HOLIDAY DATES

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING INTO A TRIP

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that affect project availability and project closures to volunteers. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy in the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

 

This page is designed to provide an overview so you can be better informed about project availability and alternatives before completing your online application.

The exact holiday dates can change sporadically and short notice and are never the same from one year to the next. Therefore, we try and provide the typical periods below within each country where holidays usually fall and the project alternatives underneath.

 

In addition, there are many odd public holidays that can affect project availability across the year. This is not just limited to our community teaching and childcare projects, but can also extend to other parts of the project network within that country such as wildlife and medical projects. In these situations, volunteers should expect a free day with no project alternatives and a chance to immerse within any festivities or celebrations that the holiday may bring.

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA

The general school holidays in Costa Rica are:

 

Spring – Middle of April

Summer – Early to middle of July

Winter – Middle of December to middle of February

 

During the school holidays, our childcare projects can always benefit from the additional volunteer support and some childcare projects we support have availability all year round asides from public holidays.

 

Alternatively, the local team will provide a platform for volunteers to lead after-school programmes held at the Spanish school for the young working children of Coronado. This programme is a new opportunity for children in the local area to learn English from volunteers in a classroom setting.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ QUITO, ECUADOR

The general school holidays in Ecuador are:

 

Spring – Early to middle of February

Summer – Most of July and all of August

Winter – Middle of December to early January

 

During the summer holidays all community projects, including childcare will be closed. Availability will be limited to prearranged afterschool programmes. The childcare placement is open all year round so volunteers may also spend time supporting at this project in the holidays.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช CUSCO, PERU

The general school holidays in Peru are:

 

Summer – Middle of July to middle of August

Winter – Middle of December to the middle of March

 

During the school holidays, we continue to host volunteers at the after-school programmes for the young working children and street children of Cusco. Additional help is also needed at the childcare programmes, where volunteers can help with teaching English, organising games and activities for the children during the school vacation and providing daily care and interaction to the children with special needs. The medical project is generally available all year round.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ KUMASI, GHANA

The general school holidays in Ghana are:

 

Spring – Middle of April to middle of May

Summer – Most of August

Winter – Middle of December to early January

 

During the school holidays, we do run our own community education programmes on an ad hoc basis. These are done in the form of holiday classes so from time to time there is some teaching work available. In the summertime, summer camps run daily at the local schools we work with. Additional help is also needed at the childcare and disabled children programmes, where volunteers can help with teaching English, organising games and activities for the children during the school vacation and providing daily care and interaction to the children with special needs.

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ RABAT, MOROCCO

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. Muslims are to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits – essentially to clean up their lives, thoughts, and feelings. The Arabic word for โ€œfastingโ€ (sawm) literally means โ€œto refrainโ€ – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

 

Therefore, fasting is not merely physical but is rather the total commitment of the personโ€™s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus oneโ€™s self on the worship of God.

 

The dates for Ramadan are 23rd April to 23rd May (2020).

 

During this period working hours are limited and there is a greater focus and need to help out with organising activities at the childcare centres we support in Rabat. These activities range from art, games and sport as well as some informal English Lessons. We ask that volunteers are patient as day-to-day efficiency is reduced during this period. Furthermore, it is not permitted to smoke, drink or eat in public during this period. We also ask that volunteers make sure they dress more conservatively during this period to avoid offending the locals.

 

The maid at the Volunteer House will still provide you with breakfast and dinner during Ramadan. There is only one restaurant open in the Medina for lunch during Ramadan. Ali will show you where this restaurant is so you can purchase lunch. Volunteers may also choose to buy food from the shops to bring back to the house and eat lunch and snacks here.

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

The general school holidays in South Africa are:

 

Spring – Two weeks in April

Summer – Late June to the middle of July

Autumn – First week of October

Winter – Middle of December to the middle of January

 

During the period where schools will be closed volunteers usually get involved in one of the childcare projects that we support. Volunteers may also take this chance to travel and explore South Africa a little further.

 

Please note all the projects close from mid-December to mid-January time where the Volunteer House also shuts down for the Christmas break.

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ KWANTU, SOUTH AFRICA

The reserve is open all year round and as such volunteer work is not affected by national holiday periods.

