight, a connection with the local community, a look into local life and provide important supplies and clothing to those in need.

As an overseas volunteer, you will play a role in children’s education, as well as general community development. You can choose to teach English or other topics such as computers, health, gardening or sports at a local educational centre, or assist at a local kindergarten. Outside of your education project commitment, volunteers also contribute to general community assistance efforts, such as clothing and water distribution. In order to hand out clothing we ask you to bring over second-hand children’s (and/or adult) clothing in your luggage.

Skills Required

If you have a passion for teaching, working with children, assisting local communities and are enthusiastic, flexible, adaptable and smile a lot, you will be warmly welcomed – no formal qualifications are required.

The ability to show patience, compassion and understanding is crucial when working with people from a different culture to yours. Having the ability to work autonomously is also important as you may find there are times where you have to improvise and work independently.

For this project, a Working with Children or police check is required for all volunteers. Prior to commencing the project you will need to arrange a Working with Children / police check from Australia at your own expense.


Cambodia is a diverse and beautiful country, boasting ancient architecture, beautiful landscapes and a vibrant and friendly culture. It’s a unique blend of past influences, including French and Chinese, and the current majority Khmer ethnicity and Theravada Buddhism.

Volunteers will be accommodated in a basic but safe, clean and comfortable dormitory / guesthouse-style accommodation in Phnom Penh. Students will be transported each day (at no extra cost) to and from the local village where the volunteer project takes place. The journey each day takes about 1 hour one way (pending traffic).

Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital and largest city. Located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonisation of Cambodia and has grown to become the nation’s centre of economic and industrial activities, as well as the centre of security, politics, cultural heritage and diplomacy of Cambodia.

Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. The capital, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia. Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions. There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings scattered along the grand boulevards.

Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers, the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to about 2.2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14.8 million, up from about 1.9 million in 2008. The city is the wealthiest and most populous city in Cambodia and is the country’s political hub.

Participants on a program with 6-10 volunteers will also enjoy a 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and Silk Farm.   

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia and a popular resort town as the gateway to the Angkor region.

Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter and around the Old Market. In and surrounding the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handicraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonlé Sap Lake.

Siem Reap today – being a popular tourist destination – has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.


Volunteers will stay in central Phnom Penh at a basic dormitory / guesthouse in single gender, shared room accommodation (own bed). It can be noisy in the day but things do get quieter at night. The location has great access to the river, markets, local palace and all the restaurants and sights close to central Phnom Penh. The project site is approximately a 1-hour drive from the centre of Phnom Penh and the accommodation.

The Cambodian-style guesthouse is very basic. It is clean, safe and comfortable and usually includes double beds (with 2 to 5 students per room), TV, A/C, hot water, towels, sheets, blankets and pillows. There is sometimes a small desk in the rooms. There is limited to no hanging closets or drawers. Breakfast is included daily in the restaurant on the ground floor. A basic lunch is included daily at the project site (except weekends). Evening meals and lunch on weekends are at the volunteer’s own expense.

The accommodation is situated above a restaurant with a bar, pool table and TVs. There are lots of tables to meet as a group at the end or start of each day to review the project, or to do computer work, write reports, surf the net, write in your diary, etc. There is Wi-Fi that is good, but at times may not be available. Wi-Fi will not be as consistent as it is in Australia.

On-site staff will be happy to recommend good Khmer meals and accompany students to some restaurants during the program.

Program Fee & Dates

2-12 weeks - Year Round
Application deadline is 60 days prior to commencement. Arrive any Sunday. 10 students maximum on the project at any one time – apply early!
Program Fee A$ 2,399
OS-HELP A$ 9,234


Program fees include the following:
  • Volunteer project placement
  • CISaustralia support before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • On-site orientation
  • Airport pick-up (on specified program dates within designated times)
  • Accommodation – same gender dormitory / guesthouse-style, shared between 2 to 5 participants per room, separate beds
  • Meals – breakfast daily and lunch during weekdays
  • Daily transportation to/from project location
  • *Excursion: 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the Silk Farm (when 6-10 volunteers only)
  • 24/7 on-site support – Site Coordinator and Site Director
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Completion

What is not included:

  • Flights
  • Health insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Evening meals and lunch on weekends
  • Clothing donations – please bring children’s clothing (can be second-hand) to hand out in villages

*Note: Siem Reap excursion includes transport from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, basic accommodation, meals and entrance fee to Angkor Wat. The excursion is only offered for groups of 6-10 volunteers. If attending the program at a time with 1-5 volunteers, your program fee will be reduced by approximately A$250 over two weeks. Speak with your CISaustralia Advisor for further information.

CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partners.

Dates are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

Adventure Awaits

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