During our time working with local associations and volunteers in Cambodia, we have grown particularly excited about retirees wanting to help and volunteer. Retirees have a wealth of personal, life and working experience to contribute, in addition to their time availability and their willingness to give back to the community. Retirees have become one of our favourite groups of volunteers!
If you’re a retired professional who is over 50 and looking for a opportunity to continue using your skills, consider taking on a volunteer position.
How can you help?
Some of our most successful professional volunteer placements have involved older volunteers who are volunteering in a role they have had many years of experience in. You can read about Jane Price or Mickey Diener in our Success Stories.
There is no shortage of ways you can combine volunteering with your staying in Cambodia. We welcome all types of skills, from carpenters to teachers, accountants to cooks, CEOs or physiotherapists. There is always need for people with your expertise and time, not only to do the job but to pass your knowledge onto the local staff and help them grow in their future career.
What‘s in it for you?
Your former professional experience and knowledge can be incredibly valuable to a local organisation that is striving to help people in need. By volunteering, you can make a direct impact while learning about a new culture, exploring the country, and making new friends.
Cambodia is a popular destination for tourists and volunteers—people are attracted to its warm climate throughout the year, the relatively cheap cost of living, the captivating sights and landmarks, and the delicious food, to name a few reasons.
Cambodia has been keen to welcome senior expatriates recently. Last year, the country has introduced the ER visa, a visa for those at the age of retirement. It is specifically for individuals who are 55 or older, and has documentation that verifies their retirement in their home country (for example, pension or governmental assistance documents). Individuals also need documents that prove they have the funds to support themselves (such as financial statements or other proof of savings). The ER visa can be issued for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. Most importantly, visa holders who are employed are not permitted to receive the ER visa extension. However, holders of the ER visa do not need to obtain a work permit in order to stay in the country, which make it the perfect visa for retirees hoping to engage in long-term volunteering in Cambodia.
Tips for finding the right volunteer project for you
- Know what you have to offer. Non-profits are often seeking professionals who can help them with specific skills (including web design, writing and accounting) and in a range of specific fields (such as fundraising, PR and marketing, event planning, and finances). Be very clear on what skills you have mastered through your career and in which ways you would like to help others.
- Consider your purpose for volunteering. What are your reasons for wanting to volunteer? Are you passionate about the cause you’re about to serve? Are you hoping to meet people? Or are you simply looking to add a meaningful dimension to your life? Knowing what you hope to get out of volunteering will make it easier for you to be matched up with right organisation.
- Be realistic about your availability. Volunteering abroad could be a life-changing experience, but it’s equally an endeavour that consumes time and money, and could even be emotionally taxing. Think it through before making the commitment.
- Start with baby steps. Each region has its own culture which may not click with you, or the situation may simply not work out for you the first time you volunteer abroad. Three months of overseas volunteering in a particular organisation is a good amount of time, at least enough for you to learn about the organisation and to contribute to its causes. After your three months are over, you may choose to extend your work term or politely move on and search for another opportunity.
- Be wise—remember your health insurance. At the risk of sounding redundant, we always advise volunteers and travellers of any age and nationality to have travel insurance before they depart for their destination. Basic health care, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medication are available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and other major cities. However, the quality of care and the medication may not be up to the standards that you’re used to at home. Retirees who travel and volunteer in Cambodia are highly recommended to check what their insurance covers or to purchase a comprehensive health and travel insurance, just in case medical attention is required while they’re abroad.
- Investigate local non-profit matchmakers. Volunteers who have never travelled to Cambodia before may want to consider using a local lens. Local institutes are more familiar with associations and groups in the community, and can vet organisations on your behalf, improving your chances of being matched with the right one.
We at Professionals doing good are also at your service. Should you want to explore volunteer opportunities, apply here and we’ll contact you to find the best solution for you.