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ ARUSHA, TANZANIA

The general school holidays in Tanzania are:

 

Spring – Two weeks in April

Summer – The whole of June

Autumn โ€“ Middle of September

Winter – The whole of December

 

Regardless of the school holidays, there will always be English teaching projects running throughout the year that you can take part in. As many of the childcare centres we support are day centres then there is always teaching opportunities available for volunteers to engage in here.

 

In general, the medical and childcare programmes are open to volunteers all year round and are unaffected by the school holiday calendar.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ TABANAN, BALI

The general school holidays in Bali are:

 

Spring – Middle of March

Summer – June to the middle of July

Autumn – Early November

Winter – Late December to early January

 

All schools and kindergartens close in Bali from the start of June to the middle of July.

 

During these periods we run our own holiday camp community programme through the day where volunteers will lead each day in terms of teaching English, playing games and doing arts and crafts activities with the children of the Tabanan community.

 

During the other holiday periods, volunteers will either support other schools in the Tabanan area, concentrate efforts in the afternoon community programme or use it as a chance to travel and explore around Bali.

 

Volunteers are also encouraged to use the holiday time as a chance to get involved and experience the cultural activities and parades that take place at this time.

 

Please note that during May time is exam time across Bali so programmes during this time may not run as structured as usual.

 

For the wildlife rescue and medical programmes holidays tend to have less of an impact on the schedule and project availability, but during main holiday times project work can be limited or unavailable at these times.

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ TAKEO, CAMBODIA

The general school holidays in Cambodia are:

 

Spring – Middle of April and middle of May

Autumn – Early October

Winter – Late November and late December

 

Volunteers are requested to note that there will be no volunteer work available across these times as the Hope Agency closes for holidays and the children at the childcare centre will usually visit relatives during this period. Volunteers usually use these few days as a chance to travel and explore Cambodia further or even venture across the borders into Vietnam and Thailand.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ SUVA, FIJI

The general school holidays in Fiji are:

 

Spring โ€“ Middle of April to early May

Summer – Most of August

Winter – Late November to the middle of January

 

Across the winter period, all projects are closed in Fiji. During the spring and summer holiday periods, the kindergarten and primary school projects for both teaching and childcare are usually closed for a 2 week period.

 

You can take the time to travel or you can join our holiday programme. This may be at an alternate childcare placement in Suva or leading our in-house community holiday programme where volunteers lead activities for a few hours each morning which our team host either within the accommodation or at a local school/kindergarten. Such support provides a big help to the parents who otherwise need to outlay high expenses on child support.

 

There may also be times particularly around the key public holiday times that no project work will be available and in these instances volunteers are encouraged to take time away from the project exploring Fiji or immersing themselves further into the culture that the holiday day brings.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ DELHI, INDIA

The general school holidays in India are:

 

Summer – Late May to late June

Winter – Early November and late December

 

Schools in India close for a short period over Christmas, New Year and also Festival times. During this period our teaching and disabled children projects will be closed so you can get involved in one of our other projects. Medical and childcare projects will be continuously running all year round except on National Holidays.

 

Project closures can also occur in the slum communities we work in because of extreme weather conditions such as torrential rain making the project unviable and logistics unsafe to arrange or extreme levels of heat making the project too dangerous. Such occasions can happen across the year, but when they happen our team will do their best to provide alternative community project work but this may not always be possible.

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต KATHMANDU, NEPAL

The general school holidays in Nepal are:

 

Spring – Most of April

Summer – July and August

Autumn – Late September/Early October and Late October/Early November

Winter โ€“ Middle of December to middle of January

 

For the teaching programme, during school holidays volunteers will usually provide the additional support required at the monastery or childcare projects.

 

The festivals of Dashain and Tihar are the longest and most anticipated festival in Nepal. They last from 15 to 20 days. Dashain festival usually takes place around the final week of September and the first couple of weeks of October. Tihar festival takes place across October and early November.

 

Unfortunately, the exact dates of the festival are unknown as the festival is based on the lunar calendar. Project work is very limited during this period, although some will be available again usually at the monasteries. Most volunteers who are with us over this period take the time to travel around Nepal and join in with the festivities.

 

At the monastery for the teaching to Monks programme holidays can be even more sporadic and unpredictable as the schedule does not follow government rules and public holidays nor Hindu Festivals. They essentially adopt heir own rules and holidays are not fixed as many of the monasteries we support have donors originating from Japan and China which can influence holiday timings.

