Soak up spell binding ancient culture, vibrant colours and the many flavours of Asia whilst contributing to life changing community and conservation projects, helping this beautiful country recover from a turbulent past.
An 8 week itinerary will include all of the following but it’s possible to join the program for less time – just get in contact. Travel as part of a Leap Team.
Weeks 1 – 6: Siem Reap, Teaching and Community Development
Siem Reap, is a town rich in history where East fuses with West in spectacular style. Located at the foot of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple complex and close to spectacular forests, waterfalls and South East Asia’s largest inland lake.
This old French colonial capital has many European influenced buildings, a buzzing night life, great street food and an edgy art scene, so it’s hardly surprising that the city has experienced a massive resurgence in popularity.
You’ll spend your time here working with Cambodia’s orphans, helping to teach English and refurbishing their homes and implementing fresh water wells in rural communities just outside the city.
Water Pump Project
Despite its beautiful exterior, Siem Reap is one of the poorest regions in Cambodia and it’s estimated that only half the population have access to clean water and diarrhea is a killer, particularly for children under the age of five.
This is where we come in, you will work with a team of local construction workers to build wells in some of these communities, providing access to clean, safe drinking water and implementing better hygiene – a life changing project.
Many people in rural areas don’t have toilets, having to walk far from their home, into the forested area to go to the bathroom, which can be unsafe.
In collaboration with one of our partner NGO’s we aim to help some of the local families’ address this issue by building a flushing toilet.
Spitler and Kurator School Foundation – Teaching
Due to the vast number of adult deaths during the genocide of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in the world. 41% of the population are children, (20% in the UK) with over three quarters living in poverty.
Sadly, the education system in Cambodia is very poor; teachers’ salaries are low, the teaching quality poor and in many cases kids are forced to leave school to work on the streets of Cambodia.
However, help is at hand as local NGO’s and foundations get busy to address this situation to provide free education and skills to children in the community.
Here you will help in the Spitler and Kurator schools, with support teaching in English, sport and computer studies.
Week 7: Sihanoukville, Starfish Project
You’ll then venture south to sunny Sihanoukville, surrounded by white-sandy beaches and undeveloped tropical islands, Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s most happening beach destination with it’s pristine beaches, palm trees and full moon parties.
Sometimes the most beautiful places on earth disguise the cruelest social problems. Look a little harder at the postcard perfection of Sihanoukville’s beaches and you will see some of the city’s poorest children working among the happy holidaymakers. Children are often forced by their families to work because tourists are more likely to buy a can of coke or crafts from a youngster. These children are incredibly vulnerable to abuse and miss out on the most valuable years of education in order to scrape a living.
Under the direction of Starfish, you will work at both the Sakura School and at the Computer Development Center, helping teach conversational English.
Week 8: Mondulkuri Elephant Sanctuary, Elephant Conservation
From the coast you’ll journey East towards Vietnam; through fields of swaying sugar palms, past dazzling rice paddies and up into densely forested hill country transacted by thundering waterfalls. Welcome to Mondulkuri, one of Cambodia’s last great wildernesses, a vital wildlife corridor, home to the indigenous Pnong people, a tribe of hunter-gatherers for whom their bond with elephants are at the very heart of their culture.
For the next week, you will live and volunteer in “Elephant Valley”, a secluded jungle-bound project, rehabilitating the protected Elephants and protecting the Pnong tribe’s rural way of life.
Here you will help the mahouts wash the elephants in the river and bringing in supplementary food, their favourite being banana trees.
At the weekends you’re free to travel and explore, the choice is endless: visit the famous temples of Angkor Wat, trek through ancient jungles or just kick back and relax with a bottle of locally brewed ‘Angkor Beer’ on those fabulous palm-fringed beaches!
We have limited spaces, per departure, so book online to reserve your place and the Leap will get back to you to confirm the details.