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SRI LANKA

TURTLE CONSERVATION IN AMBALANGODA IN SRI LANKA

This Project works towards preventing the extinction of sea turtles, a critically endangered species. You'll help in the rehabilitation and release back into the sea of turtles that are usually victims of commercial fishing. Apart from treating injured and sick sea turtles, you'll also be involved in protecting nests and rescuing eggs so that they can be hatched without incident in the safety of our hatchery.

Daily tasks involve cleaning the turtle tanks, feeding and cleaning the turtles, cleaning the beach and general area and identifying different kinds of turtles.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £1,245 (approx. US$1,680) for 2 weeks
£400 (US$540) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 2 weeks to 4 weeks, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round – Programmes start on Sundays.
Requirements: Minimum age 18. No qualifications required, just lots of enthusiasm and love of animals!
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 18.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for animals and working with wildlife overseas. Suitable if you want to learn about turtles and marine life, projects abroad or study abroad. Also available as a summer placement or a short break activity.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An in-depth understanding of marine wildlife rehabilitation and the important contribution it is making to their conservation and protection.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
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Giving medical treatment to a turtle in Sri Lanka
This turtle is receiving some medical treatment to an injury on its flipper.
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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

In the battle to prevent the extinction of these beautiful creatures, which are now classed as a critically endangered species, we have many diverse challenges that we seek to address. Many turtles fall victim to the practices of commercial fishing and are in need of veterinary care. Protecting nests and rescuing eggs to bring to the safety of our hatchery, are daily activities where our volunteers make a substantial difference. This work is based at our centre on the beach near Ambalangoda, in the southern part of the island, in an area where most tourists are denied access.

Your work here will be exceptionally varied, but also immensely interesting and rewarding, especially when you witness the release of a turtle back to the sea, often after many months of care.

However, before we reach that stage there is much work to be done, work that is often far from glamorous, but it does have its plus side, in that you are doing it in what must be one of the most beautiful spots in Sri Lanka, if not the world.

In addition to those mentioned already, day-to-day activities include:

  • Cleaning the beach and general area
  • Cleaning the turtle tanks
  • Cleaning the turtles' shells
  • Feeding
  • And for the artistically inclined there may well be various painting projects
  • We often run ‘Awareness Camps’ for groups of tourists who make a special trip to this area to see our work. While you are with us, you'll gain the expertise to enable you to assist in some of the instruction.
  • We also work closely with many local and international conservation partners and regularly collect data to ensure our efforts are having the results we desire, and you will also be part of this data collection process.

If you volunteer for longer than one month, you'll also learn about the tree plantation, another area where your work can have a big long term impact.

EXAMPLE SCHEDULE:
The schedule is subject to change according to the needs of the turtles, weather conditions, holidays, the time of year, etc. Basically, you'll work with the Coordinator at the project where you can learn about, and take part in, the following:

  • The collection of eggs
  • Identifying different kinds of turtles
  • Hatching of the eggs
  • Treatment for injured and sick turtles
  • Feeding the turtles
  • Cleaning of the turtle tanks
  • Cleaning the turtles
  • Releasing turtles into the sea
  • Explaining about the turtles to visitors
  • You'll also get the chance to learn about sea plants.

2018 HOLIDAYS:
Apr 09-14: Sinhala and Tamil New Year - All projects will be closed during this week.

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Volunteers working in a turtle sandpit on the beach in Sri Lanka
Volunteers working with turtle eggs in a sand bed on the beach.
Volunteer assisting with medical attention for a turtle in Sri Lanka
Volunteers assisting with giving medical attention to a turtle.
Turtles heading out to the ocean at sunset in Sri Lanka
Baby turtles following their instinct and heading out to the ocean at sunset. This is always an amazing sight!
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ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation is included during your stay on our program within the schedules/ itineraries provided. Living is comfortable and all volunteer houses and home stays have electricity and running water.

Wi-Fi / Internet: Wi-Fi / Internet is not availale, however there are internet cafés available closer to the volunteer house and in the city.

FOOD:
Meals will be provided three times a day during the week and twice during the weekend (breakfast and lunch combine to become brunch during the weekend). Breakfast is self-service with toast, fruits, tea and coffee. Sri Lankan foods include roti bread, dal (Lentil Soup) and curries, vegetables, salads, milk and yogurt. Meat is rarely eaten, except on festive occasions.

Weekends are free to relax, and to explore the local area.

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Accommodation on the volunteering project in Sri Lanka
The colouorful and very welcoming accommodation on the project.
Accommodation on the volunteering project in Sri Lanka
A communal lounge area where volunteers can relax.
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Your Arrival: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SRI LANKA info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

Volunteer Paul White with elephant in Sri Lanka
Volunteer Paul White taking time out to get up close and personal with an elephant!
Volunteers on the beach, sitting in a palm tree in Sri Lanka
It's not all work - there's lots to do and see, like these volunteers spending some free time on one of Sri Lanka's glorious beaches.
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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Body and Mind: Meditation and Yoga in Sri Lanka

BODY AND MIND: MEDITATION, YOGA AND AYURVEDIC RELAXATION TREATMENT:
Price: £445 for 1 week
£795 for 2 weeks
includes food and accommodation, transfers.

