We have compiled a small list with questions and answers about the work we do at Sok Sabay. If you would like to ask a question that is not in this page, please feel free to “Contact Us” and we will do our best to answer it.
I have read about the plight of orphaned children in Cambodia. Is Sok Sabay an orphanage? The Sok Sabay shelter in Phnom Penh is not an orphanage. Almost every child under our care has one or both biological parents still alive. The children at the Sok Sabay shelter cannot be raised by their own parents for many reasons and have been referred to us by care agencies and social workers. These children have been, in some cases, rejected or abused by their own families. Most children are still in contact with their natural families and if they wish, they can spend Khmer festivities and holidays with them. Other children have some contact, while others have no contact at all.
Children at the Sok Sabay shelter are sent to a private school. How expensive is this? Why not go to a public school instead? The quality of public education in Cambodia is very limited, after many years of civil war and destruction of infrastructure and human capital by the Khmer Rouge. There are still many challenges to overcome until public education becomes a viable option again. The cost of a private, quality school in Cambodia is very modest compared to private schools in Western countries: a year of full-time private education (in English and Khmer) costs around US$1200 per student, not including uniforms and school materials.
Does Sok Sabay have a shelter in Laos? No. The project in the Akha villages of Laos is run by the local community, foreign charities and Sok Sabay, and does not include a shelter. The project includes providing scholarships to disadvantaged female students and training local teachers to intervene, manage and expand the educative possibilities of those girls. The project will eventually include the construction of school halls and dormitories for the students, but it will not include a shelter for neglected children, like the project in Cambodia.
I am going to Cambodia on holidays and I want to volunteer for Sok Sabay. Can you tell me how to do this? To apply for a volunteer position with Sok Sabay you must fill out the form in the "I want to volunteer" page, and have to be approved by the Sok Sabay Association before you arrive to Cambodia. Since we do background checks on your application, we cannot accept "walk-ins" - if you plan to holiday in Cambodia and want to volunteer, you must submit your application to us - and be approved - one or two months before your expected date of arrival.
I am going to Laos on holidays and I want to volunteer for Sok Sabay. Can you tell me how to do this? Our project in Laos is not accepting volunteers at the moment. The operations on the field are carried by a team from Sok Sabay and local Akha villagers.
My application to volunteer for the Sok Sabay shelter in Phnom Penh was accepted. What should I do now? When your application for volunteering was approved, a start date was agreed upon; we suggest you arrive to Phnom Penh a week before the start of your commitment so as to adjust to the jet-lag, learn how to navigate the city and see the sights. Cambodia is a beautiful country that has lived through terrible times in the past half-century. It has become very popular as a backpacking and tourism destination in the last 20 years. Wikitravel has a wealth of information about travelling to Cambodia. Remember that Sok Sabay cannot arrange flights, accommodation or transport for you, so you need to carefully review your options before arriving to the country. Once you have arrived at your accommodation in Phnom Penh, you should contact us as soon as possible. We'd love to meet you!