With local Phnom Penh students and international volunteer teachers helping to raise money for development work in rural communities, VIC forms a unique model of learning, cultural exchange, and sustainable fundraising. VIC provides an opportunity for foreign volunteers to learn and experience life in Cambodia for 3 months which includes teaching English a 10-weeks course at Conversations With Foreigner (CWF) English school (in the next tab).
VIC was founded in 2006 with the support from the Australian Government AusAid VIDA program. It is a local NGO that has been recognized by Cambodian Ministry of Interior. VIC channels sources of volunteer teachers to CWF and their purpose is to improve livelihood development and sustainability in rural Cambodia. VIC and CWF is governed by a Board of Directors where the majority are cambodian.

Since our inception we have raised over US$153K for our NGO partners, hosted more than 600 volunteers, and we now teach up to 500 students every day. We’re dedicated to improving Cambodian skills, opportunities and increasing our cultural perspective, and dedicated to the mission of our partners.

CWF is an English school that was founded at the same time as VIC in 2006. It has been licensed by Cambodian Ministry of Commerce being run as a business and recognized by Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). This model enable CWF to provide meaningful English courses to local students and able to generate sustainable income to operate both VIC and CWF. Additionally, some of its profits is also used to donate to Local NGOs working for livelihood development and environmental conservation in rural Cambodia. VIC and CWF is governed by a Board of Directors where the majority are cambodian.
Many local NGOs rely on project-by-project funding, which can be problematic, so CWF was set up a social business to offer affordable conversational English language courses for local students in Phnom Penh in order to help raise regular funding for the important work of local NGOs but also to teach English to students, workers and entrepreneurs as it is the international bridge language. This project is an attempt to create a more sustainable source of funding through an activity which contributes positively to the community. 60% of the profits from the school are given directly to Local NGOs when the rest is to maintain the activity of CWF and VIC but also to improve the facilities.

Business Model

Our students pay US$110 per semester – that’s for 11 weeks (700 contact hours) of classes and costs about one-third the cost of similar courses in Phnom Penh with foreign teachers. Every semester, we offer scholarships to 5% of our enrollment, ranging from 100% of fees to 20%, based on financial hardship, disability, access to education, and family situation.

Students who study at our school are aware that they are directly funding development projects in rural areas and volunteers not only contribute directly to students in Phnom Penh, but also indirectly to the long-term sustainability of NGOs’ work. As rural communities make up 80% of Cambodia’s population, this model of fundraising will hopefully prove more sustainable for rural communities and for Cambodia as a whole. As part of the experience, volunteers will visit and learn from NGO’s projects in the provinces to gain an insight into rural life.

Policies & Procedures

Child Protection Policy Last Revision: May 2015

All employees, volunteers, and partners of Conversations With Foreigners (CWF) must ensure that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount.
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

All staff (paid and volunteer) at Conversations With Foreigners have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate member of the Management Team.

CWF has a duty of care to safeguard all children from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
CWF will ensure the safety and protection of all children through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by CWF
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989, British Act of Parliament).

Policy aims

The aim of the Conversations With Foreigners Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:

  1. Providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the studying at CWF.
  2. Allow all staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

Promoting good practice

Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgment about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home or the school. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A teacher or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters the school having been subjected to child abuse outside of Conversations With Foreigners, education can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the school must work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.

Good practice guidelines

All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.

Good practice means:

• Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
• Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
• Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
• Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with students.
• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
• Making study fun, enjoyable and promoting fairness.
• Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
• Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
• Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
• Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
• Play your part in helping to develop an ethos where all people matter and are treated equally, and with respect and dignity.
• Always put the care, welfare and safety needs of a child first.
• Respect a child’s right to be involved in making choices and decisions which directly affect them.
• Listen attentively to any ideas and views a child wants to share with you.
• Respect a child’s culture (for example their faith, and religious beliefs).
• Respect a child’s right to privacy and personal space.
• Respond sensitively to children who seem anxious about participating in certain study activities.
• Speak to a member of staff immediately if you suspect that a child is experiencing bullying or harassment.
• Listen carefully to any child who ‘tells you’ (sometimes through drawings and behavior as well as words) that they are being harmed and report what you have discovered immediately to your line manager.
• Report immediately any suspicion that a child could be at risk of harm or abuse.
• Never dismiss what a child tells you as ‘lies’ or exaggeration.
• Only restrain a child who is at imminent risk of inflicting harm to themselves or others or is at risk of damaging property.
• Never underestimate the contribution that you can make to the development of safe communities for children.

Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable, it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the school or the child’s parents.
• Otherwise, avoid:
• Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
• Taking or dropping off a child to school.
• Exaggerate or trivialise another worker’s concerns about a child or ignore an allegation or suspicion of abuse in the hope that it will either ‘go away’ or that ‘someone else will deal with it’.
• Discuss personal issues about a child or their family with other people except with your line manager when you are concerned about the child’s well being.
• Be drawn into any derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young persons.
• Allow a child, young person or adult to be bullied or harmed by anyone in the organisation.
• Allow children to swear or use sexualised language unchallenged.

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

• Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
• Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
• Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
• Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
• Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
• Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
• Do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
• Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
• Engage in rough or physical contact unless it is permitted within the rules of a game or sports activity or conforms to the guidance on appropriate physical restraint.
• Never form inappropriate emotional or physical relationships with children.
• Harass or intimidate a child or worker because of their age, ‘race’, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, socio-economic class or disability.

NB. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of CWF, the student’s parents and the student involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded

If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident using the CWF Incident Report Form. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
• if you accidentally hurt a student
• If he/she seems distressed in any manner
• if a student appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
• if a student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done

Codes of Conduct Last Revision: May 2015

• CWF aims to provide quality courses for students, therfore we expect you to prepare for, and be on time for all classes.
• We expect you to provide as much notice as possible if you are unable to attend a class.
• All volunteers are to teach up to 4 hours per day as scheduled, 5 days per week (with the exception of the Cambodian public holidays).
• All volunteers are expected to be available to teach as a back-up for sick volunteers.
• For those who want to arrange a demonstration class outside the CWF building you are required to seek prior approval from the Academic Coordinator.

CWF aims to respect Cambodian traditional and religious values and culture. In inviting you to volunteer and be a part of us, we expect you to observe a high standard of moral behaviour that reflects this aim. We expect you to abide by the following codes of conduct.

All Volunteers

1. All volunteers must abide by all Cambodian laws (which includes no illegal drugs)
2. All volunteers must not engage in commercial sex activities or sex tourist activities.
3. All volunteers must not form inappropriate relationships with students and staff. If you are unsure, ask us.
4. All volunteers must wear clothes that cover knees and shoulders and not transparancy while teaching.
5. All volunteers must are required to test new students from week 9 in your backup hours if there is no requirement for you to teach.
6. All volunteers must commit to teach up to 4 hours a day as scheduled, and one hour back as required. For any important problems, you need to talk to the Academic officer if you want to change hours or classes. Further details of our requirements are detailed in the Teaching Agreement.
7. All volunteers are to advise CWF if they are unwell, or an emergency arises and they are unable to teach, as soon as possible. Please inform the CWF Management team (Ny, Michael, Soriya, or Rasmey) of your emergency contact details, and keep them up to date.
8. All volunteers must sign the policy agreements at the end of this document. Refusal to sign either or any CWF policy will result in the volunteer being
withdrawn from participation in the program.
9. All volunteers must provide 3 passport photos and three photocopies of their passport ID page and of their current valid visa.
10. All volunteers must provide emergency contact details (photocopy and details of travel insurance, next of kin).
11. You cannot leave the course early without the permission from the CWF Team.

