Do something powerful, different and a little bit out of the ordinary on your next family vacation! Spend ten days as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, giving back to the local community of Ambalangoda, a small coastal town in the southwest. If your family volunteer abroad then you get the best combination of travelling, making a difference and creating amazing memories. This is the best way for you and your family to experience a more meaningful holiday.
EXPERIENCE TRUE SRI LANKAN LIFE IN A LOCAL FAMILY HOMESTAY
PRACTISE YOUR NEW SINHALESE PHRASES WITH THE LOCALS
A FRIENDLY WELCOME & GOODBYE WITH PRIVATE RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFERS
DEVELOP YOUR FAMILY KNOWLEDGE OF BUDDHISM WITH TEMPLE VISITS & LESSONS
HANDS ON TANGIBLE IMPACT THROUGH COMMUNITY RENOVATION PROGRAM
SPEND YOUR AFTERNOONS TEACHING ENGLISH, & WORKING WITH SEA TURTLES
VISIT THE GRAND COLONIAL BUILDINGS & UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF GALLE FORT
CHILL BY THE BEACH & ENJOY WHALE WATCHING OR WATERSPORTS IN MIRISSA
COUNT WILD ELEPHANTS ON SAFARI IN UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
WIDELY CONSIDERED TO BE PMGY’S TOP OVERALL DESTINATION & BEST LOCAL TEAM
SUMMARY OF THE FAMILY VOLUNTEERING IN SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE
The Sri Lanka Family Volunteer Experience offers adventurous families the opportunity to embark on a thrilling trip across Sri Lanka. Our local team provides a structured and inclusive itinerary across a number of amazing sites around the south. In addition, your family will dedicate time to volunteer in Sri Lanka and support local communities. This makes the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience ideal for those who wish to explore and engage in new experiences with their loved ones.
On the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience, you will arrive into Colombo on your chosen date, welcomed by your host family. You’ll receive an orientation and induction into the Sri Lankan lifestyle, plus the chance to learn about their traditional culture.
After that, your time will be spent volunteering and making a positive impact in the local community. For the younger members of the family, volunteering as a family will play a fundamental role in learning many life skills.
For instance, the family will have the chance to give back, learn about self-sacrifice, plus develop an appreciation for new cultures and challenges that other less-developed communities face. You will also get to see the results of your efforts, which is in itself will be highly rewarding. All underpinned by the bonds and togetherness you will further establish as a family on this unique journey.
Finally, you and your family will have some well-deserved travel time to take in more of this stunning island. You will explore the culture of Galle, relax in the stunning beaches of Mirissa and spot elephants at Udawalawe National Park.
Sri Lanka may be small but it has over 2,000 years of culture, 8 (yes 8!) Unesco World Heritage Sites, endless beaches, lush rainforests, welcoming people, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, oodles of elephants, wonderful food and so, so much more.
From one destination to the next, you won’t need to worry about a thing as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka. All your in-country private transport and accommodation will be arranged by our local team. This helps to ensure that your experience abroad is as smooth as possible. Our team will arrange numerous activities for you to enjoy and engage in during your trip. For any spare time, our local experts will be able to help you discover the impressive range of activities you can get involved in during your time in Sri Lanka.
Across this 10 day itinerary, be prepared for breathtaking sites, developing family bonds and complete cultural immersion. The adventure is perfect for any family volunteering in Sri Lanka that are looking to travel within a safe and structured environment.
EXPLORING SRI LANKA
As exquisite as Sri Lanka might be, it’s certainly had its share of challenges, from years of war to overpowering tsunamis. However, the country has been moving forward quickly, which puts Sri Lanka now firmly on many travellers itineraries. In fact, it has been a favourite destination of PMGY volunteers and adventurous travel tours for many years, almost like a best-kept secret!
During your first week, there is so much to see and do in Ambalangoda and the surrounding areas of Hikkaduwa. Ambalangoda is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The town has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and shops, including a very popular ice cream parlour. Hikkaduwa has long been among the most popular of Sri Lanka’s beach spots, with a lively and fun vibe.
