Matale, Sri Lanka
If you are looking for an amazing adventure that offers you the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat in a stunning location, look no further! Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back more than 2,500 years. Few places in the world can offer the traveler such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. On this small island lie eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates and 350 waterfalls.
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.
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.
Our Global Village team will be volunteering in Matale, based in central Sri Lanka’s hill country approximately 90 miles from the capital city of Colombo. It is an area steeped in history and village living. The city features a diverse population, with a mix of ethnic and religious backgrounds represented. Outside the city, the nearby country includes a diverse mix of lush fields, rice paddies, jungles, green hills and rivers. Wild elephants roam the area. The Knuckles Mountain Range is a special landmark of Matale.
Matale families in need of safe, decent housing are typically day laborers; many work in brick factories popular due to the red clay soil found in the area. The city’s worst housing conditions include shacks made of scrap materials and thatched roofs.
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 page.
Types of construction for volunteers
In Matale, we will either help repair homes, or replace inadequate housing with new sturdy brick homes. Our team will provide volunteer labor alongside Sri Lankan partner families. We will help with construction that might include building brick walls, installing corrugated tin roofs and finishing plaster.
(16 day itinerary)
Day 1: Friday, March 22 - Depart from home.
Day 2: Saturday, March 23 - Travel day.
Day 3: Sunday, March 24 - Arrive in Sri-Lanka; overnight stay in Negombo.
Day 4 Monday, March 25 - Travel to Matale by private A/C bus; welcome and orientation by HFH- Sri-Lanka Staff; rest and relax.
Day 5-8: Tuesday – Friday, March 26-29 - Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8a.m.-5p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Days 9-10: Saturday – Sunday, March 30-31- Free days; cultural activities in the local community; could include temple visits, hikes and sightseeing and shopping opportunities.
Days 11- 14: Monday – Thursday, April 1-4 - Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Thursday- House dedication and farewell.
Day 15: Friday, April 5 - Departure for Negombo (departure accommodation); final team dinner.
Day 16: Saturday, April 6 - Depart for home.
Our team will stay in a hotel, typically in double-occupancy rooms with attached 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!
Nick Cassino and Val Tomey (husband and wife) have been involved with Habitat for several years and have participated on or lead more than 20 Global Village trips to 15 different countries around the world. They have also traveled extensively on other international service projects.
Nick and Val are committed to the Global Village program primarily because they believe in its principal concept of a “hand up” instead of a “hand out,” These builds also provide an amazing opportunity to have a truly authentic travel experience, to understand new cultures and make new friends and to visit places where an average tourist might not venture.
As team leaders, they strive to build teams that are diverse in age, gender, religious affiliation and cultural backgrounds. They are looking for fellow team members who are adventurous, flexible and willing to give up luxuries for awesome experiences! If you would like to join Val and Nick in Sri-Lanka, please fill out the online application. If you have any questions, please feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.