Volunteer Spotlight: Tahli

"I have never met people so appreciative, positive and enlightening in my life"

Tahli Gibson is a chiropractor and former nanny from Australia who volunteered at Globalteer’s rural Cambodian community project in October and November 2014. Here, she talks about her experience assisting with the project’s health and nutrition programme and explains why volunteering was a life-changing experience for her that she will never forget:

“I first found Globalteer when I was searching on the internet for an honest and quality NGO in Cambodia where I felt I could make a meaningful contribution even in just a few weeks. I am glad to say that I couldn't have chosen a better place to spend my time in Cambodia than with the Globalteer-run community project.

"Located in a rural village about 45 minutes by tuk-tuk from Siem Reap this place is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have done a lot of work with children in Australia but nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had in Cambodia. The smiling faces who were so happy to greet me every day and made me appreciate every minute I spent there. But it also made it difficult to leave!"

My new Cambodian family

“After two weeks helping the teachers with English classes, cleaning the project site, taking BMI's (body mass index) as part of the health and nutrition programme, assisting with first aid and even a few trips to the hospital with students, I felt like I had a new family. I have never met people so appreciative, positive and enlightening in my life and this is even more mind-blowing when you see that they literally have nothing, at least by Western standards - living almost entirely off their land and its produce.

“While I was there I had the opportunity to visit the local village to see my students "houses". I was honestly shocked by what I saw.  Most families live in a square hut no bigger than my lounge room with the furniture consisting of only mats to sleep on and a mosquito net (some don't even have one). I was trying to picture my students doing their homework before the sun went down (given there is no power). These children are not forced by authorities to come to classes at the project - like we are in Australia - they do it because they love learning. This makes it all the more special.

 “Now I work full time at the project and my responsibilities range from working in the office, handling emails and creating the school’s newsletter, marketing and some fundraising for the school. I also arrange and give tours of the school to prospective donors and work closely with the volunteers. But, most importantly, I get to interact with the children! Seeing their happy faces every day makes everything so much more worthwhile for me! I’m so happy to be back in Cambodia helping these wonderful children and can see myself being here for the foreseeable future.”

There have been countless volunteers that have ended up working for Globalteer too, so have a look at our projects and see where you could start your journey!