This has been our first volunteering experience for Alba and myself and we have had the best time ever! I only regret not doing it before and having so many doubts about it! The country and their people are just amazing and what can I say about the staff from the organization... simply great people! You feel very supported and very loved and there is always someone willing to help. We had lots of time to do our own stuff and explore Cambodia, the food was good and it was interesting to see how the lessons were carried. We absolutely recommend HDLF, we really felt like at home! THANK YOU
some("After 6 weeks teaching at the school I’m happy to say I really enjoyed my time! Teaching was uncomfortable at first, but after a few weeks I found it a lot of fun. Nith, Sophy, Sopheus, and Phearun gave me a lot of freedom in the classroom. They’re amazing teachers to learn from. I really enjoyed working with Juan on special projects and learning about the vision and purpose of the school. To all my friends at HDLF, thank you for the wonderful experience! To all future volunteers, get ready for full, challenging days of teaching and living at school. It’s hard but fun!")
Definitively this has been one of the best experiences in my life. I will never forget the time I spent with the children in the school, they are simply adorable, and it feels so great to be able to help them a little bit to get a better future. I'd wish I could have spent more time with them so I'm already thinking to go back.
The school is situated in the countryside 30min by car from Battambang city, near the school there's a small market you can find basic needs. I really enjoyed the place, the staff and the family living in the school made me feel at home and I already miss them.
I would like to say that from day number one you can feel something especial about this place and its people. Thea's family is very welcoming and easygoing, he is very helpful and talkative, the school is in their house. The place is very old school, simple and charming. There are some organic fruits around the place that the family shares with the volunteers. Cambodian teachers are truly nice people as well, they are very hardworkers and honorable people... much respect. The kids at Kong Klong village are incredible happy, smarts, joyful and beautifil humans, you will learn a lot from them.
They are really welcoming and good people and the idea for the NGO is very good. The classes themselves are not very good as they only make the kids repeat a few sentences each class. Even though I asked if I could change the classes I had no freedom to do so, they should be more open to listen to the vounteers to improve the classes. The place is quite simple clearly so be prepared for no proper bathroom and shower and animals as mice in the bedroom. I had to leave early due to health issues.
We are sad to hear such criticism about our classes from someone who left after just ONE day. As a local grassroots NGO we try our best to deliver practical and useful education within the limits of our teacher's ability. Most of our teachers are trainees from rural areas and have only been speaking English for a few years. Our English and Motivational curriculum is based on AHHA Education's award winning curriculum, which has helped educate and empower tens of thousands of rural poor and is very effective at bringing people from beginner to intermediate level.
All our volunteers have the freedom to change classes, especially if they are unhappy with the classes they are in. During the first few days we encourage volunteers to try certain classes which are best suited to them, after that they can change to focus on areas that they are more interested in. We've had volunteers teach music, dancing, listening ability, critical thinking, art, eco-design and more. We are always happy to receive suggestions and ideas from volunteers and excited to make them happen whenever possible.
We are living in a very rural area of Battambang, surrounded by nature. Therefore, there are obviously going to be animals such as country mice, frogs, snails, dogs, cats and plenty of insects around us. Also, there is no centralised plumbing system anywhere in rural Cambodia so our bathroom/toilet (which you are the first to complain about) do not have a flush and we rely on using buckets for showering and flushing - like most Cambodian people. Despite having no flush our toilets are actually western-style (sit-down), ver clean and tiled, unlike most toilets in rural Cambodia which just have a hole in the ground.
We believe that if you would have stayed with us longer than one day, and actually made the effort to get to know our team you would have come to learn all of this by yourself. If you would have contacted me via Worldpackers I would have been happy to explain everything to you, and even re-locate you to our second school, where the accommodation facilities are less exposed to nature and more comfortable.
Unfortunately because you left suddenly and never came back or informed us that you weren't coming back, it was very difficult to actually do anything to improve your situation and improve your volunteer experience. However, from what the teachers have told me, the main reason you left was because you were scared of the country mice, and there's really not much we could have done about that.