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ PATHUM THANI, THAILAND

The general school holidays in Thailand are:

 

Spring โ€“ The whole of April

Autumn โ€“ The whole of October

Winter – Early February

 

Our Thailand community volunteering programme runs across the summer months starting in June through to September. There are no prolonged timings where the project will be closed for an extended period. There may be the odd day where the project is closed due to a public holiday and if this is the case volunteers are advised to spend this day exploring Thailand a little more or planning future activities to deliver at the project.

 

The Thailand elephant and wildlife rescue programme run all year round with weekly start dates. However, the project does have limited availability with each start date often reaching full capacity so we advise you to apply sooner rather than later to increase your chances of joining the project on your desired start dates.

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ AMBALANGODA, SRI LANKA

The general school holidays in Sri Lanka are:

 

Spring – Most of April

Summer – Most of August

Winter – Most of December

 

All schools in Sri Lanka close across these periods as above. As our community village teaching programme is our own programme, on the whole, they remain unaffected by the school holiday dates and run almost all year round.

 

Likewise, all childcare programmes run almost all year round but there may be fewer numbers at these programmes than usual during school holidays.

 

Please note that from April 10th-17th it is the Sinhalese New Year which is the biggest national holiday in Sri Lanka. During this week project work is limited, as most projects are closed particularly at the start of the week which encompasses the biggest Sinhalese New Year celebrations. During this week volunteers will be able to get involved in various celebrations with the community and our local team; we will also organise activities at some of the projects during the week.

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ WASGAMUWA, SRI LANKA

The Wildlife Conservation Society programme is open all year round and as such volunteer work is not affected by national holiday periods.

๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ HANOI, VIETNAM

The general school holidays in Vietnam are:

 

Winter โ€“ Late January to the middle of February

Spring – Early May

Summer โ€“ Most of June and July

 

All schools are closed across June and July and sometimes into August. During these months we have a number of holiday camp teaching projects available at community centres so there is always a project that needs your help. Volunteers may also be able to support at the childcare programmes we support as well.

 

Please note that all projects are closed during the TET New Year Festival as this represents the biggest national holiday across the whole year for Vietnamese people. This usually takes place for a 10 day period between late January and the middle of February.

 

The dates for TET Festival are 24th January to 31st January (2020).

 

During this time the Volunteer House is open with food either provided for independent cooking or prepared by one of the maids. Volunteers are advised to use this time to undergo independent travel as none of the local team will be around the house during this period and no projects will be running. Volunteers can resume their programme once the holiday finishes. It is possible to leave your luggage at the Volunteer House during this period if you wish.

WHAT TO DO IN HOLIDAY TIME?

ALTERNATIVES

Join an alternative project within the local community if applicable.

PLAN

Take the time to plan and prepare activities for when project work restarts.

CULTURAL IMMERSION

Join the team in celebrating the festivities and activities the holiday brings.

RELAX

Spend time recuperating and re-energizing the batteries.

HOLIDAY CAMPS

The local team may arrange holiday camps for volunteers to lead activities.

TRAVEL

Take some free time to explore the wonders the country offers.

TOP 6 HOLIDAY KEY NOTES

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ

CAMBODIA

During the holiday period, no alternative project work is provided and volunteers use this as a chance to further explore Cambodia. This is usually only for a one week period each holiday period.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ

FIJI

All community projects in Suva are closed from late November to the middle of January. We are unable to host participants during this period and the programme is closed as a result.

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต

NEPAL

Holiday periods can be difficult to predict, particularly with the teaching English to Monks project. The festivals of Dashain and Tihar are based on the lunar calendar and change annually.

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

SOUTH AFRICA - CAPE TOWN

From the middle of December to the middle of January, our community projects in Cape Town shut down completely around the Christmas and New Year period.

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ

SRI LANKA - AMBALANGODA

Traditionally from April 10th-17th, the Sinhalese Sri Lanka New Year results in very limited project work during this period, but great festivity activities and celebrations to engage in.

๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ

VIETNAM

During the TET New Year Festival which takes place towards the beginning of each year, all projects are closed. Accommodation and food are still provided for the volunteers.

 

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