International Volunteer Service with Orphaned Children with Disabilities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Collaborating Organization:

TNational Borey for Infants and Children, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Brief Description:

An international volunteer trip to Cambodia was organized by the City-Youth Empowerment Project in summer 2012 for the volunteers to explore more and challenge themselves. 2 staffs and 9 volunteers went to a state-run orphanage, National Borey for Infants and Children, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to work with a group of severely-disabled children with the local staff and other international volunteers. It was the first time for most of our volunteers to work with severely-disabled children. Although some volunteers worried at first, they soon found their own niche and acclimated to the required tasks. During our trip, the World Health Organization released a virus alert, about an unknown virus that was associated with young children. Although it caused panic for us at first, half of our group chose to stay and continue to work with the children with increased precautionary measures, determined to honor the commitment they had made to the service and the relationship they had already built with the children and the local staff. Within these two weeks, the group had experienced many issues that we may not face in Hong Kong. Apart from getting out of their comfort zone – they have also gained more insights about volunteerism, children in poverty in Cambodia, and the impact of public policy. Most of our volunteers reflected that because of this experience, they are prompted to think more about the relationship between the environment of the society and individuals.