Opening an NGO in Cambodia

Hello everyone,

I'm Jun a 29 year old girl from Barcelona. I've been living in SE Asia for the past 5 years and I've been planning a new project I'd like to develop in Cambodia.

Basically I'm part of the humanitarian aid committee in SE Asia and I've been working with different NGO's. I realised tho a lot of them focus their efforts in children and young learners (schools, orphanages...) but I don't really see many helping out teenagers or the youth in terms of education. At least in Cambodia I'm only aware there's a local NGO without many resources focused in that area.

Together, with a friend of mine, we would like to open a higher education school where students from 15 to 18 years old could apply to study for free one of our 3 different courses and live within the community with all expenses covered.

I'd like to know if any of you have any experience in this field or at least any contacts that could be handy to have. We are planning on visiting Cambodia and deciding the location soon. At the moment we are getting sponsors and funding for the project but any help or tips would be great to have :)

Regarding the location, let's see if maybe you could recommend me a place where you think we could build the school and the community surrounding it to host the students. It would be handy to have a direct road connexion to Phnom Penh but personally I'd like to build all of this up near the sea. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!!


First doing a social work you need a location where people are in need of education not the seaside to enjoy paid vacation by donars like many NGO doing.
If you are sincere to help others you have to work at grassroots level not sitting in luxury office and driving four wheeler with the money that donor's give for work.
NGO is a business now that spent 97% themselves and three percent on field and unfortunately I that three percent also disappear on the way to poor.
Honesty no need an Explanation it speaks by itself.


With more than 4000 NGO's already in Cambodia one can ask if it's really necessary to start another NGO.
Schools are widespread and education is free of charge. Even the smallest communities have a primary and secondary school plus a high school not too far away.

Here is a link to the NGO list of Cambodia, go over it and find several NGO's that do what you would like to do.

Cambodia expert team

Well honestly, you know nothing about me, my background or the stuff I need for the NGO I'm trying to build.
I asked for tips, you basically judged everything I said.
Thanks tho, great help

Well, I could discuss with you for hours why I believe I should try this out considering I've been working on it for several years and it has nothing to do with getting a general education but specialising in different fields. I'm working with few NGO's from different countries in SE Asia and the community we are trying to build is more than just offering education is about giving them tools to create their own company and becoming self-sufficient.
I understand you all live in Cambodia and that gives you the "expert on the field" tittle, hey fair enough. I've lived and open my own cooperative business in southern china, and co-founded an NGO in Philippines after the typhoon. I'm not a posh type girl with wealthy parents, I worked my ass off and did what I believed it was right. I'm not planning on spending my life in Cambodia as if this project works, different countries would be able to benefit from it.
As said, this is something that has been planned, studied and trying to become real. I thought it would be good to say hi, get to know you and ask if you guys could help in a way.
Don't get me wrong, if anyone is interested and have real questions I can answer or debate about it, I'd be happy to do it but so far you only know about my project the few introducing lines I posted.
Don't be that narrow-minded, it will get you wrinkled


Your sour response is aimed at what?
You accuse people of not knowing your ideas, tools, mission, but at the same time you keep yourself hidden behind generalities, so indeed nobody knows what you're up to.

Your first post was about educating teenagers and giving them a place to live.

Now you're complaining that it's not about education but to help them start their own business.
Usually teenagers don't start businesses, so are you aiming at young adults instead?

You see that you confuse by giving different information.

I gave you a list of NGO's in Cambodia so you could find similar NGO's that you are thinking to start up, but obviously you didn't like my help.

I wish you all the best.


Government legislation and monitoring of NGO's is (finally) getting more strict and better regulated here in Cambodia. Also, over the past few years, the government has become a lot better at making sure expats have proper visas and work permits. 

This has been good for the country and the industry - helping to cull a number of 'suspect' NGO's who didn't have the necessary paperwork and/or MOU's with the appropriate Government Ministries.  It has also been a boon in our line of work as we specialize in providing services for NGO and business registration and also visas and work permits for expats.  During 2017 to present, we have seen a lot more expats and NGO's coming to us seeking assistance to "get their paperwork in order" so they can continue to do their projects and/or work in Cambodia.

Previously (especially prior to the run-up of the 2018 federal election), it was relatively easy to start a community project without worrying about having paperwork, permits, etc.  Now, like many other countries, you've got to have all of your ducks in a row first before you can plant a single seed in the ground or lay a single brick for the foundation.

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