With travelling distances so short and sights to see aplenty, it means your final few days are spent enjoying the huge diversity of this island without having to spend lots of time in transit. Your family will travel together by private vehicle visiting some of the best destinations Sri Lanka has to offer, as well as some of the hidden gems most visitors never see! A PMGY coordinator will accompany you throughout your stay so you’ll get the chance to learn so much about the country’s culture and history.
The first stop of the weekend travel after a hard week volunteering will be Galle. Galle is always a favourite of ours. The UNESCO World Heritage protected Galle Fort was originally built in the 16th Century by the Portuguese, then extensively modified by the Dutch a century later. There’s a winding maze of streets with Colonial-era architecture mixing old and new between the ancient Fort walls. You will spend time walking across the Fort, taking in the beautiful scenery and ocean beyond.
After Galle, it is time to relax and unwind on the fabulous Mirissa beach. This location is regarded as one of the best stretches of coastline in the whole of the island. Here there are water sports and whale watching on offer too. It is definitely a place to let time go by without a care in the world.
Finally, your last stop will be the breathtaking Udawalawe National Park. Largely comprised of grasslands and bush forest, it is renowned for being one of the world's best places to see wild elephants. Your family will take a jeep safari to encounter the local wildlife, will you be lucky enough to spot a leopard too?
The national park was specifically created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The reserve thus provides an important habitat for many Sri Lankan elephants, crocodiles and amazing leopards, with many attracted to the park because of the reservoir.
With a herd of around 250 permanent resident elephants, the area is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country. Meanwhile, be sure to keep an eye out for many of the wild birds, sloth bears and reptiles that you can also encounter on the safari as well.
Your family will stay together for your entire adventure, sharing moments and memories that will stay with you forever. On this family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience, you have the unique chance to immerse yourself with members of the local community, making your time in Sri Lanka even more special.
Our community and development work in Ambalangoda runs throughout the year and over the course of the week, you’ll have the opportunity to join three of our Sri Lanka volunteer projects.
PMGY’s family volunteer abroad experience allows you to truly immerse yourself in the Sinhalese culture, spending time in the community and learning about what life is like for the local people. Getting involved in our community development projects on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience ensures that you’ll make a positive impact during your time with PMGY.
Each morning you’ll roll up your sleeves as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, getting stuck into some painting & renovation work within the local community. This will usually be from 9am-12pm. After a spot of lunch and a well-earned rest, the afternoons will give you the opportunity to work on our community projects, around 3-6pm.
The first three afternoons will be spent on our community teaching program and the final afternoon will be spent on our turtle conservation program. Private transport will be arranged to get you all to and from your project.
The one thing that every volunteer in Sri Lanka will never forget is the genuine friendliness and warmth shown by the locals. Similarly, just walking through the village you’ll be greeted with smiles and waves – it really does feel like a second home.
The English teaching project has been tailor-made for your family, giving you the chance to give back to other families in the Ambalangoda area through education. As a result, each afternoon you will be teaching English to the local families, developing their conversation skills and confidence. You’ll need to plan activities and games for a fun-filled productive afternoon.
When your family volunteer abroad, not only will they be aiding low-income families with their English development, but it will also give you a chance to learn more from them! You will be amazed by their lifestyle and Sri Lankan culture, in what is sure to be an enriching experience.
Using your skills and energy to enhance the English and confidence levels of other families in the Ambalangoda community is sure to be one of the many highlights across your time in Sri Lanka. In addition, we are sure long-lasting bonds will be formed, plus and a lot of fun and learning from both sides along the way.
The presence of each family volunteering in Sri Lanka gives the children an insight into different cultures; a global perspective they greatly benefit from. Use your creativity and knowledge to help these eager young minds reach their true potential. The first two hours are spent teaching English and the last hour is allocated for games and activities.