Volunteer House

1. Volunteers who have elected to live in the house and subsequently wish to leave are only entitled to reimbursement of variable cost associated with living in the house. The cost of operating the house is budgeted for prior to the semester beginning and most of the fixed costs have been committed.
2. All volunteers are required to attend the bi-weekly meetings with the Volunteer Support Coordinator as scheduled at the Volunteer House. You need to inform the Volunteer Support Coordinator if you have any problem and you won’t be able to join the meeting. You can also organise to meet privately with the CWF staff as required.
3. Unlike a normal shared-living situation, we have a responsibility to ensure you are all happy and to achieve this you need to respect everybody in the house. In general, we hope issues will be resolved together at a weekly meeting in the house. Please do not smoke inside the house (on the house premises is fine) and clean up after yourself, this includes washing your own dishes. You must clean up your own bed-room and bathroom very often.
4. There is one mobile phone for volunteers to use for any urgent problems that may happen at the volunteer house. Please only use this phone for this purpose.
5. You are responsible for looking after the house as if it was your own. In addition, this goes for your personal property as well. Please follow the Volunteer house general obligations:
6. Turn off all lights, fans and other electrical utilities when not in use, and make sure the gate and doors are locked.
7. If using one of the Volunteer House bikes, you are responsible for loss or damages. If you use one, please write down the name of the bike and what time you will bring it back on the board.
8. At the end of your time with us, please remember to return the keys!
9. Volunteers are not allowed to bring Khmer friends, foreigner friends, or students to the volunteer house without permission from the Volunteer Support Coordinator or the Operations Manager of the school.
10. Clean up your room before you leave at the end of semester.
11. If any volunteer is going to be a absent from the house fro any length of time, please inform the Volunteer Support Coordinator or Operations Manager.
12. All volunteers are required to complete the Holiday Form before leaving the house to go on holiday.
13. After 10 pm it is the quiet time when excessive noise is not allowed. This is to allow other volunteers and neighbours a peaceful time for sleep.
14. CWF provides three meals a day, drinking water, and tea and coffee as part of the money you pay. Generally, all the things we provide can be bought at the local markets. We don’t provide expensive or package foods, or food that can only be bought from Western-style supermarkets. But we can provide you some normal jams and normal bread. Things like cheese, yogurt, milk (dairy foods are all imported), snacks, Milo, Chocolate, packaged breakfast cereals etc. you will need to buy yourself if you have a craving for them.
15. CWF is happy for you to invite foreign friends and family to stay if the Volunteer Support Coordinator and all volunteers who are living in the house agree. They need to contribute the same rate as full-time volunteers.
16. No guests are permitted to stay overnight at the house without prior approval from the Volunteer Support Coordinator .

Independent Volunteers

13. Please respect your rental property, inlcuding any rules or requirements set down by your landlord.
14. If you need any help in dealing with your landlord, or with transport, living issues or security issues, the Volunteer Support Coordinator or VRMM can provide assistance at any time.
15. You are welcome to visit the volunteer house at any time. Please call the Volunteer Support Coordinator to ensure someone will be present to unlock the gate. Press the outside bell and you will be let in. Someone will let you out.
16. Please be aware that all equipment at the Volunteer House is for the use of the volunteers who live at the house only. If you need to use something from the volunteer house, you need to talk to the Volunteer Support Coordinator first. If you visit the volunteers’ house please remember that you are a guest and act accordingly.
17. There is the internet access at the school that can be used for lesson planning or any personal work.
18. As an independent volunteer, you are required to organise your own transportation to your CWF classes. If you need any assistance, we are here to help.
19. Check your visa expiry date. One week prior to its expiry date, please hand in your passport, one passport photo and appropriate funds to the Volunteer Support
Coordinator to have the visa extended.
20. Please inform our Volunteer Support Coordinator of your accommodation details and telephone number as soon as you have them and advise us of any changes.
21. As an independent volunteer, you are required to attend the teacher meetings that occur five times per semester at the school. These meetings are mandatory. You can also arrange to meet privately with CWF staff at any time.
22. You are required to meet the Volunteer Support Coordinator at least every two weeks for any volunteer program updates, and to discuss your living arrangements, difficulties, questions etc. The time, date and place is flexible, and can be negotiated with the Volunteer Support Coordinator.

