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Volunteering in Asia

Volunteering in Asia forum

Volunteering, what to do and where to go?

Posted by linneamattsson on 8/8/2009 at 00:58


This subject is, I'm sure, not a new one. But I'm hoping for some good answers and tips anyway.
Me and my boyfriend are going to Asia soon. We're going to travel for 6 months or so and really want to do some volunteering.
We love children and animals and have good experience working with them. We can do longer stays, if we find the right place. We're both a little over 20 and stabile, warm people.
It's out first time in Cambodia.
And suggestions on where to go and what to do?

Thanks and take care,
Linnéa and Anton (Swedes)

#1 linneamattsson has been a member since 5/6/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by BruceMoon on 8/8/2009 at 05:08

Linnéa and Anton

On Travelfish, in the grey area (up above) there is a box with the words Search Travelfish. If you want to know anything about a specific topic, that's a great place to first start.

There is a long, detailed discussion on this. with heaps of contributions here You'll see that volunteering is not as easy as saying 'I want to...'.

With this in mind, contact Amanda and go from there.

There have also been other 'discussions' with opinions as to where to go / what to do / what to look out for / etc.

Try looking:

at post 1

post 2


post 3

Hope this helps.



#2 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 12/8/2009 at 15:37

Linnéa and Anton (linneamattsson) - Welcome to Travelfish!

I'm afraid I can't help with your question as I have no experience of it myself but I just wanted to welcome you to the board.

I'm sure there are people here that know something about your question so please hang tight.

Also, don't be put off by Brucemoons post, yes the search can be very helpful for finding info quickly but, THIS IS A DISSCUSSION BOARD!!!

Most topics have been covered in one way or another but If everyone stopped posting and just used the search function the FORUM WOULD DIE VERY QUICKLY!

So, I (and I'm sure most) welcome your questions and hope we can help you based on our actual experience. :)


#3 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464

Posted by chrispyrolls on 12/8/2009 at 18:21


Check out the link below for some options:


Actually just reading it and there are quite a few there...

#4 chrispyrolls has been a member since 2/11/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 197

Posted by wanderingcat on 12/8/2009 at 22:57

there's an article linked in this thread from another forum:

although it's directed towards the 'volunteering industry', feel that there are some things highlighted in there that could be useful to anyone intending to volunteer.

my sis is trained as a social work professional & has experience in child protection & also screening of people wanting to adopt kids. her advice would be to seek out organisations that put in effort on doing background checks on both staff & volunteers (incl yourself), especially in Cambodia.

friends & i have been involved in volunteering both in my home country & elsewhere in SE Asia. from our observations, most successful outcomes usually involve volunteers who have technical expertise to contribute/transfer...not just fully qualified professionals like civil engineers, nurses, scientists, & optometrists, but even students of IT, architecture & veterinary science, & people who hold diving qualifications.

#5 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730

Posted by finola55 on 11/9/2009 at 20:17

***CHECK THIS OUT *************

http://www.savechildreninasia.org/index.htm (this is a really informative website)

I am currently working as a volunteer at this orphanage, just 7km from Phnom Penh, teaching English. They REALLY need volunteers. Whatever your skills are bring them along! It has a great atmosphere and has really felt like a second home. It doesn't cost anything....meals and a bed are provided in exchange for your enthusiasm and help! Although donations and sponsorship are greatly received. Give what you can afford.

If you are interested it is best to telephone the orphanage on:


They can't afford the internet just yet so they don't manage to check their emails too often! If you have any questions don't hesitate to message me before you contact the orphanage. It might be easier since Mr Samith's (manager) English is quite basic.

I am coming to the end of my second week and now have an even better idea of the organisation...

Due to increased demand and enthusiasm SCAO now runs 5 English classes a day, with over 130 local people attending, free of charge. Only last week the classroom extension was completed to accommodate the rising numbers.

Their most recent project started just 1 month ago. A Sewing School with 4 machines is open 3 days a week. A sewing teacher is employed to teach locals and SCAO members how to produce clothing from scratch. It is proving to be very successful so far. In the long term this project hopes to both educate and create a sustainable form of revenue for SCAO and for local impoverished people.

Another project in the pipeline is a Motorbike Repair School. Three of the senior SCAO residents are currently working hard on their Internships to become fully qualified Motorbike Mechanics. Again, the plan is to extend this project, free of charge, to the local community, teaching people essential repair skills.