RENOVATION & COMMUNITY
PMGY renovation volunteers can be based at a wide range of community facilities in and around Ambalangoda. For example, you could be helping out at schools, government hospitals, children’s homes or Buddhist temples. These institutions often struggle to find the funding and manpower to undertake important development work.
Moreover, even for government schools and hospitals most of the allocated budget it stretched for the basic necessities. Resources such as books, medication and health supplies are often understocked, as well as being understaffed. As a result, renovation work is a very low priority and often overlooked in these establishments.
Meanwhile, Buddhism is the most practised religion in Sri Lanka, with over 70% of the population following this ancient philosophy. With a deep history preserved by Sinhalese kings, this religion retains its importance to the country, promoting Buddhist education and learning to this day. In each town and village, there is a Buddhist temple for followers to worship Lord Buddha and learn about his teachings. These temples require a lot of maintenance and upkeep from the local community.
Therefore, our Sri Lanka renovation volunteers offer a helping hand whilst also learning about their fascinating culture. This could be building flower offering tables in the temple, renovating classrooms, or brightening up hospital wards. With your help, we can continue to support Ambalangoda’s community projects and you can do your bit to leave a lasting impression.
Each family volunteering in Sri Lanka doesn’t need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help.
SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION
Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. This is due to many reasons, such as fishing, pollution, climate change and poaching. Therefore, when your family are volunteering in Sri Lanka you get the opportunity to experience the efforts that are being made to counteract detrimental human activity.
In Sri Lanka, there are five species of turtles that are commonly encountered. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most common turtle species and will likely be the one you come across the most if you volunteer in Sri Lanka. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka. They are more commonly found on the East Coast of America.
The Hawksbill (renowned for its beautiful shell), Olive Ridley (smallest of the sea turtles) and Leatherback (largest of the 5 species) are harder to spot for different reasons. Sadly they are critically endangered and sit on the brink of extinction. This is mainly because they have been heavily hunted and fell victim to other human activity as well.
For instance, fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda. The location of the volunteer work in Sri Lanka is very close to the local fisheries port. Sea turtles are often found in fishing nets and many have lost limbs, becoming disabled and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Many of these disabled turtles are found by local fishermen who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.
At the turtle sanctuary, the Sri Lanka volunteer program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles. They have a long term goal to release the healthy turtles back to the wild, as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers. Consequently, every family volunteering in Sri Lanka can get involved in helping out, whilst learning about these wonderful creatures.
• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding
• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area
• Taking care of the nesting area
• Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks
• Assisting with medication
• Cleaning the turtles’ shells
• Counting and burying turtle eggs safely
• Designing education boards around the sanctuary
• Painting and drawing for information and animal welfare education
• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Top PMGY Destination - Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, who are looking for a little extra support, organised travel opportunities and want to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.
Exclusive Experience - On the Sri Lanka family volunteer program, we only host one family at any time. This allows you to have a more exclusive experience living alongside the local family and also allows our team to have enough time to ensure you have the best possible experience volunteering in Sri Lanka.
Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on the selected start date.
The following itinerary is based on a standard 10 day family volunteer and immersion program using a Saturday start date.
Day 1 (Saturday) Welcome To Sri Lanka
Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign for each family volunteering in Sri Lanka. The journey to Ambalangoda will take around 2 hours, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle into your homestay.
Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation
Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you and your family about life in Sri Lanka, the “dos and don’ts”, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community.
In the afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda, including the longest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia and an original blue moonstone mine. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the supermarket.
Day 3-7 (Monday-Friday Morning) Family Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Your family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience will start with project work on Monday morning. After a good breakfast at the volunteer accommodation, you will travel by private transport to the project site. During the first week, you will be working on a painting and renovation program in Ambalangoda. This may be at a local school, temple or hospital depending on where the need is at the time. This will involve your family volunteering in Sri Lanka together along with local tradesman.
This is a great project that allows you to get hands-on within the community. By the end of your time with us, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve contributed towards as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, whilst still making a difference in the afternoon projects as well.
