START DATES

ANYTIME (SEPTEMBER-JUNE)

PRICED FROM

$675 + $249 REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

10 DAYS

AGE REQUIRMENTS

MINIMUM OF 5 YEARS

SRI LANKA FAMILY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

Do something powerful, different and a little bit out of the ordinary on your next family vacation! Spend ten days as a family giving back to the local community of Ambalangoda, a small coastal town of Sri Lanka where our volunteer projects are based. Volunteering abroad with your family is the best way to combine travelling, making a difference and creating amazing memories with your family. All in all the programme will represent the best way for you and your family too experience a more meaningful holiday.

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For the younger members of the family, volunteering as a family will play a fundamental role in learning many life skill such as giving back and self-sacrifice and an appreciation for new cultures and challenges that other less developed communities face. They will also get to see the results of their 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.

 

You will receive an orientation and induction into Sri Lanka lifestyle and culture and then spend time volunteering and making a positive impact in a traditional local community. You and your family will end your time in Sri Lanka with some well-deserved travel and exploration to take in more of this stunning island as we take in the culture of Galle, stunning beaches in Mirissa and spot Elephants at Udawalawe National Park.

 

Sri Lanka may be small but it has 2,000-plus 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.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Practicing your useful Sinhalese phrases with the locals
2. A friendly welcome and goodbye with private return airport transfers
3. Develop your family knowledge of Buddhism with temple visits and a Buddhist lesson
4. Spotting elephants in Udawalawe National Park
5. Chilling by the beach in Mirissa
6. Walk alongside the world heritage site of Galle Fort
7. Visit an original bluestone mine during your orientation
8. Experience true Sri Lanka in a local family homestay
9. Hands on tangible impact through community renovation programme
10. Spend your afternoons teaching English, & working with sea turtles

VOLUNTEERING

PMGY’s development work in Ambalangoda runs throughout the year and over the course of the week you’ll have the opportunity to join, not one, but three of our volunteer projects! Volunteering allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture, spending time in the community and learning about what life is like for the Sri Lankan people. Getting involved in our community development projects ensures that you’ll make a positive impact during your time with PMGY.

 

The one thing that every visitor to Sri Lanka will never forget is the genuine friendliness and warmth shown by the locals. Just walking through the village you’ll be greeted with smiles and waves – it really does feel like a second home.

 

Each morning you’ll roll up your sleeves as a family and get stuck into some painting & renovation work within the local community. After a spot of lunch and a well-earned rest, the afternoons will give you the opportunity to work on our community projects. The first three afternoons will be spent on our community teaching programme and the final afternoon will be spent on our turtle conservation programme.

 

COMMUNITY RENOVATION

 

PMGY volunteers carry out renovation work in a number of community facilities in and around Ambalangoda such as schools, government hospitals, childcare centres and Buddhist temples. These institutions struggle to find the funding and manpower to undertake important development work. With your help, we can further support Ambalangoda’s community and you can do your bit to leave a lasting impression!

 

We regularly support three Buddhist temples in the local area with much-needed renovation work as well as the village hospital and a variety of village schools within Ambalangoda. Examples of renovation work completed to date include heavy support in the building of an eye clinic at the government hospital, constructing flower tables at the Buddhist temples and re-plastering and re-painting classrooms in schools.

 

Volunteers don’t need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help!

 

SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION

 

Help protect and rehabilitate at-risk sea turtles whilst also volunteering at community development projects. Turtles are under threat in Sri Lanka and volunteers are really needed to help out with conservation efforts.

 

There are five turtle species that can be found in Sri Lanka. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most common found species of turtle in Sri Lanka and will likely be the one you encounter the most on your turtle conservation project. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka and is 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.

 

Fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda and the location of the project 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 Sri Lankans who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.

 

The programme 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. Beginning from the orientation, participants will learn how to collect eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, how to send turtles back to the sea and so much more. This is really a project where you will learn a lot and make a tangible difference with your time.

 

Typical duties include:

 

– Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks.
– Feeding the turtles.
– Painting and drawing in relevance to turtles.
– Cleaning the project premises and the relevant beach area.
– Take care of the nesting area.
– Cleaning the turtle’s shells.
– Designing education boards around the sanctuary.
– Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea.

 

COMMUNITY ENGLISH TEACHING

 

The teaching English programme has been tailor made for your family to give back to other families in the Ambalangoda area through education. This programme will see you and your family work with local families each afternoon teaching English, helping develop their conversation skills and planning activities and games for what will be a fun filled productive afternoon.

 

Not only will this programme see you aiding low income families with their English development, but it will also give you a chance to learn more from them in their Sri Lankan culture and lifestyle for what is sure to be an enriching experience.

 

Using your skills and energy to enhance the English and confidence levels of low income families in the Ambalangoda community is sure to be one of the many highlights across your time in Sri Lanka. We are sure long lasting bonds will come with the learning and a lot of fun and learning will be made on both sides along the way!

 

The presence of volunteers 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.

 

We encourage volunteer in Sri Lanka participants to prepare as much as possible for their teaching programme overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60-hour Online TEFL Course for just $150.

