At Human and Hope Association we have made the decision to no longer accept English Teaching volunteers. Whilst we really appreciate the passion and enthusiasm our past volunteers have brought to Human and Hope, there are many reasons why we have reached this decision.
We are big believers in empowering our local staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to be good teachers. By running weekly workshops with our Teachers, we are helping them to become better teachers. These workshops are run by skilled locals, and if a local does not have the knowledge, our one Western staff member will run the workshop. It is important for our staff to see that Khmer people have just as much ability as Westerners, which unfortunately they have not seen in the past as they have tend to believe in the advice and opinions of Westerners over their own skills and experience.
Many of our English teaching volunteers had no previous teaching experience, or even spoke English as a first language. This makes it difficult to effectively teach our students and pass on skills to our staff. Yes, we have had some GREAT volunteers who were qualified teachers in their home countries, however they represent a small percentage of our volunteers. Think about it – would you be able to teach at a school in a Western country without qualifications? Although the majority of our Khmer teachers at Human and Hope do not have qualifications themselves, we are taking steps to get them there, and want to set good examples by ensuring they are surrounded by qualified, professional people.
Working with Children
Many of our students come from challenging backgrounds, which require a knowledge of the Cambodian culture and behaviours to deal with any problems that may arise. Our local staff are more suited to dealing with these issues, as they are from the surrounding villages and often know the families. Additionally, given Cambodia is a breeding ground for sex crimes, we have no way to ensure the volunteers we accept are trustworthy enough to work with children. Yes, the large majority of people just want to help those in need, but we must do what we can to protect our students and staff.
If you still wanted to help us, a donation goes a long way! We run on a strict budget, and donations can ensure we can hire staff to work more hours, put our existing staff through courses and workshops, and overall provide our students with good quality education.