Volunteer Service

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Volunteer Service May Include:
Youth Development and Empowerment
This organization works with young adults (18+) from underserved rural / remote parts of Siem Reap province. They offer a scholarship program which enables young people to access educational / training opportunities in Siem Reap city, as well as vital soft skills trainings that increase both employment prospects and encourage personal development. A cornerstone of their work is their 'dream management' classes, in which they work with rural youth to help them identify their own strengths, opportunities, and goals. This NGO was originally founded by an American but localized in 2015, and now has entirely Khmer leadership.


Environmental Education
This opportunity is with a Siem Reap based environmental education and awareness raising initiative. Their aim is to address Cambodia's very serious problem with rapid environmental degradation by working primarily with the young generation to improve knowledge of and attitudes towards wildlife and environmental conservation. They are a relatively young and unique organization, and are currently raising money to build an environmental education center where young Cambodians can come to learn about their role in protecting the natural world. The heart of this organization is very much in protecting and preserving Cambodia's natural treasures.
Education and Social Services for Rural Populaitons
This organization was founded in 2005 by a Cambodian woman passionate about providing access to education for young people in northern Cambodia. Recognizing that access to education in inextricably linked to a number of other social issues, the NGO adopts a holistic approach in ensuring that children and young people in rural communities are able to reach their potential. This includes projects that address education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and infrastructure.

Ethical Service in Cambodia

As an IPSL service-learning participant in Siem Reap, Cambodia, you will have the opportunity to perform volunteer service in one of several local partner organizations/agencies. IPSL does its best to match your skills and interests to the placement, but please remember that the notion of service is, first and foremost, to respond to the needs of others. You will play a role not only by actively participating with a determined role among the team members, but also by supporting the projects and programs with your knowledge, experience, humility and hard work. In turn, your efforts assist organizations in achieving their goals in a sustainable, ethical way. 

Service-Learning™ versus Internship/Practicum

IPSL service-learning placements are determined, in part, by student interests and skills (and, in some cases, language abilities), but primarily by community and organizational needs. Central to the philosophy of service-learning is the notion of service. Service-learning is not the same as an internship or practicum although it may look very similar. The service in service-learning may or may not be career-related. An internship is designed mostly so that the student will benefit by learning about his or her future profession. In contrast, in service-learning, the outcome of the student's work - that is, the service – is as important as the student’s learning. There are — or should be - identifiable benefits to those served. This reciprocity is a key component in international service-learning.

IPSL Service Placements


IPSL's service-learning placements are in development organizations that have sprung up from the grassroots, where local communities have identified a need, and where the change effort is owned by them. Occasionally, these organizations can benefit from  additional assistance of all kinds from the outside. So, IPSL participants should remember that they are stepping into a moving stream of initiatives and efforts that began long ago, and that will continue after the participant departs. Your work is important, but your individual contributions may not be visible for many years. Change takes time. In the meantime, you are fulfilling a small but valuable need contributing to development efforts in Cambodia..


A single organization may need hands-on assistance from IPSL participants (direct service) or assistance in the background building capacity (indirect service. Either way, both direct and indirect service are needed to accomplish the goals. Each is valuable. In actuality, because nearly all non-profits experience resource scarcity, IPSL participants often do a little bit of everything. And this is as it should be. Nothing says I'm a partner in your community more than a willingness on the part of a service-learning participant not only to do higher tasks, but also occasionally to pick up a broom and sweep the floor so that the setting is clean and presentable. Such actions serve to break down stereotypes about Americans, and build relationships based on equality. That is why many of the service organizations with which we work have been our partners for years.


Volunteer Service that Addresses Real Human Needs

As you work with local people, you will find your experience and understanding of the culture enriched and deepened, your leadership skills developed, and your language skills enhanced. Your placement will be determined by community and organizational needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills where possible.

You will serve approximately 15 hours per week in a local organization.