Volunteer in the Maldives with Plan My Gap Year, an award winndaying, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with an incredible opportunity to join the Island Experience in the Maldives.
“I have just completed one of the most life changing experiences in Hoadedhdhoo. I have dreamt of travelling to the Maldives, I never thought it was possible until I found PMGY offering this trip at such an affordable rate! As a volunteer, I began my trip by reading the handbook cover to cover; it is jam packed with all the info I needed! I feel I really did apply myself on this programme and not only could I make an impact on the environment, but I also lived like a local. I managed to learn some local lingo, snorkel with sea turtles and visit some of the amazing islands in the Maldives. I recommend this experience to everyone!” – PETER NEWMAN | UNITED KINGDOM
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!
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 Velana International Airport in Male. The airport code is MLE.
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.
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.
Our programmes are based in the south west atoll island of Hoadehdhoo in the Maldives. It is around 1.5 hour’s flight from Male Velana International Airport. This island is home to generations of fishermen, which is a key aspect to the livelihood and knowledge of its local people.
The programme runs for two or three weeks on selected dates throughout the year. You can expect to be spending periods of 3-5 hours participating in a daily activity such as recreating the coral reef, surveying sea life and establishing new mangroves. Specific days on the programme will include trips to uninhibited islands for some leisure time; these days will start early in the morning and finish around sunset.
PMGY’s programme in the Maldives 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 project in the Maldives. 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, maintaining the coral reef or snorkelling in the clear blue sea, 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 the Maldives.
Your orientation will begin Sunday. Our local team will come to share breakfast with you in the local Volunteer Cafe. After you will go to a community centre to learn about the local island life, history of the volunteer impact, precautions, details of your project and introduction to your coordinators.
In the afternoon, our local coordinators will take you to see the surrounding islands of the atoll around Hoadehdhoo. You will be shown the different coral projects that were started in the past months and once you return to the island you can have a tour to see the local beach and mangrove developments.
Please make sure you arrive into Velana International Airport in Male (MLE) on the selected Saturday start date.
Day 1 (Saturday) – Arrival
Welcome to the Maldives! You will be met at Velana International Airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to Hoadedhdhoo will take around 1.5 hours by plane. You will have the rest of the day to relax and get familiar with your new environment.
Day 2 (Sunday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in the Maldives, it’s now time to begin your induction into the island life. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.
Days 3-14 or 21 (Monday-Friday) – Volunteering
You will start your volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, our local team will be present to assist you with anything. You will see our coordinator throughout the day at the Volunteer House or Volunteer Cafe and they are always happy to help. In the evenings volunteers will tend to relax around the dinner table, play games or even have a BBQ of fresh fish and a watch a movie. The volunteer period is the entire length of your programme in the Maldives, but we have packed in some days of sun and fun at the beach or a bit of site seeing on the sea floor.
Day 15 or 22 (Saturday) – Last Day
Saturday is your last day with PMGY. The day will start early as the team will arrange transport to the domestic airport to send you back to Velana International Airport to spend your final hours in this beautiful island nation. Please arrange your onward flight from Male no earlier than 12 noon to allow plenty of time to get back to the airport.
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.
The Maldives climate is simple; hot and sunny! The island is small and surrounded by the sea so the rays of the sun are very strong, prepare to wear factor 40+ at all times to prevent burns. You can expect the weather to be very warm for the summer period (June being the most humid month of the year).
There are two monsoon seasons in the Maldives. The southwest from May-October and the northeast from November-April; the southwest bring more wind and rain in June and July. While you are on the programme don’t be discouraged by a strong downpour. In tropical climates such as the Maldives these rains will be short!
The Maldives can be occasionally reached by tropical cyclones, which usually pass at higher latitudes, in the northern Indian Ocean. Cyclones are formed more often between April and December, but due to the warm sea, they may occur throughout the year. Anyway, the southernmost atolls (Huvadhu, Addu, Fuvahmulah) are protected from them, since they are located near the Equator, where cyclones cannot form nor survive.
During your time with PMGY in the Maldives you will live in our Volunteer House. The accommodation is basic, but comfortable. You’ll be living with volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way. Everyday we will transport you via speedboat to the project site. This service is included in your Programme Fee.
The Volunteer House is located on the island of Hoadehdhoo. This island is home to 1200 local Maldivian people whom are just waiting to learn more about you. The atmosphere is peaceful and bright! Each room has bunk beds, up to 6 people per room (same sex-rooms only). Volunteers are provided with air-con and bed linens. You will have cupboard space to store your belongings, we encourage you to bring small padlocks to store your items in the lockable spaces.
Each room as an on-suite bathroom with a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold, but after hours in the sun that shouldn’t be a problem! The house has a communal area to hang out equipped with a refrigerator.
A member of the local team will live in the accommodation amongst you. This ensures that you have around 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.
You will be served breakfast everyday at the Volunteer Cafe. Most meals are traditional Maldivian dishes that will typically consist of fresh sea food. Maldivian cuisine consists of a lot of rice, noodles 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, make a request to the local team and they can do their best to create a little menu for an evening (these will have a separate cost).
You are required to purchase your own lunch and dinner. This includes traditional Maldivian food options along with items such as Fish & Chips, Spaghetti and Macaroni (based on availability).
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.
Your local transport to and from the project each day is included in your Programme Fee. This is usually by speed boat but sometimes it will simply be walking to the other side of the island. Journeys can usually take anywhere from 10-25 minutes each way depending on which island you are visiting.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 18 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 Dhivehi, although learning a few words in your days with us in the Maldives 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.
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.