Galle, Sri Lanka
Are you adventurous, flexible, open minded, a fun team player and ready to get your hands dirty to help someone? If you think you this sounds like you, then apply to join us on this adventure with a purpose to Sri Lanka! This is so much more than traveling. Building with Habitat for Humanity in Sri Lanka will provide you with a unique opportunity to get to see the country and be a part of the local community in a personal and meaningful way. We will learn and share with the local people. We work in partnership with each other. You will probably find out you get even more out this experience than you give.
About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” has made steady progress since the opening of its economy in 1977. The island country, located southeast of India, is known worldwide for its tropical, natural beauty that brings in tourists. Unfortunately, poor families have seen few of the benefits of tourist that visit to see Sri Lanka’s beauty.
Policies to alleviate poverty and development efforts by the government and international non-governmental organizations have been hampered by three decades of civil war. Rebuilding still continues from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. More than 4 million people are estimated to live below the poverty line, with about half a million of them residing in slums and shanties.
We will be volunteering in Galle, a town once used as a trading port for the Dutch and Portuguese. The agricultural area today is green and lush with paddy fields and tea plantations. Buddhist temples and sandy beaches surround a large Dutch fort still standing near the harbor. That old colonial prosperity never translated locally, however, and today the average family income is still low—US$70 per month.
Poor working families here typically live in mud-wall and thatched-roof houses, which can harbor snakes and insects. These inadequate shelters also provide little security and can lead to health problems for family members.
About Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka
Habitat for Humanity began operating in Sri Lanka in 1994, through affiliates. The model later evolved into a series of Habitat Resource Centers that support satellite centers and individual projects in four regions. Today, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka is probably the country’s largest homebuilder after the government. Learn more on Habitat’s Sri Lanka country profile.
Types of construction for volunteers
Habitat Sri Lanka builds two-room core houses that cover about 260 square feet (24 square meters). Under the “Building in Stages” model, once the initial mortgage is repaid, families can take out a second loan to finance a second section—either a third room or a verandah—is added, increasing the size to 345 square feet (32 square meters).
To further reduce construction costs, Habitat partner families frequently join savings groups, where families save enough collectively for one house; Habitat and its partners then provide no-profit loans for two additional families’ homes.
Our team will provide volunteer labor to help these families keep reaching their housing dreams. We will help with construction that might include building concrete block or brick walls, installing corrugated tin roofs and finishing plaster.
(15 day itinerary)
Day 1: (Saturday, February 9): Depart from home.
Day 2: (Sunday, February 10): Travel day.
Day 3: (Monday, February 11): Arrive in Sri-Lanka; overnight stay in Negombo.
Day 4 (Tuesday, February12): Travel to Galle by private A/C bus; welcome and orientation by HFH- Sri-Lanka staff; rest and relax.
Day 5-7: (Wednesday – Friday, February 13 – 15): Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Days 8-9: (Saturday – Sunday, February 16 -17): Free days; cultural activities in the local community; could include temple visits, hikes and sightseeing and shopping opportunities.
Day 10-13: (Monday – Thursday, February 18 -21): Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 14: (Friday, February 22): House dedication; farewell and departure for Negombo.
Day 15: (Saturday, February 23): Depart for home.
Our team will stay in simple, safe lodging, typically in double-occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms. Breakfast will be taken at the hotel. Lunch is usually provided by Habitat Sri Lanka and taken on-site. Dinner will be eaten at local restaurants.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!
Nicole Sagartz is passionate about her career as community relations director for Bickford Assisted Living. She feels every day presents an opportunity to help a family in need. Helping families in need is exactly the reason why Nicole also loves her volunteer service with Habitat for Humanity. She started volunteering with her local Habitat for Humanity affiliate by serving on the family selection and public relations committees. Her adventures with HFH Global Village began in Kenya, and most recently in Christchurch, New Zealand. Nicole has extensive travel experience; including participation in a study abroad program her sophomore year of college. She says, "I truly love being immersed in new cultures and meeting new people. I am so lucky that my husband and best friend, Pete, totally supports my work with Habitat for Humanity.” You can contact Nicole by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.