EXPLORING SRI LANKA

As exquisite as Sri Lanka may be it certainly has had its share of challenges, from years of war to tsunamis. However, the country has, and is still, moving forward quickly which puts Sri Lanka now firmly on many travellers itineraries. In fact it has been a favourite destination of PMGY volunteers for many years, almost like a best kept secret!

 

During your first week there is so much to see and do in the Ambalangoda area 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 shop. Hikkaduwa has long been among the most popular of Sri Lanka’s beach spots. It has a lively and fun vibe – definitely a backpacker town.

 

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 is an 18th-century Dutch walled town with chic shops, grand colonial houses and beautiful beaches. After Galle it is time to relax unwind on the fabulous Mirissa beach. A clean, pristine beach with water sports and whale watching on offer, it is definitely a place to let time go by without a care in the world. The final 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.

ITINERARY

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 programme 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. The journey to Ambalangoda will take around 2 hours, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and get to settle into your homestay.

 

Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation

 

Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you and you family 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 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) Volunteering

 

We will start our project work on the 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 & renovation programme 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 working together in a large group 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, 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 you family will spend a little time preparing and then departing by private transport for your afternoon project.

 

During this week volunteers will be spending 3 afternoons at our community teaching project and the last afternoon working at our turtle conservation project. The community teaching programme in Sri Lanka enables you to teach English to low income families within local village communities who otherwise cannot afford expensive private English lessons.

 

The turtle conservation programme 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 volunteering 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 programme. After a final lunch at the homestay, it’s now time to move to the first weekend destination in the afternoon of Galle.

 

Throughout the weekend travelling, as well as all accommodation and meals, private transport is used throughout with a member of the local team on hand to co-ordinate the remaining part of the trip.

 

Its now time to head to Galle for the afternoon. The drive to Galle will take around one hour as you and the family begin the weekend trip!

 

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.

 

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 or you may wish to simply put your feet up and reflect on what has been a great trip so far!

 

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 drive. 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 three hour safari across Udawalawe, you will also get the chance to see between 20 and 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 and depending on timings it will be either a morning feed or evening feed that volunteers observe.

 

After a long but exciting day it’s now time for the three hour drive back to Ambalangoda ready to return to the homestay for a final evening meal. It’s now time for you and your family to reflect on not only an action packed weekend, but also what an amazing and fulfilling experience your family have had in Sri Lanka!

 

Day 10 (Monday) Last Day

 

Unfortunately, your epic family journey has come to an end. Monday is your last day on the programme. 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 home.

 

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A TRIP

What are the requirements to join?

In order to join the programme there needs to be a minimum of 2 people. There is no maximum number of people for this trip and we welcome children from the age of 5 years old onwards.

 

We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You must be able to provide us with a clean criminal background check prior to your programme start date. We are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions.

 

Although you do not need to speak English as your first language, we do require all participants to have a good level of English in order to join the programme.

 

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. 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.

What date should I arrive and leave?

You should arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (airport code CMB) on the selected start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff 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 programme ends on the tenth day of your programme 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?

Any children are required to be at least 5 years old on the programme start date.

When should I apply for the programme?

For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.

 

It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

 

It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of $60 and is subject to availability.

 

You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual programme; this will guide you through our Online Application process.

Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?

We accept volunteers from all over the world. The majority of our participants are from the UK, US, Canada & Australia. However, we have hosted volunteers from countries such as Nigeria, Bermuda & Peru in the past.

Can I go with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer at the same project (please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis).
 
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our International Team undergo an extensive routine when establishing the in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

 

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verify them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our International Team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.

 

In emergency situations, we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.

 

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our International Team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

 

While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.

When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme, you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 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 also accept BACS transfers from UK participants. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use PMGY’s programmes as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

 

While our team will do their best to complete any paperwork we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university or college. In the event that your university or college do not accept the paperwork submitted by PMGY then you will be unable to be refunded for your trip.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us directly on hello@planmygapyear.com to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers joining our teaching programmes the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. If you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory course for teaching English abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is hugely convenient because it can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You’ve got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. An hour here and there certainly adds up over the course of the couple of months you have to complete it, so there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed you’ll not only have acquired some key skills for teaching English abroad but you’ll also gain an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules leading to a paid teaching position in the future.

 

As well as a core module in the ‘Principles of Teaching English’ which covers ‘Understanding language’, ‘Key English grammar points’ and ‘How to teach grammar in the classroom’ you will have a choice of one of three specialist modules. The ‘Survival teaching’ module is perfect for volunteers covering ‘Teaching large classes’, ‘Teaching with limited resources’, ‘Learner-based training’ and ‘Cultural awareness’.

 

The cost of the course is $150. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programmes and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please call us or email us.

Can I fundraise for my trip?

With PMGY the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive for your time with us overseas. The fundamentals of this structure include food, accommodation, airport pickups, 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 programme costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on 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. Therefore, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip.

 

We recommend setting up an online fundraising page to allow friends and families to learn more about your trip and make donations. PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding.

