If you are looking for a way to engage with the local community and give back while you are in Siem Reap, I highly recommend stopping in at the Landmine Museum on your way back from the Women’s Temple. The landmine museum is much more than just a museum: it is also an Non Profit Organization (NPO) that supports and educates at-risk youth and children affected by landmines.
The museum was started by Aki Ra, an ex-child soldier, whose goal is to share the story of landmines in Cambodia and how they effect the local people. The museum also hosts a relief center for at-risk youth. The museum is extremely informative and all of the proceeds from entrance tickets, the souvenir shop and restaurant go to support the center. The museum does not allow tourists into the relief center or school, but if you are interested and can commit to a long-term placement they do accept volunteers to teach English and help out at the museum. All volunteers undergo child protection training and must submit a background check before they can begin volunteering. Run in concert with the museum and relief center is a second demining NPO and Rural School Village program that provides access to education to some of the poorest Khmer villages in the process of demining.
This is an amazing NPO to support for two main reasons. The first is that the NPO is run by local Cambodians and they use a holistic approach that encompasses community engagement, education, skills building and support for victims of landmines. The second reason is that they welcome and encourage volunteers, but they require a considerable time commitment and do not allow people to show up and volunteer and do not give tours of the center. For more information please visit the website www.cambodialandminemuseum.org or email email@example.com