Teaching Agreement & Expectations Last Revision: May 2015

Our expectations of your commitment to our program throughout the semester are as follows:
1. We expect you to prepare for and be on time for all classes.
2. Volunteers need to arrange their own lesson plans before they start teaching. There are many resources available, including lesson plans and handouts created by past volunteers. If you need assistance in finding resources, please discuss with the Academic Coordinator.
3. Teaching library resources, including Master Copies, reference books and dictionaries, must be returned to the same place you found them.
4. Volunteers may be required to teach one-on-one in their back up hour. We will inform you prior to the beginning of the semester if this is required.
5. Volunteers are required to evaluate and record weekly student marks. The marking period begins Week 3 and finishes at the end of Week 9. The marking criteria are included in your Orientation Book, and will be discussed during a Teacher Meeting at the end of Week 2.
6. If you are unsure about dealing with sensitive or inappropriate discussion during class, please discuss with the Academic or Volunteer Support Coordinators.
7. Touching students, including well-intentioned informal and formal gestures such as putting hand on the shoulder or arm should be avoided. Physical contact with the opposite sex is especially discouraged.
8. Communication is paramount. You must advise CWF as soon as possible if you are unwell, if an emergency arises or if you are unable to teach. This allows the CWF team adequate time to arrange substitutions or alternatives. We also ask you inform us soon as possible when you are fit to return to teaching.
9. If you wish to combine classes with another teacher, please talk to the Academic Coordinator.
10. Please advise the Academic Coordinator if you have any problem with your students, classes or teaching hours.
11. If you wish to change your scheduled classes in any way, please consult the Academic Coordinator prior to making any agreements or changes with the students.
12. If bad weather or other unforseen events result in low student numbers, you may combine with another equal or similar level for that class/day. Please ensure that either the Academic Coordinator, or the Reception Team are informed, so that we can communicate changes to late arrivals.
13. At the end of each semester, teachers are requiring to sign their student’s certificates.
14. You are required to test new students during the final two weeks of semester in your back up hour. More detailed information will be provided at the teacher meetings, held by the Academic Coordinator throughout the semester.
15. You are required to attend the teacher meetings that occur five times per semester at the school. A schedule of these meetings will be provided.
16. Volunteers who want to arrange a class field trip, or an outing outside the CWF building, are requested to first request permission from the Academic Coordinator.

Meet the team !






Finance Manager



Educational Manager


Academic Manager


Recruitment and Marketing Officer


Volunteer support








Graphic Designer







Li Hong



Cook at the volunteer house


Cook at the volunteer house

Let’s follow the 17 common goals to transform our world !

Our partners


NGO Education Partnership (NEP) is a membership organisation that coordinates dialogue and cooperation among key stakeholders to improve the quality and accessibility of education in Cambodia.
NEP values Integrity, Equality, and Collaboration


(One thousand and one fountains)

Teuksaat (which means “clean water”) is a French NGO that provides a high quality service to rural communities. Their mission is to improve the health of rural communities in rural Cambodia by establishing and supporting sustainable social enterprises, which produce and distribute safe-drinking water locally within their villages and guarantee the quality of the water. Inspired by the idea that “we drink 90% of our diseases” as Louis Pasteur used to say, Teuksaat believes that focusing on drinking water (1.50L /day /person) can significantly improve people’s health and complement standard water and sanitation infrastructure approaches. And we VIC do agree.

With a current emphasis on project implementation in Cambodia, Capax World also has strategic partnerships and projects under development worldwide. Capax World integrates responsible, patient capital into the key developmental areas of education, clean energy, agriculture, healthcare, and water/sanitation in order to meet locally-identified needs, to enable the world’s poor to expand and utilize their skills, talents and drive to provide for their families and improve their communities.

“Children and Women Development Center in Cambodia” enhances people’s capacity and right to obtain sufficient food security, improves gender equality, education and health, focusing particularly on women, children and vulnerable families such as the poor, handicap and PLHA, Furthermore, to support community’s rights to manage their own natural resources. These will be done through collaboration between local government experts and NGOs.

Work as a teacher

Our volunteers teach conversational English courses designed to create an informal learning environment, with small groups (approximately 14 students per class) and fun, relevant topics. Although students often ask for advice on correct usage of grammar, it is not the primary focus of our courses. We do not focus on grammar, reading or writing, but rather on putting English to work in real life contexts through role-play, activities and discussion.

CWF school is open Monday to Friday, 6.30am to 8.00pm. You will teach up :

  • To 4.5 hours per day from Monday to Friday
  • Busiest periods in the early morning and evening

We encourage our volunteers to spend time preparing for their classes so the students get the most benefit from classes.