 

This professional online fundraising service creates a personalised fundraising page for your PMGY trip, allowing 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) that has been set up to help provide financial aid and assistance to the projects and countries we work with on an ongoing basis.

 

The objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty of people living in the communities we support by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient.

 

The ultimate aim of the PMGY Foundation is to enable donations to be directed towards specific hand-picked projects in countries most in need. The project donations are determined by the charities trustees during our annual 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. Please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas.

How do I register for your online webinars?

On selected Tuesdays we hold our Pre-Departure Webinars. They are well worth attending, take only 45 minutes and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip.

 

There are three to choose from and it is well worth attending all of them:

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Programme Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching programmes.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

 

The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the world. 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.

 

If any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

What about vaccinations and malaria tablets?

As we are not medical experts we cannot, unfortunately, tell you exactly what vaccinations you’ll need to obtain so it is vital you consult your local GP or travel clinic a few months before you intend to travel. Your local doctor/nurse will advise you as to what vaccinations and malaria prevention is needed for entry into your volunteer destination.

 

Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights?

You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you in arranging them. Through our close partnerships within the travel industry, we are able to offer flights at very competitive rates. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries; we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use.

 

For peace of mind, PMGY holds an ATOL License (11262) that allows us to offer flight-based packages that are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

 

If you’d like to receive a flight quote from PMGY, you can submit an online enquiry by visiting the specific web-page of the programme you’re interested in joining, or by calling our office or dropping us an email.

 

When you apply for a PMGY programme we cannot guarantee your acceptance immediately. On receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the programme 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 programme has been confirmed by us in writing. Once your programme has been confirmed you’re then free to book your flights either with PMGY or a through third-party travel agent.

Do you offer travel insurance?

It is mandatory that all PMGY volunteers hold travel insurance during the entirety of their time on our programme; this includes your travel to and from the host country. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong so you must adequately protect yourself.

 

PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy for our volunteers. The policy is specifically designed to ensure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 65 and covers you throughout any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 

Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country, to ensure you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5-week policy, not a 4-week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join any of our programmes you’ll need to provide us with a clean CRB or Police Check before you travel. We have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. We are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current CRB or Police Check then we can accept this providing it is issued no more than 18 months prior to your programme start date. Please scan and email us a copy of this document. If you do not have a CRB or Police Check then we will outline how to obtain this in your Volunteer Handbook. The CRB or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your programme start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid CRB check (also known as DBS or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). 

 

This costs £25 and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook you receive once you are signed up for the programme.

 

For 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 volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. 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 literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

For this programme private rooms can be arranged. In general rooms will be made up of either double beds, bunk beds or single beds.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

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.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that affect project availability and project closures in the Volunteer Handbook. 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 the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country to country. We ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. We will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover your shoulders and thighs and for men to not take their shirts off. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with.

 

It’s a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions but 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 whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take depends on where you travel to and how many travel activities you plan to undertake during your free time. If you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania, a scuba-diving course in Thailand or trekking in South Africa, then you should budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find $75-$150 per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time. All of our programmes have been designed so that you have weekends off. This gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures.

 

Furthermore, you’re going to meet so many new people during your time with PMGY that you’ll definitely meet some travel buddies along the way!

 

Before booking your flights we recommend that you look into travel opportunities within the relevant country either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. If you do plan to travel extensively please factor this into your flight itinerary, as we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering as you have made a commitment to the project.

ACCOMMODATION

Homestay

 

During your time with PMGY in Sri Lanka you will live in our homestay accommodation. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with a Sri Lankan host family, a great way to immerse yourself into the Sri Lankan culture & lifestyle!

 

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

 

The homestay accommodation is located just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town. Each room could be double bed, single beds or bunk beds, up to 8 people per room. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room at evenings and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as personal locker space to store your valuables.

 

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 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.

MEALS

You will be served three meals per day every day across the whole of your family volunteer 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 the final few days, meals will either be in menu or buffet format with a standard breakfast provided too.

 

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.

FEES INVOLVED

CATEGORY

PROGRAMME FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

Adult (16+)
$675
$249
$924
Child (5-15)
$450
$249
$699

The Sri Lanka Family Volunteer Experience requires a minimum of 2 persons to run.

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme, you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 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 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA REVIEWS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAMME FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP & DROP OFF (24 HOURS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATION YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT ACROSS SRI LANKA YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECT YES
  • TURTLES, TEACHING & RENOVATIONYES
  • ENTRANCE FEESYES
  • MIRISSA BEACH & GALLE FORTYES
  • UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK SAFARI YES
  • BABY ELEPHANT FEEDYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR UK-BASED EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • UNLIMITED EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • COMPREHENSIVE VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAMME INSPECTION YES
  • INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • FLIGHTS TO COLOMBO ($600-$1200 PP.)NO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE ($25 PER WEEK PP.)NO
  • VISA ($0-$35 PP.)NO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK (VARIES)NO

 

 

UK: +44 800 321 3564

USA: 1-813-422-5109

hello@planmygapyear.com