Just for background info, here's some of the stuff we received and have been studying from our overall host NGO, Developing World Connections:
ORIENTATION – CAMBODIA
This information is expanded in part from Developing World Connections
’ stated philosophy and is intended to remind volunteers of how we believe we best contribute to the betterment of our global community, while conducting our volunteer experience.
While volunteers are representatives of Developing World Connections and we ask you to embrace and act from this philosophy, we understand each individual’s own cultural experiences and differences are going to impact how you inter-relate, and what you get from your volunteer experience.
Remember that Developing World Connections provides the “opportunity” for the volunteer experience. The experience itself will be entirely yours, and the quality of that experience will depend entirely on what you put into it.
Of course, we hope to successfully complete our project, but we also hope the project portion of the trip will provide a profoundly satisfying experience of international understanding and good will that will forever impact your view of your place in our global community.
We hope that through your travel experience and exposure to cultural differences, you will understand more fully and embrace the diversity and the similarities of people of all nations.
WHO WE ARE
Developing World Connections is founded on the belief that being of service to others is one of the most rewarding yet undervalued aspects of a fulfilling life. We believe each of us can contribute to the lives of others, and collectively, our contributions substantially make our home, our province, and our world a better place.
Developing World Connections is a Canadian Charity, non-profit society, and international volunteer experience provider. We are partnered with registered non-profit grassroots organizations in our host countries who direct their energies toward sustainable
development projects and programs.
Developing World Connections coordinates international volunteer experiences. We provide the opportunity for regular everyday people to spend time working on sustainable, poverty alleviating projects in the developing world. Volunteers see first-hand the help that they are giving. They also get to know, up-close, the struggles of people in other parts of the world. We have no professional or religious affiliations. We do not give money, food or medicine. Simply put, we offer people the adventure of helping to improve someone else’s life, and these intense volunteer experiences build empathy and expand participants’ understanding of the world around them. We connect individuals and communities that are a world apart.
Developing World Connections has provided its services since the winter of 2004, contributing to development projects in Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Rwanda, Kenya, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Peru, Tanzania and Haiti.
The society was founded by a group of Rotary members and their friends who had either been introduced to international service work through their involvement in Rotary, or by Rotarians. Most of the board members have had considerable experience conducting hands-on volunteer projects in economically under-developed countries. Their experiences left an indelible imprint and had changed their lives for the better. Family, friends, and acquaintances of the board members had repeatedly asked how they could also have such experiences. Witnessing the positive impact of their efforts and experiencing the joy of service, the board members were motivated to continue their work and to offer others the same opportunity. Developing World Connections exists
to provide this opportunity.
Our vision is a sustainable, socially-just, peaceful, and poverty-free global community where people experience the difference they make and the hope they build, while working alongside each other.
We believe working alongside local people in the developing world on a poverty alleviating project builds hope. Hope for the community and the volunteer, and hope for a better more peaceful world. So, it is our mission to be a conduit for hope and to a difference being made in the world. We exist to connect regular everyday people with communities in the developing world, to work alongside each other, experiencing making a real and lasting difference for the benefit of everyone in our global community.
Developing World Connections is founded on the belief that being of service to others is one of the most rewarding yet undervalued aspects of a full, satisfying life. We believe each of us is capable of making contributions to the lives of others, and collectively, our contributions substantially make our world a better place to live.
We are a service organization, not an aid organization. Through many years of travel in developing countries, we’ve seen too many examples where well-intentioned aid has failed in its attempt to improve conditions for the aid beneficiaries.
Aid often creates dependent individuals and societies. Dependence creates ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, because the ‘giver’ holds a real or perceived position of power over the ‘receiver’. This diminishes the ‘receivers’ perception of their own personal value, which in turn creates the need for further aid, which enhances the power imbalance. And then the cycle continues: the giver gains a further sense of power, so they continue to give; the receiver further develops a sense of diminished power, so they continue to be dependent. What gets sustained is the power / dependence relationship.
Service, on the other hand, is based in equality and interdependence; the goal of which is to provide mutual benefit to everybody involved in the relationship. All of the world’s great spiritual teachings, though they may not always practice it, hold service to others as a founding and sustaining principle. It is understood that in this relationship, when one unselfishly serves another, the benefit, though it may not be in the same form, is at least mutual. The service undertaken is usually more appropriate and considered than aid and provides more mutually beneficial, sustainable futures.