Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Maldives Island Volunteer Project

1-12 Weeks from

18yrs+ individual - for families no
minimum age

  • Contribute to sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation
  • Work as a student vet one to one with the wildlife vet
  • Gain medical experience working in a local hospital
  • Join our coral reef restoration diving programme
  • Exceptional family sea turtle volunteering opportunities available

"The staff here are utterly amazing"

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On July 12, 2023, I asked myself two questions…

1. “What do you want to do with your remaining active time in your life?”

2, “What do you enjoy doing?”

In both cases the answer was not “Working for a global software vendor.” – even though I was content, but after 36 years of working in software organizations, it was time to change direction.

So, this was how I came to arrive at the project in Naifaru, Maldives January 25, 2024, on my first volunteer project – as the answers above were 1/ “Travel” & 2/ “Doing practical projects that improve things.” The latter crystallizing into “Giving my time back to support restoration of the environment for both flora and fauna.”

I could not have chosen a better place to start my new direction, as my eyes have been truly opened to the effects humanity is having on Earth’s ecosystems. The contrast between the image 99% of the world would have of ‘The Maldives’ (pristine resorts & beaches) and the reality of ‘local Maldives’ could not be more stark – sadly. Waste (plastic, nylon fishing nets (ghost nets) and the myriad of human discarded detritus) practically smothers the shorelines of the uninhabited islands here – as well as ensnaring one of the ocean’s iconic animals – the sea turtle – literally having their flippers ‘sawn off’ during weeks of entanglement in discarded ghost nets before being found – if lucky to be found and brought to a rehabilitation centre such as here at Atoll Marine Centre.

The staff here are utterly amazing, overcoming the challenges of working in a remote island location to heal and rehabilitate injured sea turtles as well as drive a coral reef restoration project to maintain reef health – important for marine ecosystems.

What I’ve come to realise after my 10 weeks here, is that – amazing though they are – the staff could not be as effective without the help of volunteers, people who are willing to give their time to help shoulder the daily work of healing and repairing. My “Giving my time back” here doing the daily work helps the staff use their valuable time to work on the expansion and growth of this centre, thus to grow its impact on improving the ecosystems here.

Volunteer projects around the world need more volunteers to help from all walks of life. Only then can we create the ‘collective individual’ effect that will drive a far greater impact on the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of Earth’s many ecosystems. Through all of us contributing as individuals / couples but forming a collective surge of effort can we save flora and fauna from damage too great to recover from – not a great prospect for our children to experience.

"Easily the best month of my life."

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This program was an amazing experience. I was able to gain a lot of work experience for my future career. I also got to experience the life and culture of a country on the other side of the world from my own. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to pursue a career in wildlife management/care. Easily the best month of my life.

"Medicine in the morning and sun, sea, sand and sea turtles in the afternoon; no better way or place to learn medicine"

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I visited the beautiful island of Naifaru 1 week after my first-year medical school exams. It’s the perfect place for early hospital exposure and I fondly remember some of the cases I saw there as I progressed through medical school. I rotated through Orthopedics, General Surgery, OBSGYN and Pediatrics during my time there. Medicine in the morning and sun, sea, sand and sea turtles in the afternoon; no better way or place to learn medicine

"Volunteering with this organisation was one of the best and most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had"

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Volunteering with this organisation was one of the best and most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had!… Seeing the damage we were doing to these animals was heartbreaking… Every action, even the smallest ones, were having a positive impact on protecting our aquatic species! The memories I made here were unforgettable.

"Being in contact with the ocean and its life is magic"

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I had a wonderful experience. Being in contact with the ocean and its life is magic. The peaceful coexistence of different cultures brought me immeasurable growth. Fishing community combined with the quality of life and teachings that I will take to the rest of my life. Working in Naifaru as a leader, developing environmental activities with the community and volunteers was amazing. I learned to put into practice a lot of knowledge that before I had never developed. I am sure that in Naifaru I left a bit of me and I brought with me all the people and the things that they taught me.

"The clear blue sea and abundance of marine life here in Maldives is amazing"

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I truly appreciated my three months here in the Maldives. I learnt a lot about myself through volunteering in Naifaru – participating in projects, writing grant proposals, talking to local residents, and getting to know the culture here. It was great getting to work with the variety of projects here, as I got to be involved with the World Bank, UNDP and UNODC programmes. I got to know my strengths and weaknesses and think about my own priorities in life. This is a unique experience and I will fondly look back on the summer days I have spent here as a college freshman. The staff has been very helpful and kind, always open and eager to share their experiences and thoughts about Maldivian life and culture. I especially would like to thank Mohamed, for taking good care of me during my stay here – getting medicine for me when I was sick, taking me out to fishing trips and always checking in on me to make sure that I was well. I would also like to thank Nashid, Liusha and Aisha for being warm and welcoming, inviting me to their home for meals – it is great to be able to get a taste of Maldivian life. Their children, Aayish, Koko and Naisam have been wonderful company, keeping me amused and occupied with their daily musings. The clear blue sea and abundance of marine life here in the Maldives is amazing, and I’m sure volunteers will enjoy their stay here very much. This is an experience that I will never forget and always treasure.

"I have truly had some of the best weeks of my life on this amazing island"

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I have truly had some of the best weeks of my life on this amazing island, not only have I met so many genuinely nice people, but I have had the opportunity to be involved in a really wide array of community projects, ranging from drugs awareness programs to eco waste management and construction of the islands children’s park. The staff have been nothing but amazing, incredibly friendly, helpful and organized, bringing together people of all ages from all parts of the community to work with our programs.

I will definitely be back in Naifaru next year, and I’m already counting the days!

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Maldives Island Volunteer Project

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