“If volunteering is something you have thought about, just take a leap of faith and you will be well rewarded with an experience of seeing the real world. It really opens your mind, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Michelle is from the UK and volunteered at the Cambodia Community Project in October and November 2015 for three weeks.
I chose Globalteer after it jumped out at me when I was looking for volunteering work abroad. I had a very special holiday in Asia at the beginning of 2015, and Siem Reap had the biggest impact on me. After a quick look online, Globalteer was the organisation that really stood out as it was informative, well run, staff replied promptly to questions, the volunteer placement fee was reasonable, and it had the added bonus of offering placements in Cambodia.
I did ask myself “what have I let myself in for?” when on the plane to Cambodia as I was 52 and going completely solo!! But as soon as I walked through the arrival hall and was met by Vith, one of Globalteer’s lovely Khmer staff, I knew I was with people who had a great vision and true inspiration, and that my three week placement would be nothing to worry about. All the Siem Reap team at Globalteer were amazing!
Volunteering at the project
My favourite part of volunteering was seeing the impact it had on the lives of the Cambodian people. It was truly inspiring to volunteer as these projects are making a huge difference and long term improvements in the health, education and empowerment of the wonderful Khmer people.
The work I was involved in covered two projects: women and children. When volunteering with the women they made me feel such a part of their day, and taught me the start and end process of turning a used carry bag into a bright well-made floor mat. I didn't speak their language, but this was no problem as we were all mums, which is a universal bond!
My afternoon placement was with some very amazing and inspirational children. My time consisted of hair washing, brushing, head lice treatments, simple hair put ups, and general fun and games with the best kids I've had the pleasure to meet.
The children, while really bright, happy and caring, all come from hard backgrounds, and without projects like this they would be left very vulnerable. I therefore felt privileged to be part of their day.
Recommendations for future volunteers
I would say to anyone visiting Siem Reap, just to walk around the small city and take in its magic – it's a truly special place.
And if volunteering is something you have thought about, just take a leap of faith and you will be well rewarded with an experience of seeing the real world. It really opens your mind, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It has renewed my faith in people.
I also had the great pleasure of meeting an assortment of other volunteers, as well as team leaders, Khmer teachers, and most importantly a range of inspirational women and children. I would like to thank Siem Reap and its people for making me feel so welcome – I couldn't recommend it enough!