Volunteer Testimonials Some former volunteers tell about their experiences during their placement at Anjali House. When you read their stories we hope you will be inspired to become a part of the Anjali community.
Volunteering at Anjali House for four weeks in May 2013 was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I am a qualified primary school teacher and wanted to use my skills to assist others less fortunate. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to help equip disadvantaged children with skills and empower them to have the opportunity for a more positive future. All of the staff, volunteers and children at Anjali House were wonderful! The moment that you walk through the front gates you feel welcome. I loved riding to school every day to be greeted with beaming smiles and cheerful hellos.
One of the most memorable experiences from my time at Anjali House was the Khmer New Year celebration day. All of the staff, volunteers and students spent the day playing traditional Khmer games, my favourite being a Khmer version of piñata. In the Khmer version the piñata is a clay pot instead of papier-mâché which is to be smashed with a large stick while blindfolded. One must avoid shards of flying clay once the pot has been smashed. This day concluded with a huge water fight which was great fun and a refreshing way to cool off in the 40+ degree heat that hits Cambodia in May.
The Cambodian people are truly inspirational. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to get to know the local Khmer people and learn about their culture. While I was volunteering to help others, I got more than I could have imagined out of the experience myself. If you have thought about volunteering and want to use your skills to help others I would strongly recommend Anjali House.
Deborah and Gerald Huth
We spent two weeks volunteering at Anjali House in January 2013 and found it to be a wonderful experience. We had already volunteered at another organization in Siem Reap each of the previous three years, and are avid Asia travelers who have fallen in love with Cambodia and its people.
Our project combined arts education, where Gerald worked with the children doing stage sets for a play with Deborah's work with creative movement. We created a short play called "Back to the Future Angkor" inspired by the movie series of the mid 1980's. We were impressed at how the children were able to learn their lines in English and how much they liked doing the art work (when we could get them away from the football game!)
Even though we are considerably older than most of the volunteers, we can still recommend volunteering at Anjali to people of our age group as a rewarding and fulfilling way to spend some time in Asia. We come from countries where we all have so much and it is a good reminder of how many people in the world, through no fault of their own, are so much less fortunate. When we left Anjali there were many hugs and tears of farewell, and we are already committed to returning next year for a longer period.
Volunteering at Anjali House for the month of June has been a memorable experience and I hope it will be the first of many projects I do in this part of the world. Deciding to leave for Cambodia for six weeks was an important decision and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I soon discovered how much this country has to offer: from the beauty of the landscapes and colours to the warmth and kindness of its people. I was so glad for the children and teachers’ willingness to share their stories and help me to adapt to the way of life in Cambodia. Looking back I understand that travelling alone, meeting as many people as possible and making the most of what the place has to offer is the only way to really begin to understand culture and history of the country you are volunteering in.
With time I realized how as a volunteer who is at Anjali to teach, there are also endless opportunities for learning. Working with the children and teachers was truly inspirational. Seeing the children’s curiosity and desire to learn in school, and seeing the passion and commitment the teachers put into their work was a wonderful experience. I hope I have taken back some of this passion and brought it to my work in Europe. Indeed it was great to work in a place where you know that what you teach can really make a difference in someone’s life. And knowing that some of the Anjali children now know a language that they can use to further their education and their careers made the volunteering so much more worth it.
I was also glad to work for an NGO that is so authentic in what they are doing and always has the children’s best interest at heart. In fact the continuity of education provided by the Khmer teachers who work at Anjali all year, I believe is the demonstration of Anjali’s seriousness as an NGO. I hope Anjali will continue to grow and develop as an organization and wish to come and visit soon again!
Clarissa, Richard, Jas and Ben High
Age: mix of ages
We decided to volunteer at Anjali to help others less fortunate and for us as a family to experience the difference of cultures. Not only did we help others, we learnt so much ourselves and as a family have memories to last us a lifetime.
The most positive outcome about volunteering at Anjali was to engage with the children. Seeing the looks on the children's faces when we read to them in both classes, they really hung on every word. Learning so much about the culture and people in Cambodia, and gaining more of an understanding of their world.
Our challenges to overcome living in Cambodia were less than we first thought. We were nervous about bringing our children in terms of health and the only issue we had was for Ben to have an infection on his foot. Luckily we were prepared with a good medical kit and after some antibiotics he was fit for fighting it out on the soccer field again. It was also comforting to know Anjali had a good medical first aid kit and the children's hospital in Siem Reap is very good. The heat and dust was hard to get used to at first but did not seem to stop Ben and Richard from playing soccer and we just made sure we drank lots of water. Clarissa wore a scarf across her mouth while riding to and from Anjali to help with her asthma which worked a treat. All in all we found living in Cambodia a positive experience for all, slowing down from our fast pace of life and concentrating on the essential priorities like food, shelter, health and happiness, laughing more.
Clarissa - The most memorable for me was teaching and engaging the children in learning. I am not a teacher back home and really enjoyed it at Anjali. My favourite and most memorable lesson was one where the children had to find objects from nature, placing them into patterns, pictures and paint them. They just loved it and I have some great photos of their work.
Richard - The most memorable for me was playing soccer with the kids at lunch. It was great to be able to get to know some of the other kids who weren't in my class and interact with all of them in a different setting than the classroom.
We would recommend volunteering at Anjali to others because of the authentic way everything is done while always having the children's best interests at heart. The staff are always helpful and very friendly. A lot of organisations would not take children under 15/16yrs and we were very thankful for Anjali, an NGO run by a great team of people who welcomed us with open arms. Anjali is a great school for the local children, you can see how much they love it, we loved it too and hope to come back.