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Matale, Sri Lanka

April 25, 2014 to May 10, 2014

Are you curious about the world around you and do you want to see it from somewhere besides the couch? Do you yearn to get to know others in meaningful and some surprising ways? Do you have love and energy to share with friends as yet unknown? Does your soul sing (or at least hum in tune) with the chance to make a difference? Do you want to see the world from a new perspective? 

Habitat in Sri Lanka will enrich and challenge you as you build, live, stretch and are changed. Participate in a build to give to others and you will find how much you learn and gain in the process. Team members need big hearts, a willingness to get dirty and a desire to laugh and be changed.

A Sri Lankan family at the door of their new Habitat for Humanity home.

About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, knows 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.

About Matale
Our Global Village team will be volunteering in Matale, based in central Sri Lanka’s hill country. 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.

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.

Standard itinerary
Day 1: Friday, April 25: Depart from home.
Day 2: Saturday, April 26: Travel day.
Day 3: Sunday, April 27: Arrive in Sri-Lanka; overnight stay in Negombo.
Day 4 Monday, April 28: Travel to Matale by private A/C bus; welcome and orientation by HFH- Sri-Lanka staff; rest and relax.  
Day 5-8: Tuesda, April 29 – Friday, May 2: Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8am-5 pm with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Days 9-10: Saturday, May 3 – Sunday, May 4: Free days; cultural activities in the local community; could include temple visits, hikes and sightseeing and shopping opportunities.
Day 11- 1: Monday, May 5 – Thursday, May 8: Workdays with breakfast served before traveling to build site; construction and safety orientation; work from 8am-5 pm with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities. Thursday: House dedication and farewell.
Day 15: Friday, May 9: Departure for Negombo (Departure accommodation); final team dinner. 
Day 16: Saturday, May 10: 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.

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families, and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.

Team leaders
Joan MacPherson 
Having had her life changed and enriched building with Habitat, Joan seeks to help others experience that wonder. A deep love for the families and team members of Habitat keeps Joan plugging along at her building specialty  - an experienced pack mule - and, if houses can be built with her lack of construction finesse, you probably have something to offer to a team as well.

Gary Smith
Gary loves to travel and build. He also believes the best thing you can do is give someone is a chance to grow and contribute to humankind. He has been on numerous building trips since his university days and feels each has shaped and blessed him in different ways and wants to share this opportunity with others.

Joan and Gary have led/participated in Global Village teams across the hemispheres but with you they will be discovering the character and wonder of Sri Lanka for the first time. To find out more, contact Joan at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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