Volunteer needs and guidelines for Safe Haven Medical Outreach in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Skilled Volunteers Needed

Social Workers who have experience working with families and children of all ages.
All professionals are welcome.
Male social workers are encouraged to apply.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists
Pediatric Speech Therapists
Pediatric Physical Therapists
Pediatric Nurses with Palliative Care experience
Early Interventionists/Special Educators, particularly those with expertise regarding
autism and early intervention for children with hearing and vision impairments

View the Cost Estimate of Volunteering in Cambodia

Volunteer Requirements

  • Volunteers should have at least 3-5 years of experience in their field.
  • It is preferable if volunteers have some experience working in home-based services.
  • It is preferable if volunteers have some experience traveling or working in developing countries. (This cuts down on the adjustment and culture shock, which can take up a lot of mental energy in the early days in the country.)
  • Volunteers must provide their resume, police or child abuse registry checks, two professional references, a copy of their professional license or qualifications, and sign the Safe Haven Child Protection Policy.
  • Volunteers need to be comfortable riding on the back of staff motorbikes to go to home visits, or be willing to pay for tuktuk transportation.

Minimum Commitment

  • Two full weeks would be the absolute minimum, though longer periods are preferable.
  • Safe Haven will provide reading and orientation materials for volunteers to familiarize themselves with before arriving.
  • Volunteers would be responsible for their own expenses (transportation, lodging, food, and travel health insurance) though Safe Haven is happy to provide advice and recommendations. Safe Haven will also provide information and assistance prior to arrival concerning visas, airport pick-up, etc.

Working Days and Hours

  • Safe Haven works Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm with a 90 minute break in the mid-day. This leaves plenty of time for sight-seeing and relaxation in and around Siem Reap.
  • There are many Public Holidays in Cambodia and it is best to avoid these. When contacting Safe Haven about potential volunteer opportunities, be prepared to discuss possible dates of availability.
  • Mornings are usually spent visiting children and families in their homes, while afternoons are often spent working with children and families who come to our office rehab space.

Who are the children served by Safe Haven?

  • Children are age 0-18 years old, with a variety of disabilities or medical conditions.
  • Cerebral palsy and global developmental delays are most common
  • We also serve children with a variety of other conditions, some rarely seen in the developed world

Why are volunteers useful to Safe Haven?

  • Training for some specialties simply doesn’t exist in Cambodia (such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, early intervention/special education) but those disciplines are certainly needed.
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities for those who can get trained in Cambodia (physiotherapist, social worker, nurse) are limited and usually depend on the availability of foreign-trained professionals
  • Building the capacity and skills of our staff leaves a lasting impact – when our staff learn new concepts and skills, children will benefit long after volunteers have gone home.

The Best Use of Volunteers’ Time

  • Training our staff is what makes a sustainable difference!
    • Providing hands-on teaching/training to our staff in the course of home visits or sessions in the office rehab space
    • Providing mini-trainings in the office to staff about relevant topics – these could be 2- or 3-hour presentations with an opportunity for staff to learn specific skills or concepts. Topics could be identified before arrival in Cambodia or might be identified in the course of time spent in Cambodia.

Volunteering with Safe Haven provides an unusually intimate experience of Cambodia, working with some of the country’s most vulnerable and under-served children and families. Working in a resource-limited environment is a valuable exercise in using one’s core professional skills in a new and challenging context. Being part of our team, even for a short time, is an opportunity to experience what it means to make a difference.

We are ready and waiting for you – ready to learn new skills, practice new techniques, explore new ideas regarding treatment and intervention.

Potential volunteers should contact Jess Whitney, Country Director at jess@safehavenkhmer.org