Food, Lodging & Travel
The volunteer house and its facilities are very basic but spacious. Volunteers will stay in gender based shared rooms (8-16 people per room) with bunk beds sectioned off for privacy. There are several modern bathrooms that have flush toilets, sinks and cold-water showers. Electric fans, mosquito nets, pillows and clean bed sheets are provided. The design of the house is ideal for the climate and terrain it is situated. It is very open to the outdoors, which helps to keep the house relatively cool during the hot days/nights and dry during the rainy season. Volunteers are expected to help with general base duties, including cleaning and other chores. Laundry is done by hand.
Meals are prepared for volunteers every day at the house in local style. Most meals will be vegetarian, with egg, fish and soy for protein. Vegan food can also be provided. Western foods and snacks are not available locally and can be expensive. Safe drinking water is always available.
Volunteers are based in the village of Pussellayaya (the Matale District) and working in the countryside and communities around the southern part of Wasgamuwa National Park. There is good mobile cellphone coverage, and volunteers are advised to purchase SIM cards from local service providers with data for internet access. Facilities to charge electronic equipment is available throughout the house.
Volunteers should be min 18 years, able to speak English fluently and be moderately fit. Anyone with an interest in nature and loves the outdoors and want to contribute positively to making a difference and enjoys meeting people from different parts of the world is welcome. Volunteers can still join the project if they are 16-17 years old, but they would need their parent/guardian to sign a legal waiver on their behalf.
Visa for Sri Lanka
Volunteers should apply for a tourist visa before travelling to Sri Lanka. This allows volunteers to stay in the country for 30 days and can be done easily for most nationalities online. The visa can be extended once in Sri Lanka for those wanting to volunteer longer, however, this would need to be done at the office in Colombo and at own costs of the volunteer. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the planned exit date.
Please note that from 1st May 2019 and 6 months onward, citizens from the UK and the 27 other EU countries, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea will be eligible for a free visa upon arrival at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
How to get there
Volunteers needs to travel to the city Colombo, most arriving to Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Volunteers should arrive at least one day before starting on the project. We can recommend a hotel in Colombo, and volunteers need to be ready 6AM on Monday morning to head for the project. A project representative will pick you up from your hotel (not the airport) and bring you to the train station.
If you are staying in a hotel outside Colombo, you will have to arrange your own transport to arrive at the Fort Railway Station by 6AM of your programme start date. From there, volunteers will be going by train to Kandy, have breakfast upon arrival and then head on the bus for the last bit of the journey to the project site.
At the end of the stay, volunteers will be transferred to Kandy early on a Sunday. From here volunteers can arrange their onward travel or go to the airport. It is recommended to keep plans flexible or allow a day after the programme ends to catch a flight. Volunteers have the option of requesting a private vehicle transfer from the project site to their next destination, but this will cost additionally and should be arranged directly with our project partner once booked on the programme.
Sri Lanka was declared a malaria-free zone in 2016, but outbreaks of Dengue fever have occurred. It is therefore recommended to protect yourself from biting insects. It is best to consult your own GP to find out about recommended vaccinations and treatments.