People & Power

Meeting some volunteers

Three volunteers share their experiences and views on voluntourism at Phnom Penh’s night market.

One evening, the People & Power team meet three volunteers at the night market in central Phnom Penh.

Tabitha, from Denmark, teaches at a school and orphanage called the People’s Improvement Organisation; Ariana volunteers at an orphanage called NACA; and Kay teaches at a school attached to an orphanage called CHA.

Their placements had been organised through a local organisation called Star Kampuchea and they all stay in the same guest house.

Having been in Cambodia for almost a month, they have begun to understand more about the country and volunteering. They all feel that giving up their time to work in a school or orphanage is beneficial – not only because the children can learn better English, but also because they are passing on useful knowledge to the local staff.

After the genocide that occurred under the Khmer Rouge regime, when many educated people in Cambodia were executed, they feel assistance like this will greatly help this poor country as it continues to develop.

However, their time in Cambodia has also opened their eyes to the impact volunteering can have and how orphanage tourism, the practice by which tourists drop in on an orphanage for a day or week, is not assisting the orphans as much as they originally thought.