Depending on student demand and the number of volunteers we have in a given semester, we sometimes offer one-to-one conversation classes. Our one-to-one students pay more, but benefit from their teacher’s undivided attention during their class.

Our students often study at high school, or work and study at university 6 days per week, and have various family commitments on top of their CWF classes, so our schedule reflects the best times for our students to study English.

Our volunteers teach up to 4.5 hours per day, with a reserved class for back up and new student testing at the end of the semester. Our Academic Coordinator assigns your classes, and you will most likely teach from 6:30am to 8:00am, then have a break during the day before teaching two hours between 3:30pm and 8:00pm.

Should a volunteer fall ill or be otherwise unable to teach their class on a particular day, each volunteer is assigned a back up hour, and is asked to cover that class.

If we have a high number of volunteers, teaching hours may be reduced, but the back up hours increased. For example, if we have enough volunteers to schedule only 3 hours teaching per day, then everyone will be scheduled 2 back up hours.

Course Curriculum

CWF’s teaching approach is designed to address the challenge of teaching English in a development context. We aim to make English a real –life communication tool and our students confident users of English. In the context of regional integration, where English is the sole language of ASEAN, and set to become the region’s language of the workplace by 2015, this is vital.CWF’s curriculum draws on our student’s desire to share their traditions and uphold their cultural identity. So the course reflects the realities of Cambodian life by incorporating Khmer food, celebrities, travel destinations and ceremonies.

We teach only conversational English in a fun and informal setting. This results in a cross-cultural dialogue between our students and their teachers, who come from across the world. This is effective not only in motivating students to speak and practice English, but also to promote a balanced exchange of ideas. Students are empowered to express their pride in Cambodia.

“Responsible Volunteering”


There is currently a lively debate about the voluntary sector about the actual impact volunteers make on the communities and people they aim to help. The term Voluntourism has come to define the growing number of volunteer projects which have little value to beneficiaries. Instead these projects provide little other than warm fuzzy feelings and photo opportunities for the volunteer, and possibly lasting negative effects on children and communities. These projects are often short term, and cost the volunteer significant amount of money – far more than the actual cost of running such projects.

CWF’s Volunteer in Cambodia program was established to have a positive impact for everyone involved. The passion and hard work of our volunteers allows us to provide a valuable service to students at an affordable price, but our impact reaches beyond the CWF program:

 Benefits to students

  • Increased vocabulary
  • Improved pronunciation
  • Increased confidence when speaking English
  • Increased job opportunities
  • Greater understanding of other cultures
  • Exposure to an international world view

 Benefits to Cambodia

  • Increased understanding of modern Cambodia and Khmer culture
  • Positive impact on the local economy
  • Give a hand to NGOs
  • The students pays to improve their country
  • Food security
  • Income generation (from overproduction food security)
  • Improve communities’ health
  • Sanitation
  • Energy (solar)
  • Environment (conservation, eco-tourism)

 Benefits to Partners

  • Regular, sustainable funding that can be used to improve capacity.
  • Increased awareness of their work
  • Increased awareness of development issues in Cambodia

 Benefits to CWF Staff

  • Running a social business provides employment for 16 local staff.
  • Capacity development and training opportunities
  • CWF provides numerous other staff benefits such as:

50% scholarships for university Bachelor or Master’s degrees;
Free English lessons at CWF for themselves and another member of their family
A managed Providence Fund to support staff financial security
Accident and medical insurance

 Benefits to Volunteers

  • Practical teaching experience
  • Immersive cultural experience and understanding
  • Free Khmer language lessons
  • Certificate of appreciation and recommendation letter
Testing the Waters & Giving Back

CWF provide a supportive environment for test-driving a career in ESL. Many volunteers used the teaching practice obtained through the CWF program as a springboard into their ESL careers. More than 20 still live in Cambodia – up to 4 years after their semester –  and many past volunteers have gone on to complete TESOL, TEFL, and CELTA certificates, and Bachelors in education.  Many past volunteers are around the globe right now, teaching ESL in South America, Europe, and throughout Asia. The CWF program is ideal for getting out into the world and making a difference while still reaping rewards of learning and personal development.

