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Uplifting volunteer news



The ODA family values its volunteers more than words can say.

Thinking of volunteering in an Asian country

Why not try working with us at ODA?

Volunteers Sue, Terry and Sylvia with Leng and an Education official 2023

The difference you can make to our students and teachers extends far beyond the classroom and gives them the confidence, motivation and determination to succeed in life. ODA was buzzing in January this year when some of our longest serving volunteers returned. The stimulation and enthusiasm that bubbles over during these special times is infectious. We would love to gain more enthusiastic volunteers. While a teaching background is a bonus, it's not essential. If you enjoy connecting and conversing with people (this is a simple way to help our teachers and students learn the English language), immersing yourself in new cultures and embracing new challenges, volunteering at ODA would be the perfect fit. One of our long serving teachers started out as an English teacher and through connecting with our volunteers, crossed over to Business Management and is now working in Tourism with the Government. Cambodia is opening up in so many areas now so whatever your background, the diversity you bring to these outlying village youngsters is something they cannot experience otherwise. If you’ve ever thought of volunteering in an Asian country, please contact us to find out more today!

Your time spent with our teachers and students will really make a difference and you will love the experience. Many return yearly once they have formed strong bonds with the eager students and teachers.


Bob introducing Financial Management to the secondary students this year.

Old school friends, Bob re met ODA’s Shirley at a small town reunion 8 years ago, and agreed to visit ODA and investigate teaching innovative math to our students. Initially the students were wary of math, saying they weren’t good at it. However from the first 10 mins they were hooked! Bob has since volunteered annually to teach English for at least 4 to 6 weeks duration since 2015 (Covid aside). He teaches “English” by instructing in English in the context of, for example, “rolling a dice” that can be physically demonstrated and so understood by the students in Khmer. The students connect their Khmer words for what is happening to the English words he is using to describe that action. Bob brings to ODA more than 30 years experience as an RMIT University Faculty of Engineering (Communication Engineering) academic. He has a special interest in education that is learner focused, project based, and technology assisted.

Terry middle rear, enjoying seeing the Free School Uniform Distribution taking place January 2023

Terry a retired Engineer and very long term volunteer is working with Leng, Lai Hun and My Sung to work on changing ODA from the Excel Accounts that Accountants for International Development (AfID) set us up with in 2014, over to the Xero Accounting Package. This system is being used widely in Cambodia now and will give Leng up to date financial management reports to base daily and longer term planning and executions on. Terry says it’s so much easier when they are all on site together, rather than on line.

Sylvia along with her husband Terry when they worked at ODA No 1 school in January

Sylvia ODA Teacher Support Manager: A retired teacher and of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and has been volunteering in January for some 11 years now. She and her husband Terry (see above) heard of ODA from good friends who were on the 2nd APT Asian Cruise. They contacted ODA and, like their friends, fell in love with what Leng was trying to achieve, and the rest is a wonderfully long active story. Sylvia also works with Sue (see below) observing the ODA Teachers in the Village Schools, and offering advice to Po the Schools Manager.

Sue middle front with Po and his teachers, share issues and solutions together.

Sue, the another ODA Teacher Support Manager was there for a very busy month, observing teachers delivery and class management. Sue heard of ODA whilst on holiday in Siem Reap some 5 years ago. Thankfully she followed us up and has been a staunch volunteer since. She works in supporting student teachers at a UK University and prior to that was a Principal for many years. Perfect background to assist Po Piet, our ODA Schools Manager. As well as observing the teachers, Sue spent some time with them looking at aspects of behaviour management, lesson planning and activities and games to support the learning. The teachers are very enthusiastic to learn and improve their practice so were appreciative of the work Sue was doing and the ideas she brought to them. Sue was delighted to observe the teachers taking some of the ideas they had learned from her, forward in their classes.

Ruedi and Vey starting from scratch on the office revamp.

Ruedi A Swiss Master Cabinet Maker has volunteered with ODA since 2011. He also was holidaying in Siem Reap, heard about ODA and visited. His exacting Swiss standards were impressed on the ODA Central students and as a result they have built much of ODA interiors and the Pizza Oven under his tuition. Trai Vet was even able to build ODA’s No 7 school from Reudi’s teaching. He also influenced several ODA young students to study Civil Engineering. This year with Ruedi they’ve re fitted out the ODA office. Everyone was on the job learning as they went along. Check ODA’s Facebook for more pics of the students of all ages involved in the office revamp.

Leng and Lai Hun working Expanded work spaces

Lovely new fit out for Leng and Lai Hun to work in thanks to Ruedi

Volunteers have assisted Leng to make ODA what it is today. Think about coming and making a difference with us.

As you can see, whatever your background, profession or interests, the impact your contributions can bring are so beneficial to our ODA community. Whether you try your hand at teaching, or simply share stories about where you live or places you've travelled (photos are also great!), everything broadens the students' knowledge. Volunteer by simply being yourself. Contact us today to find out more!

Donations are the lifeline that keeps our classes running for the young subsistence farming kids.

A new year is unfolding and our teachers are enthusiastically planning their lessons to involve more participation and create fun activities around their curriculum for their students. These participatory teaching methods are still relatively new in Cambodia, however our village students are super keen to participate more and eagerly join in.

Funding remains our largest challenge so if you can assist, even in a small way, our free classes will be able to continue. Even $10 -20 a month helps us to cover the operating expenses each month and allows us to plan ahead a little.

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