Occupational Therapy in Cambodia
- Placement locations: Phnom Penh
- Role: To provide valuable care to babies, children and adults who suffer from a wide range of physical disabilities
- Type of placement: Care centres
- Requirements: Volunteers must have completed one year of Occupational Therapy studies or training
- Accommodation: Shared volunteer apartments
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
If you are training to be an occupational therapist or have recently graduated and are looking to gain more experience, you may be interested in volunteering in Cambodia with Projects Abroad. All Occupational Therapy volunteers in Cambodia must have completed at least one year of occupational therapy related studies or training by the time they join this project.
Occupational Therapy is not a recognised profession in Cambodia, so at the placements Occupational Therapy volunteers work closely alongside Physiotherapy volunteers to provide help and support to the patients. As an Occupational Therapy volunteer you therefore need to be pro-active, and inform the local staff what work you are capable of carrying out. Volunteer occupational therapists in Cambodia will work independently and having specialised skills or an interest in working with disabled people would serve as an advantage.
Occupational Therapy placements in Cambodia
Volunteers who have completed at least one year of occupational therapy related studies, but less than three years, work at the National Baby and Children’s Centre in Phnom Penh. Volunteers must stay for at least 2 weeks. At this centre, you will work with over one hundred babies and children who have a variety of physical or mental disabilities.
The Centre is home to abandoned babies and children from the city and other provinces. The children at the centre are very vulnerable and require constant care. It is important for volunteers to have a positive attitude and a real willingness to help the children who have a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.
The physiotherapy department, where you will work, has put in place a basic schedule for the children, allowing them to have quality time in the therapy room as often as they can. Each child has different needs; some are learning to walk, other children have muscular problems, some do specific exercises and others need to have their joints massaged regularly. Extra help from a volunteer with these tasks will allow more children to use the room and get treatment more often. The therapy room is well equipped by Cambodian standards, with a variety of equipment including cushions, balls, mats and specialised chairs.
Occupational Therapy placements for volunteers with more experience
Volunteers who have spent at least one year studying occupational therapy also have the option to work at a rehabilitation centre for children and male adults living with disabilities and also those affected by HIV. Unfortunately most of the patients have never been officially diagnosed and some have not received any treatment. While the local staff work are extremely dedicated the rehabilitation centre would greatly appreciate your help in this department. You will need to spend at least four weeks on this placement.
Volunteer occupational therapists at the rehabilitation centre will work independently and having specialised skills or interest in working with disabled people would serve as an advantage. Recently graduated Occupational Therapists would also be very welcome at this placement.
Fully qualified Occupational Therapy volunteers, who also have 3 years’ or more work experience and who can stay for at least 8 weeks, can request to work at the Veterans International Centres (VI). The Veterans International centres in Phnom Penh and Prey Veng are two of three physical rehabilitation centres that Veterans International operates in Cambodia. Veterans International has been working with landmine victims and people with disabilities since 1991.
Occupational Therapy volunteers at VI work alongside one of the local physiotherapists and assist children and adults with a variety of conditions including people who have suffered from Meningitis, people with cerebral palsy and children with club feet. Depending on your level of knowledge and experience you may be given your own patients to work with.
The Phnom Penh VI centre has an outdoor undercover treatment area where patients can practise walking up steps, and walking on a variety of surfaces. The Prey Veng VI centre is located about two hours’ drive from Phnom Penh.
While you are volunteering as an occupational therapist in Cambodia, you will stay in one of the Projects Abroad apartments with other volunteers. You can spend your free time exploring Phnom Penh and the surrounding region with fellow Projects Abroad volunteers.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Cambodia Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.