The Body and Mind week combines Yoga and Meditation with Ayurvedic treatments to work on a fitter, healthier and more positive you. Located in a beautifully set-up spa, Body and Mind Week will help you to gain psychological and physical well being, will help you to understand the basics of Yoga and Meditation and also educate you about the human body. In addition, you'll enjoy the luxury of Ayurvedic treatments which will deal with any physical aches and pains you may be experiencing at the time.

During the program, you will be taught the Surya Namaskar, commonly known as the Sun Salutation. This contains 12 consecutive postures or Asanas. It is essential for students to master this before moving on to the second stage of Yogasana.

Meditation is the art of focusing your mind, restraining your thoughts and looking deep within yourself. Practicing it can give you a better understanding of your purpose in life and of the Divine. It will also provide you with certain physical and mental health benefits.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE - Monday to Friday:

  • Early Morning Yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Meditation
  • Head massage. These messages will change every day and include foot massage, back massage, front massage and full body massage.
  • Meditation - Walking meditation
  • Lunch and a relaxed afternoon

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

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An Elephant Experience at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

1-WEEK ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE AT PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE:
Price: £595 for 1 week
includes food and accommodation, plus transfer to and from the Elephant Orphanage.

The Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for over 80 retired, abused or orphaned elephants. Visitors from all over the world come to see these magnificent animals. At times, there are also some small babies who have been born into the herd. The daily highlight is the walk from the Orphanage to take the herd down to the river to bathe the elephants. It's amazing to watch an entire herd splashing around and rolling in the river, just a few feet in front of you!

This project is an elephant experience, rather than elephant conservation ... and it is an awesome experience! You'll have about 3 to 4 hours manual work each day and you'll also get to wash and hose down several Elephants. In the late morning or afternoon, you'll usually go down to the river and spend about 3 hours amongst the Elephants. You can watch them relaxing, play with them and sometimes help to bathe them. Your main duties will include:

  • Mucking out the elephant enclosures in the morning (this is hard, muddy work!)
  • Participating in bathing some of the smaller elephants.
  • While the mahouts are bathing the larger elephants, you will be able to relax by the river, chat to the mahouts and watch the elephants play and interact with humans and each other. This is an absolutely beautiful sight and being around these serene animals in such a beautiful setting can have a very calming effect!
  • You'll also have up to two opportunities per week to feed the beautiful baby elephants.
  • There may also be the opportunity to do other things around the orphanage, however this is subject the amount of work available at the orphanage at the time of your project.

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Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

We cannot BEGIN to tell you how beautiful this paradise island is! Nor how cheap to live and get around. It is almost too good to be true! But it is true.

Towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains. The local people are very welcoming and friendly, especially in the rural areas. The tea plantations are a must, the lace making, monuments and architectural splendours, etc., but the most appealing is the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. Not to be missed! It's an emotive sight that you'll never forget!

SRI LANKA'S FANTASTIC BEACHES!
Sri Lanka has miles and miles of amazing beaches. Some of our favourites are:

MIRISSA: Perhaps a contender for the most beautiful beach in the world. Long, deserted and hot. You know you have got away from it all as you sit and watch the sunset over this horizon…The snorkelling is also incredible here.

NEGOMBO: To the north of Colombo lies Negombo, a busting fishing town with golden beaches and a pallet of colour provided by sails and boats against the deep blue of the ocean.

UNAWATUNA: A sleepy peaceful cove with deep still water and a temple overlooking the bay from the protecting cliffs.

HIKKADUWA: A long stretch of beach with plenty of hostels, restaurants and some nice bars, not forgetting the impromptu beach parties held on the beach front bars blaring Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Led Zeplin and many other classics! Sri Lanka is a conservative island brimming with culture and Hikkaduwa offers an exciting opportunity to holiday for the odd celebratory weekend! Many a volunteer birthday has been seen in over Hikkaduwa cocktails. You can also body board and even surf on this beach.

ARUGAM BAY: This tiny fishing village is Sri Lanka’s newest hot spot and hosts the best surfing and an easy going happy party atmosphere. With its wide sweeping beach in front of the village and year round gorgeous swimming it is no surprise that this bay has developed into a low budget travellers haunt.

ADRENALIN JAUNTS:
White Water Rafting:
Sri Lanka’s boulder stream rivers are the ideal setting for white water rafting. This is the best way to see the stunning environment what this region has to offer. Many tours are available and many begin with days of action, rafting the white waters. This high adventure is suitable for fish time ‘go for it’ rafters and experts alike. Rafting has become a very popular exciting yet safe adventure sport option.

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering:
Mountaineering is an adventure sport that requires skills and levels of fitness that few other adventure sports can match. The mountain ranges in Sri Lanka offer breath taking, enthralling, climbing routes. Climbing is all about discovering the natural world around and with you.

Hiking and Trekking:
There’s no better way to explore the natural scenic beauty of this island with diverse climatic zones. Trekking is an excellent way to explore a country, people, their traditions and beliefs. Paths and campsites have been set up to give nature lovers the experience of a lifetime. All possible steps are taken to ensure local community benefit and nature conservation in keeping with all international camping guidelines.

