Build a House in Cambodia

Tabitha coordinates volunteer building teams from around the world. Teams supply the additional money and work under the direction of Khmer builders to construct a small house.  Local families are expected to contribute a portion of the cost, usually between $25 and $100. It may take families nearly four years to save this amount, and while it seems little to us, it is a huge effort for them.  The average family earns less than $1/day.


To date, 12,000 volunteers have build 9,222 houses.  Every year, over 75 building teams visit from around the world.

Teams are comprised of at least 10 volunteers planning to fund and build 10 houses.  Each year there are 2 or 3 teams travelling from Canada – students, corporate groups, church groups and retirees.  In 2014 we had the first all women team build 10 houses.

Benefits to you

Get a meaningful experience while visiting Cambodia. The team members will experience not only the tourist attractions but will come to understand and befriend Cambodians – both the poorest and the middle class.

Learn about poverty.  What is it like to be poor in a poor country, with no social safety net?  Learn the causes of poverty, the results of poverty and the solutions to poverty.

Benefits to locals

Sense of pride for local site builders.   Give Cambodians an opportunity to teach foreigners the skills of house building – rather than being taught by the foreigners.

Selected families are role models.  The families chosen represent the very poorest in their communities as well as being role models for their courage and faith in their own ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

A team of 10 or more people can volunteer (sorry no individuals).  In 1995, Andy Payne, a teacher with United World College in Singapore asked us to develop a project for his students to visit and volunteer.  To date, 12,000 volunteers have build 9,222 houses.  Every year, over 75 building teams visit from around the world.

Your role as a volunteer house builder

  • pay all your own expenses.
  • raise money for some of the cost of materials.
  • come and build the house in the community.
  • visit sites and learn about Cambodia’s history.  Take home memories to share with others.
  • After returning home, volunteers are encouraged to help find markets for our silk products as well as raise additional funds to help more families.

Volunteer house builders need to raise US$1,650 for each house they plan to build.

The number of houses which can be built depends on the size of the team, and the time available. On average, teams of 16-20 can build 5-6 houses a day. Any funds raised in excess will be used towards helping more families in the community development project, in drilling wells for clean water, or building more homes if time allows.