WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING INTO A TRIP
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability and project closures to volunteers. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy in the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.
This page is designed to provide an overview so you can be better informed about project availability and alternatives before completing your online application.
The exact holiday dates can change sporadically and short notice and are never the same from one year to the next. Therefore, we try and provide the typical periods below within each country where holidays usually fall.
In addition, there are many odd public holidays that can affect project availability across the year. This is not just limited to our community teaching and childcare projects, but can also extend to other parts of the project network within that country such as wildlife and medical projects. In these situations, volunteers should expect a free day with no project alternatives and a chance to immerse within any festivities or celebrations that the holiday may bring.
🇨🇷 SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
The general school holidays in Costa Rica are:
Spring – Middle of April
Summer – Early to middle of July
Winter – Middle of December to middle of February
During the school holidays, our childcare projects can always benefit from the additional volunteer support and some childcare projects we support have availability all year round asides from public holidays.
Alternatively, the local team will provide a platform for volunteers to lead after-school programs held at the Spanish school for the young working children of Coronado. This program is a new opportunity for children in the local area to learn English from volunteers in a classroom setting.
🇪🇨 QUITO, ECUADOR
The general school holidays in Ecuador are:
Spring – Early to middle of February
Summer – Most of July and all of August
Winter – Middle of December to early January
During the summer holidays all community projects, including childcare will be closed. Availability will be limited to prearranged afterschool programs. The childcare placement is open all year round so volunteers may also spend time supporting at this project in the holidays.
🇵🇪 CUSCO, PERU
The general school holidays in Peru are:
Summer – Middle of July to middle of August
Winter – Middle of December to the middle of March
During the school holidays, we continue to host volunteers at the after-school PROGRAMS FOR the young working children and street children of Cusco. Additional help is also needed at the childcare programs, where volunteers can help with teaching English, organising games and activities for the children during the school vacation and providing daily care and interaction to the children with special needs. The medical project is generally available all year round.
🇬🇭 KUMASI, GHANA
The general school holidays in Ghana are:
Spring – Middle of April to middle of May
Summer – Most of August
Winter – Middle of December to early January
During the school holidays, we do run our own community education programs on an ad hoc basis. These are done in the form of holiday classes so from time to time there is some teaching work available. In the summertime, summer camps run daily at the local schools we work with. Additional help is also needed at the childcare and disabled children programs, where volunteers can help with teaching English, organising games and activities for the children during the school vacation and providing daily care and interaction to the children with special needs.
🇲🇦 RABAT, MOROCCO
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. Muslims are to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits – essentially to clean up their lives, thoughts, and feelings. The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.
Therefore, fasting is not merely physical but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.
The dates for Ramadan are 2nd April to 1st May (2022).
During this period working hours are limited and there is a greater focus and need to help out with organising activities at the childcare centres we support in Rabat. These activities range from art, games and sport as well as some informal English Lessons. We ask that volunteers are patient as day-to-day efficiency is reduced during this period. Furthermore, it is not permitted to smoke, drink or eat in public during this period. We also ask that volunteers make sure they dress more conservatively during this period to avoid offending the locals.
The maid at the Volunteer House will still provide you with breakfast and dinner during Ramadan. There is only one restaurant open in the Medina for lunch during Ramadan. Ali will show you where this restaurant is so you can purchase lunch. Volunteers may also choose to buy food from the shops to bring back to the house and eat lunch and snacks here.
🇿🇦 CPT, SOUTH AFRICA
The general school holidays in South Africa are:
Spring – Two weeks in April
Summer – Late June to the middle of July
Autumn – First week of October
Winter – Middle of December to the middle of January
During the period where schools will be closed volunteers usually get involved in one of the childcare projects that we support. Volunteers may also take this chance to travel and explore South Africa a little further.
Please note all the projects close from mid-December to mid-January time where the Volunteer House also shuts down for the Christmas break.
🇿🇦 KWANTU, SOUTH AFRICA
The reserve is open all year round and as such volunteer work is not affected by national holiday periods.
🇹🇿 ARUSHA, TANZANIA
The general school holidays in Tanzania are:
Spring – Two weeks in April
Summer – The whole of June
Autumn – Middle of September
Winter – The whole of December
Regardless of the school holidays, there will always be English teaching projects running throughout the year that you can take part in. As many of the childcare centres we work with are day centres, there is always teaching opportunities available for volunteers to engage in.
In general, the medical and childcare programs are open to volunteers all year round and are unaffected by the school holiday calendar.
🇮🇩 TABANAN, BALI
The general school holidays in Bali are:
Spring – Middle of March
Summer – June to the middle of July
Autumn – Early November
Winter – Late December to early January
All schools and kindergartens close in Bali from the start of June to the middle of July.
During these periods we run our own holiday camp community program through the day where volunteers will lead each day in terms of teaching English, playing games and doing arts and crafts activities with the children of the Tabanan community.
During the other holiday periods, volunteers will either support other schools in the Tabanan area, concentrate efforts in the afternoon community program or use it as a chance to travel and explore around Bali.
Volunteers are also encouraged to use the holiday time as a chance to get involved and experience the cultural activities and parades that take place at this time.
Please note that during May time is exam time across Bali so programs during this time may not run as structured as usual.
For the wildlife rescue and medical programs holidays tend to have less of an impact on the schedule and project availability, but during main holiday times project work can be limited or unavailable at these times.