Further to this, SCAO is funding the education of 11 students. They are currently putting students through Public School, High School and University.

If anyone wants further information don't hesitate to ask me!

#6 finola55 has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by Deadpoets on 12/9/2009 at 13:14


That is awesome! I'll be in Siem Reap for three weeks volunteering for an orphanage as well. I did quite a bit of research before I was able to find one. Indeed, it is commendable for what you and your boyfriend are trying to do. We need more individuals like you in this world. Best of Luck!


#7 Deadpoets has been a member since 31/8/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by tadams on 16/9/2009 at 14:39

Hey finola55,

My boyfriend and I will be traveling to Cambodia in the next month or so and are interested in volunteering at the orphanage. What would you say is the minimum amount of days that they accept volunteers for? What kind of things will we be expected to do? We don't have any experience teaching english (..yet :P) but would like to help out where we can.

Thanks for the lead,

#8 tadams has been a member since 4/2/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by idreamofdurian on 16/9/2009 at 21:08 TF writer

If you want to work with animals, there's an animal rescue program in Ko Lanta, Thailand: http://lantaanimalwelfare.com/

You can do some volunteer work and enjoy the beach.

#9 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576

Posted by kaede on 22/9/2009 at 04:16

My fiance and I will be arriving in SEA in June 2010- open ended trip. Would love to learn more about your volunteering opportunities and maybe a mailing address I can write for additional information.

Keep on rockin!


#10 kaede has been a member since 19/9/2009. Posts: 17

Posted by finola55 on 22/9/2009 at 13:49

Hey T and Kaede,

Really glad to hear you are interested in volunteering. There is no maximum or minimum stay expected of you. Mr Samith is grateful for any help. Initially we planned on staying for 3 days but we settled in so well that we decided to stay for 1 week which then turned into 2! They were flexible which really suited us.

We had very little previous teaching experience. Whilst we were there we taught a class of 12/15 kids from 8-10am together. Later in the day we supported other classes that were taught by the older Cambodian students. You can chose to lead a class, like we did, or you can support and build up to teaching. The Cambodian teachers can also learn a lot from seeing how you teach since there methods tend to be very traditional and geared towards wrote learning and dictation.

In addition to the teaching, we also helped to fund raise and recruit other volunteers from nearby Phnom Phenh. We went into town a couple of times to do leaflet drops in guest houses and to sell SCAO t-shirts. This was really important because SCAO need to have a constant stream of volunteers in order to grow and develop.

They are really encouraging of any way you can help and were constantly asking for suggested improvements and new ideas.

If you do fancy spending some time there the best thing to do would be to phone the day before your intended visit to check there is a bed free. Or you could turn up for the day to help (without luggage) see if you like it and see if there is room at the inn. Although I highly doubt they would turn help away a bed would be found. If all else fails commuting from Phnom Phenh guest house everyday would only take 30mins of your time and a couple of dollars.

They really are very laid back and the impetus is on you, the volunteer, as to the commitment you can bring. If you need some time off you can take it. Its quite common for volunteers to fit in their work around tourism.

Hope that has answered your questions. Feel free to ask anything else. Good luck with your volunteering!

#11 finola55 has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by finola55 on 22/9/2009 at 13:51

Another thing...

look at the website... it has loads of up to date information!


#12 finola55 has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by lennybruce on 29/9/2009 at 23:32

Check out a new NGO in Siem Reap which is acting as a clearing house for many NGOs in order to organize disperse info and resources (including volunteering) in one place: http://www.concertcambodia.org/about_concert.aspx

#13 lennybruce has been a member since 6/7/2008. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 38

Posted by JoM85 on 12/12/2013 at 04:59

If you are looking to volunteering with animals in Thailand then check out Soi Dog Foundation.

They run a street dog shelter in Phuket and I volunteered with them when I was staying there.

The staff and volunteer managers are friendly and helpfull.

You can stay near by for a cheap as $20 / night and Soi Dog offer free pick up and drop off if you are staying in the area.

Food each day is around $2.

A typical day consists of walking, grooming, socialising, cuddling and giving attention to the dogs.

It is a great way to give back and enjoyable to animal lovers.

check it out - www.soidog.org


#14 JoM85 has been a member since 13/11/2013. Posts: 7

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