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From backpacker party pads to pimped out hotels, Siem Reap is one cool city and with Angkor Wat on your doorstep it’s hardly a bad place to be calling home for the next few weeks. Whilst living in the middle of this hustle and bustle there will be a serious side to your ventures as you take the reins of various effective projects.
Despite its beautiful exterior, Siem Reap is one of the poorest regions in Cambodia, where the difference between rich and poor is stark. It’s estimated that only half the population have access to clean water, many people don’t have toilets and the majority don’t have a sustainable income. This is where you come in as you’ll be spending your mornings working on water pump, toilet building and income generation projects within a community.
That leaves the afternoons open to a whole other project. Education in Cambodia is poor, so poor that the majority of kids are forced to spend their time on the streets rather than in a safe, secure schooling system. Working alongside a local NGO you’ll be working hard to combat this by helping with construction projects, teaching English and inspiring children to brighter futures.
Picture postcard perfection, that’s the best way to describe your next destination. Sihanoukville is an unwritten gem with tropical white sandy beaches waiting to be explored. However, amongst this beauty lies poverty, kids are working the streets left, right and centre and by doing so are being denied of an education. ‘Let Us Create’ (LUC) is an initiative that has been set up to provide a safe haven for these kids giving them access to clean water, nutritional food and education.
With daily initiatives ever changing at LUC you’ll need to be open minded and flexible on this leg of the trip. The majority of your days will be spent running English and sports classes, prepping food for the kids and taking them on general outings.
A world apart from lowland Cambodia, it’s time to head to the land where the elephant rules. Mondulkiri, home to rolling hills and rural countryside this place will leave you captivated with memories and overloaded in incredible experiences. To end this trip in true style, you’ll be working directly with these incredible animals, witness a special relationship between man and beast and aid in preservation efforts.
The Pnong are a tribe of hunter-gatherers, for whom a bond with elephants is at the very heart of their culture. Sadly, the ancient traditions and livelihood of this unique community are under threat as the environmental pressures of 21st Century Cambodia start to take over.
For the next week, you will live and volunteer in "Elephant Valley", a secluded jungle-bound project, rehabilitating these gentle grey giants and protecting the Pnong tribe’s rural way of life. Here you will help the mahouts wash the elephants in the river, bring in supplementary food and look after their premises with various construction projects!