Cambodia is one of Project Trust’s smallest country programmes with only one project running this year. Honour Village is a residential place of safety for young children where you will have a huge role to play in the lives of young people living there.
As well as teaching you will be acting as a role model for the residents and have lots of opportunities to use your initiative and run activities. Honour Village is a project where you are given a large amount of responsibility and get to see very clearly the impact you are having on a group of vulnerable young people.
Siem Reap is a large city in the north of Cambodia known as the gateway to Angkor Wat, the spectacular ancient temple complex of the Khmer civilisation. As the most famous tourist destination in Cambodia, Angkor Wat attracts many visitors and as a result, the city has grown remarkably with hotels, restaurants and bars now dominating the town. This is a stark contrast to where you will be living and working, a mere 15 minutes drive away from the centre of Siem Reap.
Honour Village is a school and place of safety set up in 2010. There are currently 13 children living at the centre as most of the residents have been re-housed and reintegrated into communities. The school serves both the children living there and those in the surrounding villages. Students come to learn English for free everyday.
Your role is quite varied. You will be expected to teach your own classes, act as an assistant teacher, and spend time doing 1-to-1 work and even play-leading. The teaching can be challenging as class sizes vary and there can be a small number of children with special educational needs. There is plenty of land at Honour Village so you can play football and other sports with the children. This project requires a lot of initiative, and volunteers who will take their work seriously rather than spending time in the nearby tourist hubs. It is not unusual for us to place more than two volunteers in Honour Village as there is plenty to
You will have a bedroom in a flat which is a 10 minute cycle from Honour Village with basic facilities. Your hosts, Sean and Sylvia, live below. Food is cooked for everyone in the Group Home and school, including the volunteers, by local staff so you will rapidly get used to a Cambodian diet.
Life in Cambodia
Cambodia is a country with a rich history. The Khmer people of the region have developed a sophisticated society, which at its prime resulted in the building of the incredible temples and palaces of Angkor Wat. This has become a huge tourist trap but you don’t have to go far to get away from the milling hordes and discover a Cambodia that is virtually untouched.
Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia and is still dealing with the effects of a long period of war and political instability. The Vietnam War had a huge impact, not only because of its indirect involvement but also the political developments it spawned, resulting in the notorious Pol Pot regime. This led to political and economic isolation and appalling human rights abuses. A shadow still hangs over Cambodia but it is becoming a player in the economic development of South East Asia once again.
Cambodia faces many challenges ahead. Rural poverty affects a large percentage of the population, resulting in many living at subsistence level with low life expectancy and limited educational and economic opportunities. Corruption is also a major problem. Having been a part of French-Indo China from 1887 until its independence in 1953, there is a strong French influence, particularly in Phnom Penh with its French architecture and restaurants. French is spoken by some of the older generation but it is English that is rapidly growing.
In terms of travel Cambodia has much to offer, from the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to the exotic islands and beaches in the South – you will have plenty opportunity during your year to explore this fascinating country.
Esme Pitts was an eight month Volunteer in Cambodia in 2014/15. She told
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