After busy mornings volunteering, it will be time to return to the homestay accommodation ready for a well earned Sri Lankan lunch to top up energy levels. After lunch, you and your family will spend a little time preparing and then departing by private transport for your afternoon project.
During this week, each family volunteering in Sri Lanka will spend three afternoons at our community teaching project and the last afternoon working at our turtle conservation project. The community teaching program enables each family volunteering in Sri Lanka to teach English to low-income families within local village communities, who otherwise cannot afford expensive private English lessons.
The turtle conservation program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles with the long term goal to release back to the wild as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers.
Day 7 (Friday Afternoon) Goodbye Ambalangoda – Hello Galle!
After a full week as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka and giving back to the community in Ambalangoda, it’s now time to spend your final few days exploring and travelling what this amazing country has to offer!
You will spend the Friday morning finishing off the final bits to your renovation program. After a final lunch at the homestay, it’s now time to head to the first destination of Galle. The drive to Galle will take around one hour as you and the family begin the weekend trip.
Private transport is used throughout the weekend of travelling, with a member of the local team on hand to co-ordinate the remaining part of the trip. In addition, accommodation and meals are also included for each family volunteering in Sri Lanka.
Galle is always a favourite amongst many travellers in Sri Lanka. The UNESCO World Heritage protected Galle Fort is an 18th-Century Dutch walled town with chic shops, grand colonial houses and beautiful beaches.
You will spend time walking across the Fort, taking in the jaw-dropping scenery as well as the opportunity to pick up some souvenirs from the shops in Galle Town.
After that, we will then travel another hour onto Mirissa beach, where we will settle for the dinner and accommodation base for the evening.
Day 8 (Saturday) Mirissa
The time has finally arrived for a whole free day in Mirissa to relax by the beach after what has been a jam-packed itinerary so far.
Mirissa has a number of water activities you can do to keep you entertained, such as bodyboarding, snorkelling and whale watching. Otherwise, you may wish to simply put your feet up and reflect on what has been a great trip so far as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka!
Day 9 (Sunday) Udawalawe National Park
In the early hours of Sunday morning, it’s an early start as we make the drive across the country to head to Udawalawe National Park for a safari. The national park was specifically created to provide a sanctuary for the wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The reserve thus provides an important habitat for many Sri Lankan elephants with many attracted to the park because of the reservoir.
With a herd of around 250 permanent resident elephants, the area is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country. Be sure to keep an eye out for many of the wild birds and reptiles that you will also encounter on the safari as well.
Not only do you get the chance to enjoy the 3 hour safari across Udawalawe, but you will also get the chance to see between 20-50 baby elephants at a nearby elephant orphanage to Udawalawe. This is the only place in the whole of Sri Lanka to see baby elephants feeding. Depending on timings it will be either a morning feed or evening feed that each family volunteering in Sri Lanka will observe.
After a long but exciting day, it’s time for the 3 hour drive back to Ambalangoda. You'll return to the homestay for a final evening meal and a chance to celebrate after an action-packed weekend. What an amazing and fulfilling experience you have had as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka!
Day 10 (Monday) Last Day
Unfortunately, your epic journey as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka has come to an end. Monday is your last day on the program. It’s time to head home or onto your next far-away destination.
Your return airport transfer is included in the fees. One of our drivers will transfer you back to the airport in order to catch the long flight onwards or home.
* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
CHOOSING AN EXPERIENCE TRIP
What are the program start dates for a family volunteering in Sri Lanka?
The program start dates for the family volunteering in Sri Lanka trip are selected by you. There are no set start dates, as we are able to be flexible based on your intended itinerary.
Can people from outside of the UK or USA join PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers and travel lovers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time in Sri Lanka. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to join the trip in Sri Lanka?
PMGY welcomes each family volunteering in Sri Lanka of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. Any children are required to be at least 5 years old on the program start date. There is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak Sinhalese or Tamil. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Sri Lanka will go a long way.
