VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with Plan My Gap Year, an award winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of volunteer projects in Sri Lanka including Childcare, Elephant Experience, English Teaching, Medical and Turtle Conservation opportunities.

 

“I went to Sri Lanka for 6 weeks and had an amazing experience. I loved teaching as well as working at the turtle project. The PMGY team in Sri Lanka were incredible, from the coordinators to the tuk-tuk drivers! Everyone is so helpful and easy to approach. PMGY also offered plenty of once in a life time trips, which allow you to see a lot of the country during the weekends. A very well organised company with a great team” – BECCA DAVIES | UNITED KINGDOM

KEY FEATURES

FROM £200 + £149 (REGISTRATION FEE)

PROGRAMMES FOR 16+ YEAR OLDS

No.1 PMGY destination worldwide


Spectacular, exotic & uncrowded island


Extremely affordable


Breakfast, lunch & dinner included daily


Private transport to/from project included

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

LOCATED IN AMBALANGODA

STARTING ON 1ST & 3RD SATURDAY EVERY MONTH

Fascinating, stunning & compact country


Based in exotic beachside location


8 UNESCO World Heritage sites


PMGY accompanied weekend trips


Maldives chill out weekend opportunity

REAL ASIA ENCOUNTER

Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, we seriously can’t think of a more sublime combination of exotic and fascinating countries to volunteer in over a mind blowing 12 weeks.

From £1520

12 WEEKS

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REAL SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE

Do something life-changing with your summer discovering the real Sri Lanka. Spend four amazing weeks exploring and volunteering in this hugely inspiring country.

From £700

4 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE

Get up close and personal to these majestic creatures. Based on the exotic island of Sri Lanka you'll provide elephants with daily, hands-on care and interaction.

From £250

1-3 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

Teach novice Buddhist monks or children displaced by the Tsunami. English is a valuable skill that will greatly enhance their future career prospects.

From £260

2-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA MEDICAL EXPERIENCE

Gain invaluable medical experience in Sri Lanka, an opportunity not to be missed in this gorgeous part of the world by those pursuing a career in medicine.

From £280

2-12 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA MENTAL HEALTH & PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIENCE

Using a combination of lectures, meditations, consultation observations and community project work, further your awareness of mental health in a new culture.

From £300

2-12 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ORPHANAGE VOLUNTEERS

On this uncrowded, exotic and developing island there are many vulnerable children in much need of volunteer's care and support.

From £260

2-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA RENOVATION & COMMUNITY WORK VOLUNTEERS

Get stuck into community life in Sri Lanka. Get your hands dirty helping with renovation and community work across local temples, schools and hospitals.

From £260

2-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Help protect and rehabilitate at-risk sea turtles whilst also taking part in community development projects. Experience a different side of Sri Lanka.

From £200

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA VOLUNTEER & ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE (16 & 17 YEAR OLDS)

Do something life-changing with your summer discovering the real Sri Lanka. Spend two amazing weeks exploring and volunteering in this hugely inspiring country.

From £500

2 WEEKS

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ULTIMATE ROUND THE WORLD ENCOUNTER

An epic 36 week journey across 9 enthralling destinations. If are looking for the ultimate gap year experience, then this Encounter is the one for you!

From £4850

36 WEEKS

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WHY VOLUNTEER WITH PMGY?

PMGY provide a sociable structured meaningful experience across need driven community projects in Africa and Asia. Each year, we have thousands of volunteers working across a range of our projects from teaching and childcare to wildlife, medical and more. Our volunteer reviews are testament to the extensive pre-departure support and legacy our team provides to match the unbelievable in-country experience our volunteers engage in.

 

We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.

 

A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.

 

You should book your flights to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. The airport code is CMB.

 

PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.

 

PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.

 

Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.

 

PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).

 

Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

 

If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.

 

Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.

 

For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.

 

We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.

 

Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.

 

For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.

PROJECT LOCATION & DURATION

Our projects are based on the south west coast of Sri Lanka in Ambalangoda around 2.5 hours away from Colombo Airport. Ambalangoda is a quaint ocean-side town located on the South West coast of Sri Lanka. It 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. There is also a central bus and train station and the people are unbelievably friendly in Ambalangoda!