🇰🇭 TAKEO, CAMBODIA
The general school holidays in Cambodia are:
Spring – Middle of April and middle of May
Autumn – Early October
Winter – Late November and late December
Volunteers are requested to note that there will be no volunteer work available across these times as the Hope Agency closes for holidays and the children at the childcare centre will usually visit relatives during this period. Volunteers usually use these few days as a chance to travel and explore Cambodia further or even venture across the borders into Vietnam and Thailand.
🇮🇳 DELHI, INDIA
The general school holidays in India are:
Summer – Late May to late June
Winter – Early November and late December
Schools in India close for a short period over Christmas, New Year and also Festival times. During this period our teaching and disabled children projects will be closed so you can get involved in one of our other projects. Medical and childcare projects will be continuously running all year round except on National Holidays.
Project closures can also occur in the slum communities we work in because of extreme weather conditions such as torrential rain making the project unviable and logistics unsafe to arrange or extreme levels of heat making the project too dangerous. Such occasions can happen across the year, but when they happen our team will do their best to provide alternative community project work but this may not always be possible.
🇳🇵 KATHMANDU, NEPAL
The general school holidays in Nepal are:
Spring – March/April
Summer – July and August
Autumn – Late September/Early October and Late October/Early November
Winter – Middle of December to middle of January
For the teaching program, during school holidays volunteers will usually provide the additional support required at the monastery or childcare projects.
The festivals of Dashain and Tihar are the longest and most anticipated festival in Nepal. They last from 15 to 20 days. Dashain festival usually takes place around the final week of September and the first couple of weeks of October. Tihar festival takes place across October and early November.
Unfortunately, the exact dates of the festival are unknown as the festival is based on the lunar calendar. Project work is very limited during this period, although some will be available again usually at the monasteries. Most volunteers who are with us over this period take the time to travel around Nepal and join in with the festivities.
At the monastery for the teaching to Monks program, holidays can be even more sporadic and unpredictable as the schedule does not follow government rules and public holidays nor Hindu Festivals. They essentially adopt their own rules and holidays are not fixed as many of the monasteries we support have donors originating from Japan and China which can influence holiday timings.
🇹🇭 BANGKOK, THAILAND
The general school holidays in Thailand are:
Spring – The whole of April
Autumn – The whole of October
Winter – Early February
Our Thailand community volunteering program runs across the summer months starting in June through to September. There are no prolonged timings where the project will be closed for an extended period. There may be the odd day where the project is closed due to a public holiday and if this is the case volunteers are advised to spend this day exploring Thailand a little more or planning future activities to deliver at the project.
The Thailand elephant and wildlife rescue program run all year round with weekly start dates. However, the project does have limited availability with each start date often reaching full capacity so we advise you to apply sooner rather than later to increase your chances of joining the project on your desired start dates.
🇱🇰 AMBA, SRI LANKA
The general school holidays in Sri Lanka are:
Spring – Most of April
Summer – Most of August
Winter – Most of December
All schools in Sri Lanka close across these periods as above. As our community village teaching program is our own program, on the whole, they remain unaffected by the school holiday dates and run almost all year round.
Likewise, all childcare programs run almost all year round but there may be fewer numbers at these programs than usual during school holidays.
Please note that from April 10th-17th it is the Sinhalese New Year which is the biggest national holiday in Sri Lanka. During this week project work is limited, as most projects are closed particularly at the start of the week which encompasses the biggest Sinhalese New Year celebrations. During this week volunteers will be able to get involved in various celebrations with the community and our local team; we will also organise activities at some of the projects during the week.
🇱🇰 WASGAMUWA, SRI LANKA
The Wildlife Conservation Society program is open all year round and as such volunteer work is not affected by national holiday periods.
🇻🇳 HANOI, VIETNAM
The general school holidays in Vietnam are:
Winter – Late January to the middle of February
Spring – Early May
Summer – Most of June and July
All schools are closed across June and July and sometimes into August. During these months we have a number of holiday camp teaching projects available at community centres so there is always a project that needs your help. Volunteers may also be able to support at the childcare programs we support as well.
Please note that all projects are closed during the TET New Year Festival as this represents the biggest national holiday across the whole year for Vietnamese people. This usually takes place for a 10 day period between late January and the middle of February.
The dates for TET Festival are the 31st January to the 5th February (2022).
During this time the Volunteer House is open with food either provided for independent cooking or prepared by one of the maids. Volunteers are advised to use this time to undergo independent travel as none of the local team will be around the house during this period and no projects will be running. Volunteers can resume their program once the holiday finishes. It is possible to leave your luggage at the Volunteer House during this period if you wish.
WHAT TO DO DURING HOLIDAY TIME?
Join an alternative project within the local community if applicable.
Take the time to plan and prepare activities for when project restarts.
Join in celebrating the festivities and activities the holiday brings.
Spend time recuperating and re-energizing the batteries.
The local team may arrange holiday camps for volunteers to lead activities.
Take some free time to explore the wonders the country offers.
During the holiday period, no alternative project work is provided and volunteers use this as a chance to further explore Cambodia. This is usually only for a one week period.
In the school holidays, we run community education programs on an ad hoc basis. These are in the form of holiday classes so there is some teaching work available.
Holiday periods are difficult to predict, particularly the Monks project. The festivals of Dashain and Tihar are based on the lunar calendar and change annually.
SOUTH AFRICA - CAPE TOWN
From the middle of December to the middle of January, our community projects in Cape Town shut down completely around the Christmas and New Year period.
SRI LANKA - AMBALANGODA
Traditionally from April 10th-17th, the Sinhalese New Year results in limited project work during this period, but great festivity activities and celebrations to engage in.
During the Tet New Year Festival which takes place at the beginning of each year, all projects are closed. Accommodation and food are still provided for the volunteers.