Each family volunteering in Sri Lanka must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of joining us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Travelling and volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Family Volunteer Experience?
For your trip to Sri Lanka, you should book your flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport on your selected start date. The airport code is CMB. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the tenth day of your trip and you should depart the accommodation on this day. Should you be interested in amending your time frame of the trip with us this is possible.
Are there any age restrictions to be a participant in Sri Lanka?
In order to join the family volunteering in Sri Lanka, any children are required to be at least 5 years old on the program start date. There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70 years old.
When should I apply to join the family volunteering in Sri Lanka?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 45 days prior to your start date.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our participants work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, participant safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our participants are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international travellers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist participants 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join the family volunteering in Sri Lanka, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my experience program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka, you need to pay the Registration Fee within 7 days of your application being successful. Consequently, you are only required to pay the deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. The only exception to this is for applications made 45 days or less in advance of the program start date. In these instances, the full balance must be paid within 7 days of being accepted in order to secure your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application. This usually takes 24-48 hours from the application being submitted.
Payments made in advance of the 45 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Do you offer an online TEFL course?
For PMGY volunteers teaching English in Sri Lanka, the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. However, if you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory online TEFL course for English language teaching abroad.
At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is obviously hugely convenient. The course can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You have got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. Obviously, an hour here and there certainly adds up. Therefore there really is no pressure.
Once completed, you’ll not only have acquired key skills for teaching English abroad but also an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules in the future. There are 5 modules to this 60 hour course, covering aspects including ‘The Roles of the Teacher’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.
The cost of the course is 120 USD. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programs and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please contact us.
Can I fundraise for my family volunteering in Sri Lanka trip?
With PMGY, the money our participants pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Sri Lanka program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that each family volunteering in Sri Lanka sets up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For each family volunteering in Sri Lanka looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide participants in Sri Lanka with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For individuals on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience who have already confirmed their place on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my trip?
It is possible that as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your trip to Sri Lanka. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your program destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to Sri Lanka?
When you apply to join a trip with PMGY, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To join the Family Volunteer & Immersion Experience, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka.
For every family volunteering in Sri Lanka from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All participants in Sri Lanka will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare for your family volunteering in Sri Lanka. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Sri Lanka program involve either a private room or sharing a room with your family members.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka trip. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide participants in Sri Lanka with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code on the family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our participants adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Sri Lanka.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible if your program includes a volunteer placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 75-100 USD per person per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
Your family volunteering in Sri Lanka trip involves travelling across Sri Lanka with your family. You will follow a set itinerary across your time on the trip. This means that there is no opportunity to take part in any independent travel across the trip dates.
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your trip. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to explore.
During your time as a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, you will live in our homestay accommodation just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk journey into the main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. You’ll be living with a Sri Lankan host family, a great way to immerse yourself into the Sri Lankan culture & lifestyle!
The homestay accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean. Each room can have a double bed, single beds or bunk beds. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room during evenings and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as a personal locker to store your valuables. However, volunteers are still encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Sri Lanka.
The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem for a family volunteering in Sri Lanka, as the climate is hot and humid all year round! The house will have access to Wi-Fi and a communal area for your family to relax. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled.
The host family will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security. We will transport you via tuk-tuk or private car to and from your volunteer placement, which is usually between 5-10 minutes away from the house. This service is included in your Program Fee.
During the travelling part of your family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience, you will stay at guesthouses or hotels sharing a room with your other family members. All rooms will be basic but clean, comfortable and have the amenities you need. For instance, they will have fans and western bathrooms.
You will be served three meals per day every day across the whole of your family volunteering in Sri Lanka experience. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.
During the travelling part of your trip for the final few days, meals will either be in a menu or buffet format. In addition, there will be standard breakfast provided too.
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
The Sri Lanka Family Volunteer Experience requires a minimum of 2 persons to run.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
If you’re applying within 45 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 45 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Sri Lanka works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 51 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Sri Lanka and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.