Journeys for Good is excited to announce our upcoming volunteer trip to Cambodia with Globe Aware. It will be an amazing adventure and the flagship episode of our television program for public TV, currently in development. In addition, we will be posting blog entries from the trip, so keep an eye out for upcoming entries at the end of December. And, of course, upon our return, we will be sharing video content on our You Tube Channel.
We chose to partner with Globe Aware because they are an established leader in voluntourism. Their mission is to promote cultural awareness and sustainability. They seek projects that are based on community need and designed to be sustainable. While Globe Aware’s financial assistance benefits the community economically, it is actually the involvement and collaboration between the volunteers and community that is the greatest mutual benefit. Community participation in volunteer work projects is an essential component of Globe Aware’s philosophy. This is in line with our mission at Journeys for Good, profiling volunteer trips that are sustainable, ethical and mutually beneficial to both the local people and the volunteers themselves.
In anticipation, we interviewed Globe Aware’s director, Kimberly Haley-Coleman.
Tell us about the projects we will be engaged in on this trip?
There are so many needs in Cambodia, and the projects we work on are chosen a couple of weeks ahead of time, depending on how much the prior volunteers finished and any higher priorities that have arisen, what the weather conditions will be, etc. The December program will include assembling and distributing wheelchairs for landmine victims, work with students at a Buddhist school and a couple of visits helping a local orphanage. We usually teach English pronunciation and colloquialisms as this gives a self sustaining job skill for one of the biggest industries in Cambodia. Its worth taking a moment to comment about orphanages.
Orphanages all over the world have real needs that can be very difficult to meet. In 2005 Globe Aware ceased trying to operate too closely in conjunction with them as many vulnerabilities rose to the surface for which we have not been able to find firm solutions. We do occasionally provide training and services in group settings (like sewing teachers, English lessons) or donations in the form of meals or educational materials. We have a firm policy against any volunteers working one- on-one with any children. Children should not be treated as an attraction. Understanding the real challenges that needy children face worldwide is important, and we are always seeking the best way to promote such awareness.
How do you develop your volunteer projects within Cambodia?
The local community makes requests for projects, and we run those requests through 4 criteria (safety, genuine need to a needy community, etc) and we ensure its something that non-skilled volunteers are in a position to do. As long as the project meets our criteria, we let the locals decide the where and how. We firmly believe that we are not in a position to tell what the greatest needs are. We are always learning from the local community.
What types of people take these kinds of trips?
In the past, most international volunteers were college students, often because they have the amount of free time available that most programs required. Our programs are one week, Saturday to Saturday, to allow the full range of busy folk to find time to volunteer abroad. We’ve seen the biggest increase in multi-generational families traveling together. It’s a beautiful way to experience something unique and also for everyone to appreciate their own lives.
How do you incorporate cultural exploration and sight-seeing into the experience?
We incorporate 3 to 5 planned but optional excursions that are intended to highlight the true culture of a place, not just the postcard beauty. This can mean cooking classes, attending a local wedding, dance lessons, or experiencing local “attractions” with locals to give a different perspective.
How can someone else join this trip?
Registration is always open by email, phone, fax, or through our website. Our toll free number is 1-877-588-4562 or you can email at office@Globeaware.com