Volunteering in Sri Lanka was incredible! It's a great way to meet new people while exploring as a group in a safe manner.
We chose the sea turtle programme in Sri Lanka and came over July/August 2018. I had just turned 40 and wanted to do some overseas volunteering but I didn’t have much time available to do anything. This project allowed children and my youngest daughter Lucy was 15 at the time, as well as offering a one week programme – we only had time for the Maldives trip and a week’s volunteering so it was perfect for us.
The whole set up was so professional, from start to finish. There was a lot of information available as well as the Facebook group, plus it was easy to understand what was on offer from the beginning so we could make choices about what we wanted to do. Plus it was clear that there would be a mix of ages there too.
We booked direct flights to Sri Lanka so we had a relatively easy journey. Before we did our volunteering, we did the 3 nights in the Maldives which was amazing and completely worth it. It is just over an hour by plane from Sri Lanka. The journeys in the Maldives are all by boat so make sure you are prepared for that! Once back in Sri Lanka, we were picked up from the airport and then taken to the accommodation which felt like a long journey but was probably about 3 hours. At the end of the week the family arranged a car to take us up to Colombo – the driver was calm and slow so we had a good 4 hours to view the scenery along the way. Colombo is a whole other world and nothing like the coastal scenery up the west coast.
"There was a real mix of ages there and thankfully there were some other parents as well as plenty of 15/16 year olds for Lucy to talk to. We made lots of new friends and continue to be friends with them via Facebook and WhatsApp."
We had a week of volunteering. We painted the hatchery area, did beach cleans, went to the nearby hatchery and turtle sanctuary, released babies into the sea, cleaned tanks, fed the turtles, did night beach patrols and did some learning with the local children when they came to the centre.
We had plenty of time to explore the local area. We went to the tsunami museums which were very informative – the images of the waves and what happened there will stay with us forever.
We went to local towns as well as Galle and did some shopping. Gifts and food re very good value for money and it is worth exploring some of these places and support local businesses. The local bus service is so cheap and a real experience so worth a ride or two whilst there. Tuk tuks are also worth taking, there are literally millions of them. In the centre, we played games such as Dobble and cards which was really inclusive for anyone who wanted to join in.
Charith and his whole family were absolutely amazing – they are so welcoming, helpful and kind. The food they provide is lovely, they will take you places and show you local points of interest that you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise. For those staying longer they also helped them with washing clothes. Having a family on site makes the stay even better.
The accommodation was clean and functional and had air con. The wifi wasn’t too bad either although it was stronger in different parts of the site, but we usually managed to get a signal. We shared a room with one other lady and had a spare bed for most of the stay. We had towels and sheets and other than the huge spider in the lounge one afternoon, everything was fabulous! Seriously, the spider was horrendous (I have arachnophobia) but the rest of the site was great. There was plenty of seating outside and lots of shade, as well as kittens and the pet dogs. There is a water machine in the dining area too. It was relaxed and comfortable.
We would 100% recommend The Mighty Roar; we have even looked at doing another project in the next year. My other daughter is also keen to do one with us. It is a great way of meeting new people and visiting somewhere new at a reasonable cost. I would also say do the additional activities and weekends that are on offer. We didn’t have time to do more than one but talking to the other volunteers, it was clear that the trips were excellent value for money and well worth the time out of the centre. You get to see new places in a safe way too. We would both absolutely recommend the Maldives trip too – possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity.