Are You Ready to Make a Difference?
Impact Volunteers makes volunteering in Cambodia safe, responsible and meaningful. We have years of experience in the volunteering sector and have designed trips that create valuable and beneficial exchanges between people, country and culture. We work hard so you can maximize your time and impact in Cambodia and leave with a renewed sense of purpose.
Below you will find some of our current options. Please take a moment to view the projects and learn more about our organization, our partners, and what you can do in Cambodia!
Why Impact Volunteers?
• We work with trustworthy non-profits who utilize volunteers effectively and make a scalable difference in Cambodia.
• We are small and flexible.
• We get to know you, consider your skills, and then plan a unique trip for you.
• We are not middle men and we take no commission from your trip cost.
• We work with locals and are run by a dedicated Cambodian staff with a direct connection to the greater community.

Teach English to monks $337
Work at Pram Neak Pagoda in Siem Reap teaching intermediate English classes to both monks and local students.
BOOK HERE »
Teach computer classes $599
Help local students learn to navigate the internet and improve their word processing capabilities at a school in Siem Reap.
BOOK HERE »
Provide Clean Water $459
Work in the countryside building wells, distributing filters, and conducting clean water trainings for local residents.
BOOK HERE »
Protect Endangered Wildlife $337
Assist local staff with educational workshops and daily animal care-taking at a wildlife conservatory in Siem Reap.
BOOK HERE »
John
Volunteered in 2013
"If you are interested in a truly meaningful volunteering experience I recommend you look into opportunities offered by Impact Volunteer in Cambodia and Bridge of Life School in particular. This is an opportunity to do really important work that empowers local community members and employs local staff. They understand the problems facing Cambodia and know how to solve them but need our help. The beauty and astrounding perseverance of these people and their country constantly make my eyes well up with tears."


"I had an amazing time and enjoyed my time in Cambodia"

Ben (Volunteer)


READ MORE »
[soliloquy id=”253″]

About Cambodia

 

Located in South East Asia, Cambodia is a small country currently home to over 14.5 million people. It shares borders with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. The Mekong River runs through the country and dominates much of the landscape. The Tonle Sap Lake is another large body of water that stems from the Mekong and supports many communities. Cambodia is a very agrarian society and despites its small size is actually largest exporter of rice in the world. As a result most of the country’s land is rice fields that are green in the rainy season but turn a dull brown in the dry season.

The capital and largest city in Cambodia is Phnom Penh that serves as the country’s economic hub. Battambang is the second largest city and is known for its rice and pineapples. Siem Reap is a relatively small city but is well known internationally, as it is the home of Angkor Wat and other ancient temples.

 

[soliloquy id=”700″]

Early History and The Angkorian Dynasty

Archeological evidence suggests present day Cambodia was first populated around 5000 BCE. It is believed immigrants came from South Eastern China and created small, farming based communities. Descendants of the first migrants would become the Khmer people and there economic way of life was similar to many Cambodians today (rice, fishing, and domestic animal based). Cambodia rose to prominence from the 9th-13th century during what was known as the Khmer Empire.

Famous Kings like Jayavarman II and VII vastly expanded the empire through successful military conquest; developed complicated city structures with advanced irrigation systems allowing massive rice production; and created efficient roads dotted by both rest homes and medical stations (some of these roads are still traveled on today). The kings were most famous for their construction of the temples at Angkor that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visited by millions of tourists annually.

 

Modern History

Following the death of Jayavarman VII Cambodia experienced a period of decline. They lost several wars and would soon be conquered by the Thais and Vietnamese. Their impressive irrigation systems deteriorated leading to lower agricultural output, famishing entire communities. The monarchy was forced to flee far south and essentially separated itself from its kingdom.

In 1863 Cambodia’s king signed a treaty with the French making it an autonomous, protected colony. Borders were established that separated it from both Thailand and Vietnam and peace entered the kingdom. The French restructured the country, removing the King from political power and drastically changed the system of government. While many were upset to be under colonial rule the French did bring some benefits including an improved education system, higher quality healthcare, and unique architecture that is still visible today. Cambodia would gain independence from France in 1953 under King Norodom Sihanouk. He ruled for many years but was ousted in 1970 through a military coup. What followed was a period of tumult and tragedy.

[soliloquy id=”1156″]

The Khmer Rouge

In 1970 the Prime Minister, Lon Nol, seized control while the King was abroad. Many allege the United States’ CIA was behind the coup and they would later train and supply Lon Nol’s troops. Meanwhile an insurgency was developing inside Cambodia backed by China and the North Vietnamese. They would come to be known as the Khmer Rouge. Their soldiers launched skirmishes against Lon Nol’s troops and slowly seized Cambodian territory. King Sihanouk, exiled abroad, supported the Khmer Rouge and his radio broadcasts made military troops quickly switch allegiances.

In 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered the capital city of Phnom Penh and took power, sending Cambodian city-dwellers into the countryside to work in the fields. Under the leadership of Pol Pot there was a violent purging and restructuring of the country into an agrarian, communal society. During his three year, eight month, and twenty day reign, somewhere between one and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed. Critical infrastructure like schools and hospital were destroyed. Religion was banned and monks were defrocked and killed. To make matters worse, the United States had already launched a massive carpet-bombing campaign along Cambodia’s border to disrupt arms trafficking by the North Vietnamese. The bombs decimated the border and millions died while peacefully farming their land.

 

The Aftermath

On January 10, 1979 the Vietnamese army invaded and liberated Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge was forced to move to the border. For the next ten years the country was in constant civil war. While Khmers were able to return the city and their previous livelihoods, thousands would be killed during battles or by leftover landmines and unexploded bombs. Despite the strife the country and people moved on; schools were reopened, pagodas repopulated, and life continued like normal.

Peace efforts would begin in 1989 and two years later a cease-fire and peace agreement was signed between multiple parties. A treaty created at the Paris Conference gave the United Nations the right to take control of the country and organize a democratic election. 22,000 international civilian and police forces would enter the country and in 1993 an election was held. Prince Ranariddh won and took power and Sihanouk would again become King. Tensions remained however and a coup occurred in 1997 promoting the Cambodian People’s Party from opposition to ruling party. Since then there has been relative peace in Cambodia and no major bloodshed has occurred since 1999.

[soliloquy id=”711″]

How are things in Cambodia now?

While vastly better than previous decades Cambodia is still in a difficult position. Most of the country is still underdeveloped and the economy is dominated by agriculture, with a majority of residents (over 70%) living in the countryside and earning income through farming, coal making, or logging. The country also relies heavily on tourism, with nearly two million tourists visiting the Angkor Wat annually. Many others visit the capital, Phnom Penh, as well as the costal communities in Kampong Saom province generating much needed employment and revenue in the cities.

Although things are improving the majority of Cambodians remain subsistence farmers or work for low wages in food processing and forestry. According to UNICFEF, 40% of the population lives on about $1.25 or less per day. In rural areas, some have no potable water, electricity, or permanent jobs, and many have little food. Another study by UNICEF noted that 31% still lack access to improved clean water sources. Still there is a pervasive hope and life is improving everyday, making most young Khmers optimistic about the future.

 

[soliloquy id=”253″]

About Cambodia

 

Located in South East Asia, Cambodia is a small country currently home to over 14.5 million people. It shares borders with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. The Mekong River runs through the country and dominates much of the landscape. The Tonle Sap Lake is another large body of water that stems from the Mekong and supports many communities. Cambodia is a very agrarian society and despites its small size is actually largest exporter of rice in the world. As a result most of the country’s land is rice fields that are green in the rainy season but turn a dull brown in the dry season.

The capital and largest city in Cambodia is Phnom Penh that serves as the country’s economic hub. Battambang is the second largest city and is known for its rice and pineapples. Siem Reap is a relatively small city but is well known internationally, as it is the home of Angkor Wat and other ancient temples.

 

[soliloquy id=”700″]

Early History and The Angkorian Dynasty

Archeological evidence suggests present day Cambodia was first populated around 5000 BCE. It is believed immigrants came from South Eastern China and created small, farming based communities. Descendants of the first migrants would become the Khmer people and there economic way of life was similar to many Cambodians today (rice, fishing, and domestic animal based). Cambodia rose to prominence from the 9th-13th century during what was known as the Khmer Empire.

Famous Kings like Jayavarman II and VII vastly expanded the empire through successful military conquest; developed complicated city structures with advanced irrigation systems allowing massive rice production; and created efficient roads dotted by both rest homes and medical stations (some of these roads are still traveled on today). The kings were most famous for their construction of the temples at Angkor that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visited by millions of tourists annually.

 

Modern History

Following the death of Jayavarman VII Cambodia experienced a period of decline. They lost several wars and would soon be conquered by the Thais and Vietnamese. Their impressive irrigation systems deteriorated leading to lower agricultural output, famishing entire communities. The monarchy was forced to flee far south and essentially separated itself from its kingdom.

In 1863 Cambodia’s king signed a treaty with the French making it an autonomous, protected colony. Borders were established that separated it from both Thailand and Vietnam and peace entered the kingdom. The French restructured the country, removing the King from political power and drastically changed the system of government. While many were upset to be under colonial rule the French did bring some benefits including an improved education system, higher quality healthcare, and unique architecture that is still visible today. Cambodia would gain independence from France in 1953 under King Norodom Sihanouk. He ruled for many years but was ousted in 1970 through a military coup. What followed was a period of tumult and tragedy.

[soliloquy id=”1156″]

The Khmer Rouge

In 1970 the Prime Minister, Lon Nol, seized control while the King was abroad. Many allege the United States’ CIA was behind the coup and they would later train and supply Lon Nol’s troops. Meanwhile an insurgency was developing inside Cambodia backed by China and the North Vietnamese. They would come to be known as the Khmer Rouge. Their soldiers launched skirmishes against Lon Nol’s troops and slowly seized Cambodian territory. King Sihanouk, exiled abroad, supported the Khmer Rouge and his radio broadcasts made military troops quickly switch allegiances.

In 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered the capital city of Phnom Penh and took power, sending Cambodian city-dwellers into the countryside to work in the fields. Under the leadership of Pol Pot there was a violent purging and restructuring of the country into an agrarian, communal society. During his three year, eight month, and twenty day reign, somewhere between one and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed. Critical infrastructure like schools and hospital were destroyed. Religion was banned and monks were defrocked and killed. To make matters worse, the United States had already launched a massive carpet-bombing campaign along Cambodia’s border to disrupt arms trafficking by the North Vietnamese. The bombs decimated the border and millions died while peacefully farming their land.

 

The Aftermath

On January 10, 1979 the Vietnamese army invaded and liberated Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge was forced to move to the border. For the next ten years the country was in constant civil war. While Khmers were able to return the city and their previous livelihoods, thousands would be killed during battles or by leftover landmines and unexploded bombs. Despite the strife the country and people moved on; schools were reopened, pagodas repopulated, and life continued like normal.

Peace efforts would begin in 1989 and two years later a cease-fire and peace agreement was signed between multiple parties. A treaty created at the Paris Conference gave the United Nations the right to take control of the country and organize a democratic election. 22,000 international civilian and police forces would enter the country and in 1993 an election was held. Prince Ranariddh won and took power and Sihanouk would again become King. Tensions remained however and a coup occurred in 1997 promoting the Cambodian People’s Party from opposition to ruling party. Since then there has been relative peace in Cambodia and no major bloodshed has occurred since 1999.

[soliloquy id=”711″]

How are things in Cambodia now?

While vastly better than previous decades Cambodia is still in a difficult position. Most of the country is still underdeveloped and the economy is dominated by agriculture, with a majority of residents (over 70%) living in the countryside and earning income through farming, coal making, or logging. The country also relies heavily on tourism, with nearly two million tourists visiting the Angkor Wat annually. Many others visit the capital, Phnom Penh, as well as the costal communities in Kampong Saom province generating much needed employment and revenue in the cities.

Although things are improving the majority of Cambodians remain subsistence farmers or work for low wages in food processing and forestry. According to UNICFEF, 40% of the population lives on about $1.25 or less per day. In rural areas, some have no potable water, electricity, or permanent jobs, and many have little food. Another study by UNICEF noted that 31% still lack access to improved clean water sources. Still there is a pervasive hope and life is improving everyday, making most young Khmers optimistic about the future.

 

[soliloquy id=”253″]

About Cambodia

 

Located in South East Asia, Cambodia is a small country currently home to over 14.5 million people. It shares borders with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. The Mekong River runs through the country and dominates much of the landscape. The Tonle Sap Lake is another large body of water that stems from the Mekong and supports many communities. Cambodia is a very agrarian society and despites its small size is actually largest exporter of rice in the world. As a result most of the country’s land is rice fields that are green in the rainy season but turn a dull brown in the dry season.

The capital and largest city in Cambodia is Phnom Penh that serves as the country’s economic hub. Battambang is the second largest city and is known for its rice and pineapples. Siem Reap is a relatively small city but is well known internationally, as it is the home of Angkor Wat and other ancient temples.

 

[soliloquy id=”700″]

Early History and The Angkorian Dynasty

Archeological evidence suggests present day Cambodia was first populated around 5000 BCE. It is believed immigrants came from South Eastern China and created small, farming based communities. Descendants of the first migrants would become the Khmer people and there economic way of life was similar to many Cambodians today (rice, fishing, and domestic animal based). Cambodia rose to prominence from the 9th-13th century during what was known as the Khmer Empire.

Famous Kings like Jayavarman II and VII vastly expanded the empire through successful military conquest; developed complicated city structures with advanced irrigation systems allowing massive rice production; and created efficient roads dotted by both rest homes and medical stations (some of these roads are still traveled on today). The kings were most famous for their construction of the temples at Angkor that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visited by millions of tourists annually.

 

Modern History

Following the death of Jayavarman VII Cambodia experienced a period of decline. They lost several wars and would soon be conquered by the Thais and Vietnamese. Their impressive irrigation systems deteriorated leading to lower agricultural output, famishing entire communities. The monarchy was forced to flee far south and essentially separated itself from its kingdom.

In 1863 Cambodia’s king signed a treaty with the French making it an autonomous, protected colony. Borders were established that separated it from both Thailand and Vietnam and peace entered the kingdom. The French restructured the country, removing the King from political power and drastically changed the system of government. While many were upset to be under colonial rule the French did bring some benefits including an improved education system, higher quality healthcare, and unique architecture that is still visible today. Cambodia would gain independence from France in 1953 under King Norodom Sihanouk. He ruled for many years but was ousted in 1970 through a military coup. What followed was a period of tumult and tragedy.

[soliloquy id=”1156″]

The Khmer Rouge

In 1970 the Prime Minister, Lon Nol, seized control while the King was abroad. Many allege the United States’ CIA was behind the coup and they would later train and supply Lon Nol’s troops. Meanwhile an insurgency was developing inside Cambodia backed by China and the North Vietnamese. They would come to be known as the Khmer Rouge. Their soldiers launched skirmishes against Lon Nol’s troops and slowly seized Cambodian territory. King Sihanouk, exiled abroad, supported the Khmer Rouge and his radio broadcasts made military troops quickly switch allegiances.

In 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered the capital city of Phnom Penh and took power, sending Cambodian city-dwellers into the countryside to work in the fields. Under the leadership of Pol Pot there was a violent purging and restructuring of the country into an agrarian, communal society. During his three year, eight month, and twenty day reign, somewhere between one and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed. Critical infrastructure like schools and hospital were destroyed. Religion was banned and monks were defrocked and killed. To make matters worse, the United States had already launched a massive carpet-bombing campaign along Cambodia’s border to disrupt arms trafficking by the North Vietnamese. The bombs decimated the border and millions died while peacefully farming their land.

 

The Aftermath

On January 10, 1979 the Vietnamese army invaded and liberated Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge was forced to move to the border. For the next ten years the country was in constant civil war. While Khmers were able to return the city and their previous livelihoods, thousands would be killed during battles or by leftover landmines and unexploded bombs. Despite the strife the country and people moved on; schools were reopened, pagodas repopulated, and life continued like normal.

Peace efforts would begin in 1989 and two years later a cease-fire and peace agreement was signed between multiple parties. A treaty created at the Paris Conference gave the United Nations the right to take control of the country and organize a democratic election. 22,000 international civilian and police forces would enter the country and in 1993 an election was held. Prince Ranariddh won and took power and Sihanouk would again become King. Tensions remained however and a coup occurred in 1997 promoting the Cambodian People’s Party from opposition to ruling party. Since then there has been relative peace in Cambodia and no major bloodshed has occurred since 1999.

[soliloquy id=”711″]

How are things in Cambodia now?

While vastly better than previous decades Cambodia is still in a difficult position. Most of the country is still underdeveloped and the economy is dominated by agriculture, with a majority of residents (over 70%) living in the countryside and earning income through farming, coal making, or logging. The country also relies heavily on tourism, with nearly two million tourists visiting the Angkor Wat annually. Many others visit the capital, Phnom Penh, as well as the costal communities in Kampong Saom province generating much needed employment and revenue in the cities.

Although things are improving the majority of Cambodians remain subsistence farmers or work for low wages in food processing and forestry. According to UNICFEF, 40% of the population lives on about $1.25 or less per day. In rural areas, some have no potable water, electricity, or permanent jobs, and many have little food. Another study by UNICEF noted that 31% still lack access to improved clean water sources. Still there is a pervasive hope and life is improving everyday, making most young Khmers optimistic about the future.

 

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