Reach Out Volunteers

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PLEASE NOTE: The activities listed in my review could be subject to change. They are included just to give you an understanding of what you could be doing. Thanks!

I volunteered with Reach out Volunteers in Cambodia during December 2017. I did the program Essential Cambodia and Elephants which is a two week program based out of Siem Reap, Cambodia. During this time you volunteer in a local village (I did Chonlorng Village which is on the outskirts of Siem Reap) in my first week. During the second week we volunteered at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary helping to care for elephants and other animals there.

The first thing I would say about my experience is that it was incredible and I had the best time. It was my first volunteer abroad trip and I must say I am incredibly pleased with the experience and I really feel like you are contributing positively to the local community. I went to Cambodia for the elephants but I came away with a deep appreciation for Cambodia, the people, the culture and a deep respect for the country that I didn't previously have before.

The first week: Volunteering in Chonlorng Village

During my first week we volunteered at a local school started by ROV in January 2017. At that time they had 50 students and now in January 2018 they have 215 kids and counting. All of the classrooms and school facilities have been built by local villagers and ROV volunteers. One aspect I really enjoyed was the fact that on the construction projects the main people in charge are the local villagers helping to provide employment for them. As a volunteer your main job is to assist them.

During my time we started the construction of a jungle gym for the kids. Our week included mixing concrete, chiseling, sanding, nailing the gym together, digging holes and just general construction. Also during our time we were given the opportunity to help teach the kids. At the school they primarily teach English to the children. In Cambodia to have a good financial future it is essential you can speak English. I discovered a new found love for helping teach kids that didn't previously exist. These kids are some of the most studious, thoughtful and engaging kids I have ever met.

The local teachers in charge are local villagers and you are their assistant although they do leave you to teach the kids by yourself or with another volunteer. One thing I really liked is that your program fee pays the local teachers, buys the building materials, pays local villagers to cook you and other volunteers lunch.

At the end of the week you say goodbye and can choose to make a donation to the school (school supplies are mainly what they require and schoolbooks). It is also easy enough to buy school supplies in Siem Reap so if you don't have anything prior to going, don't stress I was in the same boat.

One thing to know with ROV is that construction is a large part of any program in Cambodia. If teaching is more up your alley I would recommend picking the four week teaching course with them. There was a girl in our group who did that and she absolutely loved it.

The Second Week: Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

We spent our second week (monday-friday) at the sanctuary where we helped dig elephant holes, clean enclosures, garden, help with building the local dams, getting food for the elephants from the forest, preparing the food for elephants, visiting the monkey sanctuary, free rein with the rescued dogs and the two big highlights of feeding the elephants and going on a forest walk with them!

While your interaction with elephants is limited I think it was actually really good because it meant that these elephants really could focus on what's important- relearning wild behaviors after the horror's they have been through. I would also really recommend the staff at the sanctuary they were phenomenal and really helped make the experience incredible.


-The in country support and my team leader were sensational and I couldn't have asked for better. My team leader was the best, he was on hand to provide support when required but wasn't overbearing. Best of all he was constantly upbeat and caring.
-They are a non profit
-Meals three times a day even on weekends with a $5 limit. In Cambodia that limit is generous and you can get amazing meals from $1.50 US, it just depends on what you choose to eat, western food is significantly more expensive.
-Airport transfer to and from and all accommodation included in really nice places.
-Good, friendly communication with the main office prior to your program beginning should you have any questions.
-There are some really awesome add ons
-You get the chance to go to Angkor Wat, the Cambodian Circus and a couple of other things all included in your program fee prior to going which is awesome.
-A lot of local people are employed by ROV through being the main people in charge, the local Tuk Tuk drivers that we use everyday, the teachers at the school, team leaders who are local Cambodians, the people who cook you food. It really is reaching out and not just helping the young children at school.
-You have a decent amount of free time in the evenings to browse the markets, go out in the nights and experience the nightlife etc. The markets in Siem Reap are also really interesting and a must do!
-You can add on other programs as well easily which is great.

I'm sure I probably missed a couple of things but these are the main things I could think of!

-Compared to a lot of other programs with other organizations they are quite expensive.
-The communication about your team leader could be a little better prior to the program beginning (I am unsure perhaps if because I changed my date, I may have missed something).

Absolutely I would recommend ROV despite their price and I look forward to volunteering with them further. I hope in the future they add even more programs because that would be sensational! Volunteer with ROV you won't regret it!

Posted: January 16, 2018
By: MoniqueNZ