Cambodia has been blessed so far—to date (12-2020), no patients have died from Covid-19 according to the Cambodian government. Regardless of what the future brings, while other countries have faced a first, second or third wave of the virus, we have been spared so far and—knock on wood—we hope we will be for the future as well.
Although it’s too early to say what the recipe for such a positive result was, we believe that the decision to close the country to tourism was an important factor. It certainly took a toll on the local economy, as tourism was one of the most significant sources of revenue for the country. The government has rightly decided that closing its borders was a just price to pay, as the local health system may not have been able to sustain a pandemic.
At Professionals doing good, we have been suspended all on-the-field volunteer activities here in Cambodia since April 2020. Since then, we’ve regretfully been thanking but rejecting the tens of volunteers applications expressing their love for Cambodia and its people. It’s a goodbye, not a farewell, and we’re looking forward to resuming our operations again when we will be able to ensure a safe volunteer experience both for our volunteer professionals and the people we’d like to help.
In the meantime, we’d like to share some of the most common questions we are receiving from our applicants.
Is it possible to travel and volunteer in Cambodia these days?
Cambodian embassies are not issuing tourist visas at this time, and tourist visas upon arrivals are suspended as well. Volunteers, as in travellers performing unpaid tasks, typically came to Cambodia using tourist visas. The Cambodian government do not consider it justifiable to go on holiday to Cambodia for the time being and travelling is discouraged by the majority of the embassies. The only applications currently being accepted are for diplomatic, official, and “sponsored” business-linked visas. Therefore, volunteering is not possible until the government once again opens up the country to tourism and resumes the issuance of tourist visas.
When will I be able to travel and volunteer in Cambodia again?
Cambodia has some of the strictest entry requirements in the world that all travellers must follow in order to enter the country. A few dates have been mentioned on which these measures will expire, but it’s likely that these will be extended by at least several more weeks or months. In a nutshell, it’s currently not possible to say with certainty when restrictions will be lifted, when visas will be issued again and when Cambodia will be opened to tourism again.
Can I reserve my volunteer project now and travel and volunteer later—in three to six months or one year’s time?
The formula book-now-and-travel-later is well suited to get the most out of promotions for hotels or flights. We think it does not apply to a professional volunteer experience. The situation in Cambodia is fluid: the non-profit needs, programs, and resources may change drastically by the time you arrive, and your support may no longer be necessary. It is wiser to wait for the time that your application will be accepted again.
I really wish to come and volunteer in Cambodia now and will do what it takes to make it happen. Money is not a problem. Can you advise me on how to do so?
Volunteering is about helping others and putting others’ needs on top of yours. Should you find ways to travel to Cambodia, have you thought of the strains you would put on the non-profit you are supposed to help if you get sick? What if you run out of money while you’re in Cambodia? Or if you get stuck and not be able to return home? Surely they would feel responsible for you and feel the need to help you and support you. However, their priority should be to help their community, particularly in these difficult times. Overall, we do not endorse traveling against government advisories and currently the Cambodian government is advising against going on holiday to Cambodia, even if motivated by the best intentions.
Can you keep me updated on when can I travel to Cambodia again?
We do our best to keep our international volunteers and followers up to date with our blog, posts and newsletters. However, current Cambodia travel rules are changing without notice and we may not be able to promptly inform you with the latest updates.
As such, we advise you to contact your consulate in your home country and strictly follow their instructions and travel requirements.
I really love Cambodia and its people and would love to help. Do you have any idea of what I can do from home?
There are SO many ways you can help at home. Volunteer online. Raise funds for the charity of your choice. Become their ambassador or advocate from the comfort of your home. Purchase online products made in Cambodia by ethical local enterprises to help the local economy. Just to name a few!
Contact us! We can help you match your skills and expectations with the right online opportunity in your field of interest and with a cause you are passionate about here in Cambodia…while at home.
If you find this article interesting, please share it with others and help us spread the word about Professionals doing good!