Canoeing & Kayaking:
This relatively new sport is rated as the most adventurous of all adventure sports. It involves descending a stream as it drops over waterfalls and boulders. In Sri Lanka they have low waterfalls for beginners and some as high as 700 feet for the very experienced - all surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

CLIMATE:
The driest and best seasons are from December to March on the west and south coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September on the east coast. December to March is also the time when most foreign tourists come, the majority of them escaping the European winter.

The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. The Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Then there are the ruins, ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy any archaeologist.

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SRI LANKA info@travellersworldwide.com
King coconuts being sold from a stand in Sri Lanka
King coconuts are for sale everywhere in Sri Lanka. They're supposed to quench all thirst. Hmmm. I prefer their pineapples. The best in the world. Seriously!
Tuk tuks are the main form of quick and easy public transport when you're dashing around the local areas. They're lots of fun!
Volunteers taking in the views in Sri Lanka
Volunteers taking in an incredible view in peaceful serenity. Wish I was there :-)
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REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

WENDY FRANKCOM
British
Turtle Conservation in Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka

I spent 2 months in beautiful Sri Lanka, working as a volunteer with 3 different placements. Having recently retired gave me the opportunity to do something exciting. Last year, my granddaughter had a gap year and went travelling. I loved following her adventures; when I was young, few people were able to have that kind of experience. This year she looked after my house and cat while I had my turn.

I'm not an experienced traveller and would not have had the confidence to go solo backpacking, but did not want to just experience a tourist, hotel based holiday. Volunteering with Travellers Worldwide enabled me to gain a far richer experience, learning about the country and culture, working with local people and feeling I was making a useful contribution, as well as having a great holiday and meeting other volunteers and travellers from many countries.

My Most Memorable Moment: Hard to pick one- early morning walks on the beautiful beach, running into the sea in our clothes after cleaning turtle tanks, getting to know the turtles (yes they have individual personalities!) Laughing and joking with the 'turtle guys ‘who led our work experience.

My Biggest Achievement: Finding my feet in a new country, finding how much I enjoyed meeting and chatting with such a range of people (other volunteers, local people, other travellers) and becoming confident in travelling around independently to explore Sri Lanka.

My Most Positive Impact On The Project: This little project relies on volunteer funding, so we're crucial to its continuation. Local people value our interest in their country and the turtles plight, telling me 'it's a good thing you are doing, coming to help here'.

I learnt to identify the different kinds of turtles and learnt about their life cycles. Gained insight into threats to their well-being and need for protection .Also witnessed the kinds of injuries these creatures have sustained: many of the turtles in the 'turtle farm' will never be able to return to live free in the sea.

It's very 'hands on' care and you get to know the turtles- yes, turtles have different personalities like any creatures! Work involves preparing fish and feeding turtles- they have individual needs due to type of injuries sustained-, cleaning turtles shells, and lots of turtle tanks to scrub clean so they can be refilled with clean water. Also keeping the environment clean and tidy and clearing rubbish from the beach. You get very wet and smelly- but the best way to clean up afterwards is to run straight into the sea, which feels great. Just don't wear your best clothes.

Normally, work is 9.30-12.0 then home for lunch. The volunteer house is just across the road from the turtle home and walking home dripping wet is no problem. After lunch, free time until 2pm, then work til around 3.30.pm so lots of free time to go to the beach or explore the neighbourhood.

The beach is absolutely beautiful, golden sand, palm trees and few people.

When baby turtles have hatched, these will be released into the sea at dusk, so we would return to the beach at 6.30 for this. A lovely sight to see, though we do feel anxious as we send these tiny creatures out into the big wide world. Often local people come and join us and there's a bit of a beach party atmosphere as we cheer the little turtles on their way down to the sea.

Generally, this project is a lot of fun and would suit anyone with an interest in animals and who is prepared to join in with the hard work of scrubbing tanks and getting messy with good humour.

Other aspects I think worth mentioning are the volunteer house and the town of Ambalangoda: we were well looked after by lovely staff at the house. They offered suggestions for places to visit and helped with making arrangements for trips and knew where to buy anything anyone wanted. Volunteers staying at this house are working on a range of projects, so we get to know about what they are doing too. I was able to meet the young monks at the temple school where another volunteer was teaching them English .Volunteers from the projects in Kandy can also come to Ambalangoda for a 'beach week' holiday break, so we found out about their experiences working at temple restoration, orphanages or with disabled and elderly people. A variety of excursions are organised for these beach weeks, and I was invited to join in with these.

The volunteer house is only a short walk from the town of Ambalangoda. It's a fishing port and a working town, so I felt I was seeing 'real' Sri Lankan life, not a tourist spot. The volunteer project is well known locally and residents are used to meeting us around, are welcoming and many people said that we are doing good work. A small town, it's easy to find the way around. There are shops, banks etc for anything needed, also bus and rail stations. It was a good place to start my Sri Lanka adventure, getting comfortable finding my way around, managing currency and communications, and gradually branching out to explore other towns and beaches within easy reach.