Matale, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, the people believe in sharing happiness and sorrow. A festival or a celebration is never confined to a family or a home. The whole community or neighborhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. You can become a part of this culture for a short time, and make a difference in the lives of local families.
On this 16-day adventure, you will be helping one or more families build a home in the Matale district. By helping to build a home, you will be helping them and their community achieve their dream of living in decent and safe housing. You will be working alongside local builders, community members and the families that will eventually live in the houses you will have helped construct. It is not all hard work, however, as the trip will include some cultural activities, such as visiting a temple and other places of interest. This will be a fun-filled adventure, not only on the build site but in the activities we undertake as a team.
We are looking for enthusiastic, fun-loving, dependable, hardworking and open-minded people to help. If that description fits you, please join us!
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 four 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. 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.
Day 1, March 28: Depart from home.
Day 2, March 29: Travel day.
Day 3, March 30: Arrive in Sri-Lanka; overnight stay in Negombo.
Day 4, March 31: Travel to Matale by private A/C bus; welcome and orientation by HFH Sri Lanka staff; rest and relax.
Day 5-8, 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.
Days 9-10, April 5-6: Free days; cultural activities in the local community; could include temple visits, hikes and sightseeing and shopping opportunities.
Days 11-12, April 7-10: 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 13, April 11: Departure for Negombo (Departure accommodation); final team dinner .
Day 14, April 12: 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.)
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.
Ray Fowell has worked on and lead a number of HFH projects in Europe, Central America, Africa, India and Sri Lanka. This will be his 18th trip and 13th as a team leader and third trip to Sri Lanka. He lives in the UK and heads a small property management company, but his passion is working in far-off lands with like-minded people willing to get their hands dirty, have fun and make a difference.