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

Hi, I'm Karen, Project Coordinator for Sri Lanka, and I'll be working with you to arrange your ultimate experience here, so if you've any questions, please contact me:
+44 (0)1903 502595,
or email: info@travellers
worldwide.com
Price: £845 (approx. US$1,030) for 1 week
£400 (US$510) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 4 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates: 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
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Accommodation
Food
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 is this
Programme suitable for?
SOLO travellers or travelling with friends.
FAMILIES with children from 10 years old upwards
GROUPS (Read more ...)
GAP YEAR BREAKS from School or University.
GROWN-UP GAPPERS, career breakers and retired.
ANYONE interested in animal wildlife, marine conservation and generally animal welfare and care.
Also suitable as a summer placement or short break.
Open to all nationalities.

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.

HOLIDAYS:
APRIL, for one week: 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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Fill in the form by clicking the button above. We'll contact you no later than the next working day to confirm. Then we'll do the rest for you.

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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.

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!

ABOUT KEGALLE:
Mawanella, which is located along the Colombo – Kandy road, is a town that belongs to Kegalle district. While the town area of Mawanella has some modern characteristics, the inner areas are rural in nature. The locals living in the inner areas of Mawanella lead simple lifestyles.

Mawanella is also a town with historical significance and has many temples that are visited by the locals throughout the year.

Some of the places to visit during your weekends could include:
• Aluth Nuwara Dedimunda Devalaya, which is an ancient temple visited by the locals from all over the Island.
• Saradiel village, a location which is built to depict the traditional setup of a village. This is located in the birth village of a person who was known as the Robin Hood of Ceylon.

Climate: In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27OC in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16OC at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off-season.

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.

The coastal stretch south of Colombo is filled with 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.

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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: £495 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.

Book Now

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

SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SRI LANKA info@travellersworldwide.com

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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.

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RESPONSIBLE & ETHICAL TRAVEL:

Sustainable and ongoing development of local communities is always the primary aim of our volunteer projects and this project is no different. You'll take up where others before you left off and thus helping to continue making this project sustainable.

We are passionate about mutually beneficial interaction with the local community. The team members are locals and very community-minded. We work closely with the local community to achieve maximum benefits and emphasis is always placed on doing what is best for the local environment. To this end, information on how to leave minimal negative impact on the environment is given to you prior to your departure as part of your documentation from Travellers Worldwide. This is also highlighted in your induction on arrival.

SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY:

We have local staff in each destination where we have Programmes and where we work with local partners, again the staff employed are locals. We have long-standing relationships with local people, making this a sustainable, on-going project. Your work here contributes to, and helps to continue, the long chain of worthwhile achievements in this community. You'll also be directly influencing the local economy and supporting international tourism, an important part of the country's general economy. So, by living in the local area, you're bringing in income through tourism and education through cultural exchange!

The accommodation on this project is locally owned and all the staff are from the neighbourhood. Where food is provided, produce is purchased in nearby shops, helping provide authentic local cuisine. Where you've chosen host family accommodation (where available), families are selected based on their desire to provide real cultural exchange and at the same time a warm family environment.

Social Responsibility: The information we provide prepares you for your placement and how to deal with the local people. It also briefs you on the Do’s and Don’ts and makes you aware of the possible impact of your behaviour. However, you are also expected to do research on the country you're going to and their customs and culture. The research you do will help you to gt the most out of this exciting travel and experience opportunity.

Cultural sensitivity: Volunteers receive an induction and orientation on arrival which covers things like being sensitive to the culture you’re in, everyday processes which will be different to what you’re accustomed to, how to have the maximum beneficial imprint and the minimum negative impact.

We stress the importance of responsible tourism, cultural differences and acceptable/unacceptable conduct. Where appropriate, volunteers are briefed on local customs, particularly those that are different to the volunteer’s accepted norm.

Economic Responsibility: By living in the volunteer house provided by the project you’ll, again, be providing much needed income and employment to the local population. The house is simple and built from natural materials and you are actively encouraged to recycle, be efficient with energy and water usage and preserve the natural surroundings. All food is provided and sourced locally. Your transport to and from the project will usually be either on a bicycle or walking again contributing to green efforts.

For 25 years our volunteers have lived in local communities around the world, spent their money with local traders and brought funding to the projects they work with. Travellers employs local staff and works with local support staff. This helps to fund the project directly and through bringing money into the local community.

In general, the organisations we work with around the world often struggle to financially support and maintain the work they do, so every penny raised makes a real difference.

Our aim is to create always a Win-Win-Win situation in terms of the benefits for, (a) the local communities and institutions you work in, (b) our Volunteers, i.e. you, and (c) for Travellers. We do not embark on any project that is not beneficial to all three of these stakeholders.

The impact of pollution: Where transport to and from the project is required, it is left up to you to choose. Public transport is always recommended by us and all nearby public transport routes are shown to all new arrivals. If taxis are required, you'll be encouraged to share with other volunteers in order to lessen the impact of pollution wherever possible.

Having regard for the local community by being consciously aware of your impact is encouraged in all our documentation for all our projects in all our destination countries. This is because we feel very strongly that many countries are subject to, for example, water shortages, high cost of energy and high impact of energy usage, the negative impact of litter and general pollution. Thus we encourage you to be aware of these possible impacts so that they contribute positively and not negatively to the community in this respect

POSITIVE EFFECTS THAT TRAVELLERS HAS ON THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT:

We provide you with many tips on how to be a responsible traveller regarding the environmental impact you have.

We want you to be immersed in the culture, by living and working with local people. We work with local communities, local charities, local government bodies and local schools. We also often partner with local organisations whom we have vetted to ensure that they are committed to the projects they run, that they have the same responsible attitude to the local community that we do, that they are eco-friendly and have ethical policies.

In our projects and in our headquarters offices, we take an environmentally responsible attitude towards recycling and reusing of waste products. We encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme. Our volunteers are given pre-departure Information that encourages them to minimise waste and reduce their use of water and electricity, in other words, to live sensitively in the environment that they’re working in.

Travellers also give donations as and when required by projects. This is often done through our charitable arm, The Bridge The Gap Foundation. Our projects enable vital conservation, research, care and education work to take place directly where it is most needed. Our volunteers contribute, all over the world, to projects that would not exist without them.

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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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