Naoko from SOLS Cambodia is talking about her social project. Get to know a little more about the Project Adam and the exciting opportunities they are offering. Don’t forget to share this if you know someone interested in working surrounded by nature, blue sky, great landscapes and wonderful people!
What does the Project Adam mean and how did it come about?
The project Adam is an international volunteer program which supports our educational centers. It came into being in 2000. We started to have a lot of province centers. A volunteer called Adam Taylor got involved with our cause. He was a back packer and he was travelling around Cambodia. By chance, he got to know SOLS and started volunteering with us offering English classes to our students. He was living together with the people and becoming one with the community. This moving experience stirred him to take the decision to do what he could to help make a change in peoples’ lives. After his volunteer stint, he returned back to the UK but later decided to continue volunteering and working with SOLS 24/7. He took out more responsibilities and now he is the Deputy Director of Youth Development in Malaysia.
From his story, we believe that, there are a lot of enthusiastic and motivated people out there who are looking forward to making a difference to this world.
We created the Project Adam on behalf of this socially engaged young. Project Adam aims to bring 100 volunteers from all over the world to experience the fulfilling work of social service in Cambodia while at the same time, enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the Cambodian culture and people.
Could you tell us a little more about the volunteer opportunities you are offering?
There are two kind of volunteer opportunities at the moment. One of them is focus on working with the community. The volunteers will be involved in teaching English and also assisting the province centers. So, basically they will be sent to our province centers and they will take out responsibility to improve the situation of the centers.
The other opportunity is offered to the volunteers who are willing to help our HQ (Headquarters). For example, to run the organization is very important to have administrators, accountants, marketing Managers, web developers, photographers, designers, etc. For these positions, we depend on volunteers. We do not have staff for these positions.
How many volunteer opportunities you are offering?
We have 60 volunteer vacancies at the moment. We want to send out volunteers to all our province centers. Up to now, we only have 8 volunteers, so we are looking for volunteers who are willing to make a difference to this world. We aim to reach motivated and objective individuals who are enthusiastic to make a difference.
Are there volunteers from the region?
We have 80 local volunteers who are Cambodians and they are our graduate students. After they finish two years comprehensive school they continue to do our local volunteers and they are the managers in the province centers. After being local volunteers, students get the chance to go abroad and serve SOLS within international projects.
Are there other volunteer programs apart from the Project Adam?
We have another volunteer project called “ BE ONE” – Equality through Education in SOLS Timor ( East Timor ).
It is also a project to bring international volunteers to immerse themselves in the local community and make a difference in the life of others through our educational system.
If I want to volunteer at SOLS, do I need to pay any fee?
No fees are required. Volunteers should just pay their own air fares and the visa costs. Accommodation, local food and internal transport are covered by the project. We stay at the centers and we cook together so if a volunteer wants to stay with us and eat the same food as we do, they do not need to pay extra for food or accommodation.
What is the time commitment of a volunteer at SOLS?
It takes time to get into the culture and really start making a difference. So, we expect that volunteers can commit for 3 months or more. However, we are very flexible. This is one of our strategies to succeed. At this moment, we consider also applications for 1 month or three weeks depending of the volunteer objectives.
How is a normal day volunteering at SOLS?
The courses start at 8 o’clock and from 8-11 a.m. is the morning class, then, we have a lunch break. Courses start again from 2 – 5 p.m. and we have a couple of courses in the evening for some internal students. Normally, the volunteer job takes 6 – 8 hours morning and afternoon classes, depending on the situation of the center.
“I feel more of a global social responsibility to give back to society” George, Volunteer at SOLS 24/7.
Read more about his experience here
What can a volunteer do during his free time?
There are different things to do with the community and the students. You can learn about the culture, the typical food and get involved in cultural activities with them. There are also several temples to visit for example: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm or Angkor Thom. Our volunteers can travel to visit local and historical places and are able to travel around in their spare time. Cambodia has a lot of holidays so traveling around Cambodia is a good option.
The most important for us and for the people who really like to teach and become part of the community, is how much they can interact with the students.
In the past there were volunteers who only teach in the class and they stay in their room for the rest of the time.
So actually, the more they can be involved, the better. That’s how the students feel close to the foreigners and it is a very good education for them to actually know that, we are all human beings and that we all should work together to reduce inequalities. This is one of the most important aspects of education and that is also why we send the volunteers to the provinces.
It sounds like the perfect job, how do I become a volunteer at SOLS?
Volunteers can apply online. Applicants are requested to attach a CV and a motivational letter. As soon as they contact us, we send an application form. They fill in the application form and then we conduct a Skype interview to select the volunteers.
What would you say to another young person who is interested in working in the field of social development?
I come from Japan and I have been working for social development for about eight years. The most enriching experience I’ve had in Cambodia is the fact of experiencing the same life as the locals: Eating the same food, living in the same room, listening to their stories and understanding their difficulties.
I believe when you really want to work in social development, first you need to understand the community and their situation.
You will never be able to have an understanding of social issues if you just read a book or search on the internet. You have to be immersed in the situation and experience it yourself.
I would highly recommend these opportunities to people who are looking for answers about life.
We thank SOLS 24/7- Cambodia and Naoko, for an in-depth and fascinating interview, and you guys for reading this blog! Don’t forget to leave your comments and share this with your friends, we very much appreciate your feedback!