The Peoples of the World Foundation
Education for and about Indigenous Peoples
Volunteer Travel Opportunities in Southeast Asia
Here we list organizations and programs, by country, where travelers can volunteer when traveling. All opportunities involve working in some way with and/or for the benefit of indigenous people. Some organizations are run by indigenous people. Some are places where our board members, past and present, have volunteered. Please contact us if you know of a non-political, secular organization that you think should be added to this list.
Please note that we are not a volunteer placement agency. We make no representation about the kind of experience you may have if you volunteer for any of the organizations listed on this page. We are not affiliated with any of these organizations and we do not represent them.
We recommend that you research the current situation in any country/area before traveling there and check for any visa requirements as well as travel advisories issued by your government. We do not interview, place or recommend individual volunteers to organizations. Please do not contact any organizations listed on this page stating that The Peoples of the World Foundation placed you or recommended you as you will be misrepresenting us as well as yourself.
Volunteer Cambodia Indigenous People (Report broken link) "The project focuses on supporting the Bunong people by assisting local staff to study, and to record and document traditional lifestyle. Whilst the majority of the population in Mondulkiri is Bunong, the culture is facing multiple threats from modernisation. Local people feel that it is essential to document this unique lifestyle before it changes for good."
Cambodia Community-Based Ecotourism Network (Report broken link) "Dei Ey is an ethnic Phnong community living in the middle of the Mondulkiri Protected Forest. The community has a long history of living in this forest having left only during the Khmer Rouge period."
Elephant Valley Project (Report broken link) "The Elephant Valley Project while young is a place where mahouts can go to work, earn [an] income and look after their elephants correctly and all in a place that is dedicated for them."
Pnong Village School Project (Report broken link) "Chong Rang village lies 30km from Sen Monorom and is home to 20 hill tribe families. There is no health centre, no well and no primary school. Mr Yin Sokunthea wants to provide basic reading and writing skills to seven children. Parents support his work by providing a house for him to use as a school, but the children have no books, pens or any other learning materials. Once there, you will be invited to join an activity with the children — maybe a sport or traditional dance — or, if you have teaching skills, you could help to run the lesson. Cost is US $40 per person and includes motorbike taxi, helmet, food and water."
Conversations With Foreigners (Report broken link) "Our students come from all walks of life. We have high school students, university students, police officers, doctors, tuk tuk drivers, government employees, stay at home mums. All students have at least a basic understanding of English, but all lack practice in speaking and listening with foreigners. Students who study at our school are aware that they are directly funding development projects in rural areas and volunteers contribute indirectly to the long-term sustainability of The Cambodian Rural Development Team."
Akha International Workcamp (Report broken link) "In order to help preserve the culture of the Akha people Mr Tho has started a program of works to try [to] introduce volunteers and the young generation to old traditions, in teaching them practical (hill tribe) skills and in giving them the opportunity to give something back to the Akha community."
Volunteers for Ecological & Humanitarian Projects, Akha Hilltribe Aid and Experience (Report broken link) "This project provides the opportunity to volunteer with the indigenous Akha tribes of Northern Thailand. Volunteers will be able to experience first hand their unique culture and traditions."
Indigenous People and Hill Tribe Education Volunteer Project (Report broken link) "Thai Freedom House is a community learning center focused on teaching Thai and English languages and the arts to Burmese refugees, who fled Burma to escape severe human rights violations."
Cultural Canvas Thailand, Artistic Relief Program (Report broken link) "We use art to create an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging where often there is none... The volunteer will have an opportunity to work with various populations including: Burmese refugees, indigenous hill tribes groups, and children from a local orphanage."
Thailand Orphanage & Education Center (Report broken link) "The two tribes at our Children's Home are Lahu and Akha. The hilltribes in Northern Thailand face many challenges, and it is our mission to arm our children with the skills, attitudes and character that they will need to have equal opportunities for their future, like other Thai citizens."
Travel to Teach (Report broken link) "The village is mainly inhabited by Karen people...We take part in the daily teaching at the village school helping the ordinary teacher by providing spoken English."