How to volunteer in Don Bosco Cambodia

Hans and Vicky with social com students Kep 2015

Volunteers with the young and for the young in Cambodia.

Volunteering in Don Bosco schools in Cambodia refers to local or foreign persons or organizations that donate their time, resources and expertise to strengthen a particular or whole DBFC’s educational projects in favor of children and young people. Volunteers to Don Bosco apply either in an individual way or through a third organization dedicated to volunteering service.

The educational works of Don Bosco in Cambodia are aimed to support young people from rural areas and impoverished communities in different programs based in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep, Battambang, Poipet and other Cambodian provinces where there is a project of DBFC running. Volunteers must be persons with a great sensibility for children, young people, women, workers, the poor and for cultures like the ones of Cambodia, respecting its traditions and trying to understand the Cambodian mentality and their right to have a dignified education. Volunteers with DBFC must follow the policy on Children Protection also.

The programs consist basically of technical skills like electricity, mechanic, automotive, printing, electronics, IT, social communication & journalism, hotel skills, office administration, art, tailoring and others. DBFC chooses instructors, teachers and assistants from the same groups of past pupils. The contribution of hundreds of volunteers in the Don Bosco Cambodian schools has been a very important way to develop the quality of the technical education. Native or foreign volunteers usually join the Don Bosco mission in Cambodia through other organizations that guarantee their travel, stay, insurance and other needs. Be aware that Don Bosco does not support travel expenses, insurance and other further needs of foreign volunteers. It might be covered either by the volunteer or a third organization of volunteers. DBFC has not agreements with organizations of volunteers at all, so every case is under a request of the needs of the Foundation in Cambodia only. DBFC has not affiliations with organizations that charge volunteers and it does not accept such kind of dealings.

Conditions to be a volunteer

Volunteers in Don Bosco schools must be persons who like education and attention to the young and children.

They must know that our organization depends very much on charity, so we cannot afford salaries, especially for foreign personnel. In many cases we can provide a dignified place to stay and the meals, but it is a service according to the possibilities of every specific case. Independent volunteers must pay a fee to the school for food and lodging. It is about 100 USD per month.

For the Don Bosco schools the volunteer must have also a kind of reference proving his/her qualities as a person ready to interact with young people, with the Cambodian culture and language and working in team with the different statements of Don Bosco. Please provide a police statement would be useful, especially for persons applying in an individual way. It is a condition due to our work with vulnerable children, especially.

The volunteer must be a person with a sense of adventure, ready to make him/herself in the Cambodian environment and the limits of the organization.

Health is very important.

Be conscious that this is a tropical country. If you come from cool countries and find difficulties to adapt to hot weathers, consider it very well before applying.

Coming to help, not to ask for help for himself or herself. The volunteer donates his/her time to Don Bosco, meaning a donation to the young people, facilitating their improvement as persons and their skill.

If you are an expatriate in Cambodia, you can apply to our Don Bosco schools, only if you like education and you want to donate your time and skill for the development of our country.

The official language for foreign volunteers at the Don Bosco schools is English. Volunteers doing the effort to learn some Khmer language are especially appreciated.

There are not volunteers for so short times such as one week or even one month. It is expected at least three months. DBFC does not accept volunteers coming out of the blue. Please follow an application process with any board of trust members.

DBFC does not provide visas for volunteers. It is a right of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you are going to have a long stay as a volunteer in Don Bosco (more than six months), DBFC can request a volunteer visa for you, but you must cover the cost of it. DBFC does not request visas for work or study in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Persons trying to use Don Bosco as a platform to reside in Cambodia will be reported. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives you a visa to be a volunteer in Don Bosco, you are not to be engaged in jobs outside Don Bosco. It is a condition you have to accomplish to the Cambodian government. Getting a volunteer visa and using it to get a job is illegal and you could be deported from Cambodia.

The educative projects of Don Bosco are not religious oriented, although Don Bosco is a Catholic Organization. Therefore, volunteers will never will be asked for their religion. If you are not a Catholic or even if you are not a believer, you can apply the same and it is expected only a humanistic perspective from you. Don Bosco rejected any religious propaganda and you will not be forced to any religious rite or “conversion.” Volunteers attacking the Catholic Church, Christianity, Buddhism, Muslims or making religious propaganda among students or children will be dismissed. The same for ideological or political considerations. Don Bosco Cambodia is neutral. While you are a foreign volunteer, you are expected to be prudent in your political points of view, including your own social media. As a volunteer, you represent Don Bosco in someway, but be aware that Don Bosco will take distance from you in any case you get into troubles for your political or ideological point of view that will never be considered a Don Bosco’s position.

Be prudent in the way you relate with students or other Cambodian personnel. Don’t make promises to Cambodian youth. Your service is enough and appreciated. Under any circumstance your condition of a volunteer gives you a special right over children protected by Don Bosco. You cannot bring children out of the projects or have special relations with particular children. Volunteers with suspicious behaviors in relation with children will be dismissed. In the same way, you are expected to respect women in Cambodia. The Don Bosco schools have many young female students. Male volunteers trying to engage in special relations with female students, are to be dismissed. At the same time, volunteers linked to Don Bosco projects are not to be involved in sexual tourism or prostitution at any level, especially if vulnerable people like children are involved.

If you become a volunteer, you are expected to behave as a professional in your skill. It includes a professional way in dealing with students, teachers and the Cambodian society:

  • Use proper dressing during work time. Please don’t wear shorts and sleeve shirts when you go for teaching. Respect the Cambodian culture. You don’t go to teach in shorts in any university at your own country, so no reason to do it in Cambodia. The educational community will think you came for tourism.
  • Inside the Don Bosco schools it is not allowed to smoke or to drink alcohol. Under any reason you should not provide cigarettes or alcohol to students.
  • No rude words. Remember: you are inside an educational place. Give example.

Who cannot apply

  • Foreigners who cannot speak English, at least the service does not involve necessary the language.  
  • Persons with problems with justice. 
  • Persons looking for job opportunities (the type of I do some service here, while looking the real job I need.)
  • Persons whose proposals don’t fit the goals of Don Bosco Cambodia.
  • Persons with lack of sensibility for the poor, the young and the children.
  • Persons who think their culture is superior to those of Cambodians (I came to teach to Cambodians how to do, think and be,) looking down to them. 
  • Persons with addictions such as drugs or alcohol.
  • Persons who come to Cambodia looking for sexual tourism.

Some areas of need

Here some areas DBFC needs for volunteers:

  • Teachers of English, especially native speakers or persons from non-native speaking countries with the enough formation in English teaching (providing due certifications.)
  • Computer teachers and IT.
  • Web developers.
  • Hotel skill experts (Front office, housekeeping, chef, barmen, etc.)
  • Fine arts teachers.
  • Teachers of dance, drama, music, etc.
  • Electrician and electronic teachers.
  • Mechanics.
  • Welders.
  • Secretarial.
  • Marketing experts.
  • Administrators and accounting.
  • Mathematicians.
  • Philosophers.

Expatriates or visitors for a time in the Kingdom can apply through email by sending a summary of your curriculum, your disposition of time and resources and your volunteer proposal. You can send it to this email.