The Young SEAkers: Volunteerism Opens Up Opportunities for Young

Members of the Young SEAkers Cambodia during their monthly meeting. Photo provided

PHNOM PENH – Young Cambodians and people their own age across ASEAN and China have been brought together by a youth-led organization to combine volunteering and personal development.

The Cambodian chapter of Singapore-based Young SEAkers (TYS) was founded in 2020.

Its activities have included panel discussions with distinguished speakers from governmental officials, NGOs, and academia, to ambassadors, as well as from different generations, including senior to young professionals.

Say Vichara, deputy chapter lead of TYS Cambodia, said noticeable improvements in team members could be seen from its events, programs and activities.

By involvement in volunteer activities, students could learn about issues beyond those taught in the classroom. 

“In addition, students can improve their hard skills including writing articles as we also have internal training for our members,” she said.

“They can also improve their soft skills, which include communication, teamwork, time management as well as critical thinking.

“This kind of voluntary work where youths’ capacity building is prioritized would be a good place for them to explore their interests before landing jobs."

Members of the Young SEAkers Cambodia and delegates during the celebration of Cultural Night of Special AFMAM Plus China 2023 in Siem Reap province. Photo provided:

TYS is the first and only Southeast Asia-based youth-led organization with a China and ASEAN angle with chapters in each country.

One project is the Ambassadors’ Youth Town Hall, which gives Cambodian university students a chance to deepen their understanding of the relationships between Cambodia and other ASEAN member states through embassy visits and interactive sessions with ambassadors.

TYS Cambodia leader Vong Saravut said the chapter will bring more students to the embassies of the Philippines, Indonesian, Timor-Leste and China this month.

To benefit the Cambodian community, TYS Cambodia aims to provide information about universities and institutions to high school students in provinces, especially in rural areas, via the SEAkers Education Fair. So far, it has brought the fair to Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri and Stung Treng provinces.

TYS Cambodia will announce its new member recruitment at the end of this year to open up opportunities for young people.

Saravuth said members were occupied by university work, internships or exchange programs but could still adapt, adjust and catch up with the team.

“This is how responsibility is,” he said.

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