Child and Orphan Care in Cambodia:
GSC is fortunate to partner with a unique, local NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) who runs a children's center outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia to bring light and happiness into the lives of children who have been orphaned because they are HIV+ or whose parents have died from AIDS.
Initially envisioned as a resource for educating the community about HIV and caring for people dying from AIDS, with the availability of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs the center now feels more like an extended family rather than a hospice for the hopeless. The children are healthy, happy, playful, and loving, and are quick to warm up to visiting volunteers. The children’s center prefers volunteers who can commit to staying with the children for a minimum of 4 weeks, so this program option is ideal for a longer term volunteer.
The children’s center was jointly established by an American expat and a Cambodian, who are still running the center today. What truly makes the center unique is the rare opportunity for HIV-infected and non-infected children to live together as a family, sharing homes and meals, and playing all together. The children's center is staffed by local community members who are committed to raising the children to young adulthood, helping them transition back into the community, and supporting those who pursue university or vocational school once they leave. The center provides housing, nutrition, medicine, and education to the children, as well as supplemental food, medical care, and HIV education to the surrounding community.
Volunteers become a part of the center’s extended family as they live, work, and play with the children, and bond with the local staff. Each volunteer is asked to organize an activity before they arrive in Cambodia for the children that will allow them to share their own passions and talents. Past participants have led dance workshops, artistic journaling classes, and a range of athletic, creative and other activities. Volunteers in this program may also have the option to teach or tutor English, as needed. GSC volunteers have a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be not only teachers, but also mentors and friends to the warm and loving children.
This Cambodian orphanage volunteer program has a minimum commitment of 4 weeks and there is an option to volunteer at both centers, if the volunteer can commit to at least 6 weeks (click here for the Short-Term Program option). This program can also be included as part of an Integrated Program. The Child and Orphan Care Program in Phnom Penh is open year-round, with start dates every month. Click on the links below to request more information and ask questions, view the start dates and current rates, read about the application process, and start an application.