Volunteer with Children in Cambodia

Help children grow and discover their full potential when you join us in Phnom Penh to assist in improving the social and educational landscape.

Program Information

Experience true cultural immersion in Cambodia while you make an impactful contribution to the social development of the children from community of Phnom Penh. Participants will be involved in projects focusing on teaching English, Maths, arts and crafts, health and exercise. Uncover the magic of Cambodia in your free time, a trip to the Royal Palace or the National Museum of Cambodia are highly recommended. Help us contribute to a range of UN Sustainable Development Goals, including goal #4 - Quality Education.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals


Make your home among Cambodia’s untouched tropical beaches and explore its rich cultural history of Hinduism and Buddhism. Assist in making a positive change in the community of Phnom Penh when you join a group of like-minded volunteers to teach various subjects and run basic life-skills workshops. Your participation in this project will contribute towards enhancing both the social and educational landscape of the area.

While you work and live in the community of Phnom Penh you will get the opportunity to become truly immersed in this fascinating and friendly community, and get the chance to learn some of the local language, called Khmer, but pronounced as kuh-migh.

- Make a sustainable impact in the the lives of the local children by assisting in transforming their social environment and future prospects
- Live like a local and learn more about the Cambodian culture and learn the local language
- Improve your teaching and presenting skills with hands-on experience
- Visit iconic landmarks like the Royal Palace or the National Museum of Cambodia
- Experience true cultural immersion in the Cambodian way of life
- Contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality Education

Program Details

Program Type:
Location: Asia - Cambodia - Kampong Cham

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Project Life

The Cambodian life, like many other Southeast Asian countries, is characterised by it’s peaceful nature, warm hospitality and rich traditions.

What can kind of activities can you expect to get involved in? In preparation for the program, all our participants undergo an orientation session covering our health and safety guidelines and we provide you with the necessary training you need to participate in our projects. This will include:
- a basic Khmer language lesson,
- 5 hours of TEFL training,
- a tour of the area you will be working in,
- and meeting our local partners.

The needs of the local community, as determined by our partner organisations, are our main priority and our project outcomes are tailored accordingly. You can however expect to get involved in activities involving community development initiatives that yields on social and educational development. Depending on the needs at the time, in practice this could be:
- Teaching English
- Kindergarten lessons
- Arts & crafts
- Healthcare workshops
- Music & dance
- Sports & exercise
- Maths & Science
- Reading

All our efforts aim to sustainably equip the community with tools to manage and live a better quality of life and to help them to accomplish their ambitions and live to their full potential.

At the end of each day you will enjoy a meal and socialise with the rest of the team.

Weekends are usually yours to rest up and relax, or perhaps even explore some of the surrounding area, and get to know your fellow volunteers.

Life on the base will be simple island living, you will stay basic dormitory accommodation with your fellow participants with a communal kitchen, living and work area, taking turns with base duties on a rotational basis.

Project Details

The exact projects that we get involved in will depend on the needs at that exact time, and as such, participants should be prepared to be flexible and adapt to changes in the field. Our goal is to:
- develop a sustainable foundation to improve the children’s lives
- provide volunteers to help improve the level of education in Cambodia
- develop the social landscape through teaching basic life skills

How this project makes a difference:
On this project you will help children grow and develop both socially and academically, and in turn, assist them in discovering their full potential and improving their future opportunities.

Cambodia’s short, mid, and long-term objectives:
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

Our 10 Ethical Commitments


Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)


Welcome to Cambodia, a country in Southern Asia famed for its pristine tropical beaches untouched by tourism and an assortment of cultural attractions.
You will get a chance to experience the magic of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, and get a chance to see a side of Cambodia that most travellers miss out on.

Weekend Explorations
The Royal Palace is a distinct landmark in Phnom Penh and also the official residence of King Sihamoni. Although a large part of it is not open to the public, be sure to visit the Silver Pagoda, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Silver Pagoda got its name from its floor which is covered in five tons of silver! The Emerald Buddha is a human sized, Baccarat-crystal sculpture found in this temple.

When you travel slightly north of the Royal Palace you will find the National Museum of Cambodia, home to an array of the finest Khmer sculptures. Relax in the lush garden in the museum’s courtyard.

Take a walk down memory lane when you visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former high school that was turned into a prison during the 1970’s. Security Prison 21, an initiative of the Khmer Rouge leaders, tortured and killed over 17 000 people. This museum provides an insight into Cambodia’s history.

Further Travelling Opportunities
If you have time the time and budget to travel before or after your program, we highly recommend you check out these places:
- The Temples of Angkor is a place of national pride and spiritual inspiration is a point of pilgrimage for all Cambodians.
- Cambodia's southern islands are untouched by commercial tourism and provide you with pristine coastlines and rustic accommodation.
- The Mondulkiri Province stands in contrast to the rest of Cambodia. Its name literally means ‘Meeting of the Hills’, and it consist of a combination of mountains, hills and rainforests. You can expect some spectacular wildlife sightings here, including elephants, leopards, monkeys and birds.
- Travel north to Siem Reap to explore the grand Angor Wat temple, the largest religious monument in the world! You can catch a 40 minute flight to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.

The Team

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.