I'm thinking about going to SE Asia within the next couple of months for about 3 months and while I'm there I'd like to do some form of charity work for about a month or so. I was planning on going to Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Has anyone here done any volunteer work in any of those countries, or anywhere in SE Asia, and if so do you have any advice about doing it?
Since you're already going, I think it's best and cheapest if you arrange it when you are in one of the countries. However, since you have 3 months to see 4 countries, try to do some research now on volunteer organisations, contact details, and try seal some type of agreement beforehand. In terms of demand, I'm sure there's a lot of need in Cambodia and Laos, followed by Vietnam and then Thailand.
Ideally, it would be great if you got a bunch of people giving you replies for potential programs
But until then, do some research:
- Find out some LOCAL organisations you could get in touch with. Do a search on these forums - there have been a few posts for volunteers in this region. Here's some good threads:
http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=56113 (see vegasmike's post here)
- My LP guide for Nepal had a list of local organisations that accept volunteers with websites and details etc. Perhaps go to a book store and see if the Laos/Cambodia/Thailand/Vietnam books have anything similar.
- Do your own google search, although you will get flooded with big multinational organisations (as it's these who have the money and resources to run websites), but you might find something if you look around. Try browse in a specific region/country to get more localised results.
- Just remember, often the places most in need won't have the resources for a website/internet access, so don't give up if you don't find anything before you go. When you get there it could be as easy as seeing an advertisement on a hotel board and asking staff about it, or meeting a fellow backpacker that can hook you up etc.
My last peice of advice is consider doing it longer than a month if possible
I volunteered for a month in Nepal, loved it and it felt like a second, different home, 1 month was long enough for me to just get used to things and settle in, but then soon after I was gone again! But hey, any amount of time is great for the community you wish to get involved in.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 26, 2008, at 8:24 PM by Erik85 ]
would also recommend checking out www.stay-another-day.org which will give you some ideas and contacts
Thanks Erik, theres a lot of good advice there. I was thinking about doing a month volunteer work as a minimum and staying on longer if I felt it was more rewarding than travelling.
We have many projects for volunteers and we are always looking for specialized skills to assist us in our humanitarian work here in Cambodia.
Like to know more go to http://www.madforgood.org/
Feel free to contact me or PM should you like to know more or have any questions.
My wife and I live in rural Siem Reap and we would be happy to help in any way!
I have friends in Phnom Penh that can always use another pair of hands. They help orphans and poor families with housing, food, school, etc. I have a bit about them in my blog. If you are interested, send me a PM.
I'm currently trying to find something in Phnom Penh, but I can't really seem to find much at the minute, any more advice anyone?