Globalteer has been working with the fantastic Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary for many years and it has always been one of our most popular volunteer projects. But the success of a project is not simply measured by its popularity with volunteers. For us the perfect project is a marriage of volunteers' sense of having really made a contribution and the project really being able to demonstrate a positive impact. So we asked the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary's director to give us some insight into how volunteers have helped out and what the project has achieved over the years. Here's what he told us:
1. Why do you encourage international volunteers?
Globalteer volunteers are critical to the running of our elephant sanctuary as they bring much needed manpower to help us grow food to feed our elephants and they also bring much needed funds that allow us to give our elephants the best lives possible.
The money is also used to save hundreds of people’s lives every year through sponsoring our medical program and to protect millions of trees in our elephant sanctuary.
2. What do you think volunteers get out of the experience?
We live in a highly connected modern world of social media and the urge not to miss out on the latest information or gossip is stressful. The Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary sits in a valley that is disconnected from this with no phones, Internet, television or radio. The majority of visitors remark how refreshing it is to get back to nature and be surrounded by such amazing animals, it allows you to have a different outlook on life.
Your time here is also highly planned with lots of activities that allow you to contribute to the ongoing development of the sanctuary. Our philosophy is that everybody contribute a little bit and the succession of visitors allows the place to constantly develop and change and that is incredibly rewarding experience to be a part of and contribute to.
3. Since you have been working with Globalteer, what are the most noteworthy contributions our volunteers have made to your project?
We have been working with Globalteer for a long time now and the contributions have been numerous and invaluable.
We have had volunteers help us rescue elephants, help raise money to save people’s lives, buy hospital beds, grow endangered trees, help develop all of our elephant food farms and to help build the houses and buildings we use.
4. Why do you like dealing with Globalteer?
Globalteer is incredibly reliable and we really appreciate the support they provide and the organisation they bring to table. We are in a very remote location and we need to make sure people are where they are meant to be, that they get to us safely and on time. Globalteer is very good in making sure this happens.
5. What major changes there have been at your project since you started working with Globalteer?
We have grown, we used to have 50 hectares, now we have 1500, we used to have 3 elephants and now we have 11, we used to have 10 staff and now we have 60. We have also expanded out of elephants and into education, forestry protection and health care and this has been an enormous amount of change but Globalteer and the volunteers have been incredibly supportive.
6. How does the future look for your project? And what can we do to help?
We are now happy with the size we have grown and are now working every day to just do the job we do better. This is more difficult than it sounds but is essential for providing the life our rescued elephants deserve. We can only achieve this by having more volunteers in the future who come to help us look after these amazing animals.