Individual volunteer guidelines
Most volunteers live at Kep Gardens for varying lengths of time. Volunteering is not only about Kep Gardens’ students benefiting from their commitment and desire to help others. The volunteers themselves gain much: tolerance and understanding of other cultures; the younger ones grow into adulthood, become independent. Volunteers are not always young students in their gap year between studies. Many that come to Kep Gardens are older: some looking to decide what they would like to do when they retire; others fulfilling a dream of volunteering overseas and in retirement have finally found the time; others on a long trip and want to put down some roots for a period of time and have a chance to get to know the local people. Many, many reasons why people volunteer; many, many age groups represented. But rest assured all are highly valued for their skills and experience that they pass on to our students and staff.
- Whilst visitors are always welcome, our structured programme caters for volunteers wishing to spend 1 day to many months.
- We request that when you contact by email you include a brief statement outlining your expectations.
Kep Gardens welcomes you into our family. We are looking forward to your visit. We have put together a few points for you to understand about our expectations of your volunteer work and the living conditions you will encounter.
Our English school has been running since 2008. We run a 44 week curriculum that concentrates on the correct pronunciation, grammar, reading and conversation for English. We hold 8 classes each day from Monday to Friday. Students’ ages range from 5 years old to early 20’s. Class sizes vary from the smallest 25 to 31 the largest. We also run a Playgroup for children aged 1-4 years five mornings a week.
- Volunteers are asked to work from 8.00–10.00 am and 2.00–8.00 pm five days a week but should allow additional time for preparation if taking classes.
- From Monday to Friday we ask you to dress appropriately for a school environment. Please respect the Cambodian culture and dress conservatively and modestly.
- Please ensure you are never alone with a student and can be openly seen at all times.
- Kep Gardens is a non-government organization with no religious or political affiliations. Please do not discuss your religious or political beliefs with the students.
- Please don’t show favourites. All Kep Gardens students are treated equally.
- Volunteers must have a good command of the English language and be able to follow a set curriculum.
- We have very structured rules and regulations for the good of the school – volunteers must abide by these.
- Don’t pat anyone on the head. This is offensive to Buddhists.
- Don’t touch a monk. We sometimes have several monks in our classes.
- To open your mind to learning about Cambodian culture spend some spare time interacting with the students and staff at Kep Gardens. You will go home a richer person with a warm feeling in your heart.
- Villagers dress traditionally and conservatively, and though they will expect foreigners to dress differently, girls will get stared at if they wear “short” shorts (knee length is fine) and strappy tops.
- Bring hats to wear during the day but never wear them inside or into a pagoda.
Volunteer accommodation and facilities
- At present we offer a bunk house with 2 bunk beds (accommodation for 4 people) and mosquito nets.
- Separate accommodation with an ensuite bathroom may also be available at an extra cost if not in use at the time.
- Three meals are provided per day (specific dietary guidelines will be followed as far as Cambodian facilities allow!). The meals are a mixture of Khmer and European. Note there is no refrigeration so only bring snack items that can be stored in heat.
- Unlimited bottled water is provided as is tea and coffee. Please bring your own bottle.
- A laundry service is provided.
- Please bring a torch/flashlight.
- The bathroom consists of a sit down toilet with a Khmer bucket and scoop shower. No hot water.
- Insect repellent and sunscreen are must haves. Also any medications you require.
- Power is available when the generator is on – usually 5pm to 10pm.
- Wifi is available when the generator is running.
- There is a village about 1.5 kilometres away with a market and other facilities including a bank with an ATM. Kep also has many ATMs available.
- The nearest place for European food, Post Office or beach is Kep – approx. 10 km away.
- Charge per day $20 includes – accommodation plus 3 meals per day, fruit after meals, unlimited bottled water, tea and coffee, and laundry.
- It is the volunteers’ responsibility and a prerequisite to volunteering with Kep Gardens that you purchase adequate travel insurance.
Weekends and spare time activities
- Kep Gardens is situated at the northern entrance to the Kep National Park.
- We conduct village tours, jungle treks and local pagoda visits at a small cost.
- A nearby guest house allows our volunteers to use their swimming pool.
- The town of Kep is 10 kms away, Rabbit Island is off the coast of Kep and Kampot is 20 kms away, all of which are ideal weekend getaways.
- Volunteers may like to visit the pepper plantations and caves which are a tuktuk ride away.
- Bicycles are available free of charge.
- A tuk tuk is available for hire. Hire of a motorcycle can be arranged.
How to apply
If you are interested please send us an email with your name, details of interests, dates available and contact information and a brief statement outlining your expectations. We will respond within a few days. Thank you for your interest!
You may also apply through Givingway, a volunteer organization that we are affiliated with.
ENJOY YOUR STAY AT KEP GARDENS