 Practical Skills, Capacity Development & Motivation

As a teacher, you become a role model and leader for your students. Supervision, classroom management, and decision-making skills are all honed through teaching, and these practical skills can transfer to your own life and career. The pursuit of personal growth and self-initiated capacity development indicates to employers your personality, commitment, and desire to understand and make a positive impact on the community. The CWF experience also provides an opportunity for graduates to prove their dependability, flexibility, and capacity for responsibility and maturity.

 Cultural understanding & Networking

An immersive program like CWF’s can expose you to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and opportunity for self-reflection. The challenges of living in a new culture and country and experiences things you wouldn’t normally experience at home. Volunteering, whether at home or abroad, is a great way to network. The CWF program will help you make new friendships and connections with people from all over the world, widen your global perspective and understanding, and provide a valuable insight into the challenges, successes, and failures of international development work.

 We’re proud of the positive impact we’re making,

and we’re continually striving to improve our program for both volunteers and student outcomes. However, there is an increasing number of volunteer programs where the impact is low, or even negative.

If you are considering travel and volunteerism anywhere in the world, be sure to understand the consequences of your impact. Volunteering with the wrong organisation can cause more harm than good.

 Child Protection

Children from poor families in Cambodia are highly vulnerable, often facing daily threats to their health, education, safety and overall development. Every day in Cambodia, children are exposed to abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. These issues are often exacerbated by gender inequity, marginalization of urban and rural poor, and negative attitudes and discrimination towards ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

The justice system in Cambodia is still emerging and illequipped to respond to the needs of children who come
into contact with the law whether as victims, witnesses or offenders. Inadequate judicial and law-enforcement contribute to the problem of violence, exploitation and abuse of both boys and girls in Cambodia.

Every child has the right to be protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. CWF works with The Code, and other local partners, to implement Child Protection policies and procedures in support of a safer future for Cambodian youth.

Questions to ask yourself before volunteering abroad:

1. Would I be allowed to do this at home?

If the answer is no, then why is it OK here?  It’s a simple question, but perhaps the least considered when visiting developing countries. An organisation which allows you to walk in off the street and start interacting with young people or children without background checks and references, turn around and leave.

Imagine the public outcry if vulnerable people in your own country were subject to high risk environment.

2. Is visiting an orphanage a good idea?

If you can walk in to an orphanage and start interacting with children without stringent background checks or a proven learning or support framework, it certainly isn’t not an organisation that takes has the best interests of the child in mind.

The reality is that few of us are properly trained to support traumatised or vulnerable children. Instead, think about helping in a way that is both sustainable and effective, which supports the welfare of at-risk people such as organisations working to provide training and capacity building programs for families and young people, or those which provide access to education, improve food security, and help heal through medical, counselling, and psychological services. Many of these organisations need support to improve their services through fundraising and awareness campaigns, capacity development, and your skills could make a real contribution.

While CWF is strongly opposed to orphanage tourism, we do support organisations who take appropriate steps to ensure volunteers are suitably qualified, checked, and managed with the best interests of the child such as Khemera Cambodia.

For more information, please visit
Children Are Not Tourist Attractions
The Code, Child Protection

3. Where does my money go?

If you are paying a fee to participate in a volunteer program, you should be confident that the money you pay is used effectively for the intended projects. Financial transparency is a critical factor in determining whether you should support or get involved with any organisation. Appropriate registrations with government are also an important part to ensure that appropriate local taxes are paid, and local regulations are adhered to.

4. Am I taking away income from a local person?

If a trained, experienced local can do it, and get an income to support their own family and economy, why should you remove that opportunity? Displacement of local employment opportunities by foreign volunteers building schools or houses is not a positive impact.

If you are going to donate goods, source them from within the country. Donating goods from overseas can harm local markets and income sources. Try to source goods outside of your target beneficiary’s country only if no alternative exists.

CWF offers a unique service to student, an important part of which is exposure to a myriad of cultures, backgrounds, and accents, and a real opportunity for cross cultural exchange.