 

Our programmes in Ambalangoda run from 1-24 weeks beginning on the first and third Saturday of each month. Our Real Experience programmes that combine volunteering and travelling run for 4 weeks and start on specific start dates across the year.

PMGY SRI LANKA LOCAL TEAM

PMGY’s programme in Sri Lanka is ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local team who have been fully vetted by our UK team.

 

Such a committed local staff network provide the structure for your stay with us when working on our Sri Lanka project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, meals, airport pick up, project transport, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.

 

So whether you are teaching in schools, working at the orphanage or interning at the hospital with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Sri Lanka.

ORIENTATION

Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you about life in Sri Lanka, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the developing projects we support in the community. If you wish to take part in multiple projects during your time with us in Sri Lanka then this can be discussed during your orientation.

 

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, an original blue moonstone mine and some famous Buddhist temples. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the supermarket.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on Saturday.

 

Day 1 (Saturday) – Arrival

 

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. The journey to Ambalangoda will take around 2.5 hours, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Day 2 (Sunday) – Orientation

 

After a good first night rest in Sri Lanka, its now time to begin your induction into life in Sri Lanka. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.

 

Day 3-7 (Monday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins

 

You will start your volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Sri Lanka coordinators throughout the day at the Volunteer House and they are always happy to help.

 

Day 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend

 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience – Sri Lanka has it all. Why not check out our weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!

 

The following weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last day (Saturday)

 

Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Programme Fee.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.

 

Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).

 

1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips.

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.

WEATHER

Sri Lanka’s climate is rather complicated for such a small country, due to the fact that the island is affected by two separate monsoons – though this also means that there is usually good weather somewhere on the island, at most times of the year. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the basic pattern described below can vary significantly from year to year, and that global warming has disrupted these already complex weather patterns.

 

The basic rainfall pattern is as follows. The main southwest (“yala”) monsoon brings rain to the west and southwest coasts and hill country from April/May to September (wettest from April to June). The less severe northeast (“maha”) monsoon hits the east coast from November to March (wettest from November to December); there’s also a inter-monsoonal period of unsettled weather preceding the Maha monsoon in October and November during which heavy rainfall and thunderstorms can occur anywhere across the island. In practical terms, this means that the best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country is from December to March, while the best weather on the east coast is from April/May to September.

 

Sri Lanka’s position close to the Equator means that temperatures remain fairly constant year-round. Coastal and lowland areas enjoy average daytime temperatures of around 26–30°C (often climbing up well into the 30°C’s during the hottest part of the day).

 

Temperatures decrease with altitude, reducing to a temperate 18– 22°C in Kandy, and a pleasantly mild 14–17°C in Nuwara Eliya and the highest parts of the island – nights in the hills can be quite chilly, with temperatures sometimes falling close to freezing. Humidity is high everywhere, rising to a sweltering ninety percent at times in the southwest, and averaging sixty to eighty percent across the rest of the island.

 

Ambalangoda is on the South West Coast of Sri Lanka. The wettest months are May, June, July and August. However, don’t let this put you off. Rain usually comes in short sharp bursts so although there may be a lot of rainfall in a day, this does not mean it rains for a long time. It is also warm all year round.

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time with PMGY in Sri Lanka you will live in our Volunteer House/s. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

We will transport you via tuk tuk or private car to and from your project. This service is included in your Programme Fee.

 

The Volunteer House is located just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town. Each room has bunk beds, up to 9 people per room (same-sex rooms only). Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own mosquito net and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories; we encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables with Ashika in the safe located at his house.

 

Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Sri Lanka is hot and humid all year round! The house has a voucher based Wi-Fi system and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled.

 

A member of our local team will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

You will be served three meals per day at the Volunteer House. 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.

 

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa. Hikkaduwa is a 20 minute journey from Ambalangoda and the cost to get there by tuk tuk is around £3 each way.

 

A weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Your local transport to and from the project each day is included in your Programme Fee. This is usually by tuk tuk but sometimes by private car. Journeys can usually take anywhere from 10 – 45 minutes each way depending on which project our Sri Lanka volunteer joins us on.

VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 16 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Sri Lankan, although learning a few words in your days with us in Sri Lanka will go a long way!

 

We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.

 

In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation. Medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in country.

 

Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.

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