My Happy Village Cambodia welcomes all volunteers to our project. We hope that our volunteers take away with them a much as they give to us in terms of shared experiences.
We value the time and commitment given by volunteers and unlike some other organizations we do not ask for registration fees or money to work with us. However we do rely on the generosity of sponsors and donors for us to continue and improve our support of the poor and disadvantaged in Prey Chrouk Commune. We invite prospective volunteers, if possible, to undertake some fundraising prior to arrival, no matter how small. We can guarantee that all such monies will go directly to the benefit of the children and villagers.
The Commune consists of several villages in close proximity. Our catchment area for school are the villages of Svaychanto, Planes and Prasat. All families are either subsistence farmers or fishermen. Living standards and life expectations are VERY LOW. Life expectancy middle to late 50’s.
What you need to know as a volunteer
How to get to the Project
We are appoximately 40 Km’s from Siem Reap (West). As the last 7 -8 Km’s are on dirt roads, which are subject to flooding in the wet season, it can be diffcult for access by cars. It is better to use a “Moto” or Tuk Tuk. We have a Tuk Tuk driver from the village who works in Siem Reap and will be pleased to arrange transport. His name is Mr Rith tele no: 012297220. If you cannot contact Mr Rith, speak to Mr Sophach (contact details on the Contact Us page). Tuk Tuk cost are between 18 – 20US$.
Volunteers accommodation in village
We have a traditional Khmer style village house for our volunteers to stay in. It is of wood construction on stilts. It is spacious and equipped for a maximum of 3 volunteers at any one time. We provide a mosquito net, sleeping mat and blankets. We have a small kitchen area with a gas cooker (one ring), plates, bowls, cutlery etc. You may wish to bring your own. We have a water filter for drinking water and water is supplied.
We have no mains electricity but have a battery that powers two lights in the house, we also have a fan. There are no facilities for computer use other than 3G on a local network. The cost of a battery recharge in the village is approx: 1800 riel per charge which lasts between 7 – 10 days according to use.
Under the house we have hammocks for relaxation.
School times are 8am – 11am and 2pm -5pm (6-30pm) Monday to Friday.
Outside of these times you are free to do whatever appeals to you. You may wish to return to Siem Reap for the weekends to meet up with friends, enjoy Pub Street and the nightlife or you may wish to stay in the village; the choice is yours!
Bathroom and washing facilities.
We have constructed a bath house (brick construction) with a squat toilet and shower supplied with water from our pond, which now provides for better personal hygiene and privacy. Before we washed outside by the pond.
We ask for 10$ per week/volunteer to offset our costs and maintanence which includes recharge of the gas bottle for the cooker.
Local Police Registration
During your stay you will be required to register your presence in the Commune with the local police. We will help you do this but you will need to bring with you for the registration your passport, two copies of the passport, a copy of your current visa and one passport photograph.
Cambodia has basically two seasons dry and wet, determined by the monsoons; Cool and dry November – February; hot and dry March – May; Hot and wet June – October. Temperatures across the year range between 24C to 36C +/-. Whilst it rains most days during the rainy season it normally rains heaviest during the afternoons with periods of dry. High humidity is a feature at most times (75%- 90%). Day and night length are fairly constant with nightfall around 6pm and sunrise around 6-00am.
Consequently it is important to aclimatise to the working environment. If you are not used to these temperatures it is better to start slow and build up. Sensible clothing, particularly head covering will avoid any problems of sunstroke, insect bites etc.
Please ensure that you take medical advice before leaving your home country and that you are adequately protected against disease and illness. Particular attention should be paid to protection against malaria, dengue fever, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid together with boosters for tetanus, polio and diphtheria if staying for longer than 1 month seek advice for vaccination against Japanese B encephalitis. There are very limited medical facilities in Cambodia and almost non existent in the countryside. There are some clinics in the Siem Reap but language can be a problem. For serious injuries or illness patients need to be evacuated to hospitals in Bangkok. Therefore we stress that you obtain full medical insurance cover before arrival in Cambodia.
Visas can be obtained at boarder crossings or at the two International airports, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh on arrival.
There are conditions imposed on renewals so that it is important to decide for how long you will be staying in Cambodia. There are two Visas:
- Tourist visa which costs 30$, is valid for 1 month and can only be extended once other than leaving Cambodia and returning. One passport photograph is required.
- Business visa which costs 35$ is valid for 1 month but can be renewed ad infinitum without the need to leave. One passport photograph is required. Each renewal lasts for 1 month. Renewals have to be made in Phnom Penh but there are agencies in Siem Reap that will provide this service for a charge.
Money and cash
The local currency in Cambodia is the Riel.
Most transactions are carried out in US$.
Conversion rate approx: 4000 Riel – 1US$
ATM’s are in most big towns and dispense US$’s. Acceptable cards tend to be Visa and MasterCard. Generally theses cards are accepted by hotels, guesthouses and established businesses. Stalls and markets normally require cash transactions.
It is always useful to keep some Riel for small purchases.
Do not drink tap water. Bottled water is plentiful and inexpensive.
Ice is produced in local factories from treated water and generally is safe to use.
A full range of alcoholic drinks are available but as in any location care should be taken to avoid contamination of drinks by other people. Be aware that some local firewater drinks may be injurious to your health.
Narcotics including marijuana are NOT legal in Cambodia. Beware penalties can be very harsh.
Paedophilia and all forms of sexual abuse are not tolerated and the penalties are severe. If you are aware of any such actions by others there is a dedicated website for reporting such matters – www.childsafe-cambodia.org.
Mines, mortars and bombs
Whilst much has been done in recent years to clear unexploded ordinance accumulated during the various conflicts and the events of the Pol Pot era, there is still a danger, particularly in rural areas. Stay on recognised paths and if necessary seek local advice prior to entering into unknown countryside areas.
Accommodation in the towns
There are many guesthouses and hotels available offering a range of accommodation from as little as 3$ US a night. Most can be found on the world wide web and also in local information booklets.