Volunteer on the Island in the Indian Ocean that Holds a Continent

Video and Photos

About

Join our year round education, and village development projects in Sri Lanka. Make a transforming difference in your life and theirs whilst experiencing a culture from within. We teach, and run holiday clubs in pre-schools, government schools across the age groups, child monks' schools, orphanages, as well as in villages, in which we also have development and conservation programmes. We also teach in colleges, and a university.

We are in a rural province, its forests, lakes, and paddy fields patrolled by elephants, giant squirrel, hornbills, and mongoose - just a part of life here. We love Sri Lanka, and so will you!

Highlights
  • The correct visas to volunteer in Sri Lanka
  • Our own HQ and branded Fig and Gecko, and independently reviewed accommodation, and restaurant.
  • 24/7, 360 degrees support from your UK support team in Sri Lanka.
  • Meaningful long term projects
  • You'll leave Sri Lanka having experienced its culture and people.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 8 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.2
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
Default avatar
Fiona
10/10

Parent review volunteering with Give a Fig in Sri Lanka

It is quite hard to help your child decide what to do during the holidays. We were keen to find a worthwhile volunteering experience for 4-6 weeks, and it did feel a bit like a jump in the dark.

After a lot of internet searching and asking lots of questions of knowledgable friends and acquaintances, we decided that Give A Fig would be the one. Our main concerns were to find something which would be safe for our daughter. We wanted it to be educational for her whilst allowing her an opportunity to make a difference to the pupils she was helping.

Paul and Jane were so welcoming and amazingly selfless and they certainly seem to have found a great balance of helping the community while also providing a cultural immersion for their volunteers. They also made it very easy to obtain a visa by completing all the paperwork for us to take to the Embassy.

I highly recommend Give a Fig to any parent of late teens/early 20s who want to volunteer.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ella
10/10

Give A Fig Volunteering Review

I stayed in Sri Lanka for 3 weeks with Give a Fig Volunteering at the Fig and Gecko and it was honestly one of the best experiences I've ever had! Give a Fig Volunteering are such an accommodating organisation which ensure that you can get the most out of your visit safely and efficiently. whilst staying with them I volunteered in the local school, visited orphanages and taught young monks English. Give a Fig also organised a weekend trip for me and my friend to go on an elephant safari and scuba diving, where I got to see wild turtles and black tip sharks in their natural habitat! the opportunities and experiences Give a Fig offer are unparalleled to anything you would find anywhere else for such a good price! Both Paul and Jane are so friendly and so concerned about making your stay as comfortable and as fulfilling as you want. Give a Fig organised tours of the local areas for my friend and I to see all the historical and religious sites in Anuradhapura and there was always something more to see! with Give a Fig volunteering I got to volunteer at a turtle sanctuary, helping to clean and feed the turtles whilst also gaining a very valuable insight into the lives of the locals and making memories for life. The opportunities, experiences and memories I have gained from volunteering with Give a Fig volunteering in Sri Lanka will stay with me for life and I would 100% recommend it to anyone and everyone else! Just do it!!

How can this program be improved?
Paul and Jane were always so open to improvments, that anything i felt needed improving was improved by the end of the day! I could've asked for nothing more!
Yes, I recommend this program
Sarah
10/10

Give a Fig Volunteering

As a parent I couldn’t have asked for more from a Volunteering company. Even though our daughter is in university, as a parent you are still concerned about them when they go abroad, especially to somewhere as different to the UK as Sri Lanka. We’ve heard some real horror stories about volunteering - from the poor quality of the food served, to the lack of support given and it was quite difficult to make a choice. Overall, the low cost compared to others, and level of support provided by Give a Fig before coming out was excellent and we got the impression- later proved correct - that they cared about what they were doing for the people of Sri Lanka and the volunteers, than the money. I guess that’s the reason they’re a non-profit organisation. With Give a Fig everything was planned and organised from the moment she stepped off the plane, to the day she got back on the plane to come home. To find out that the experience more than matched the expectation was a bonus, especially as she tells me the accommodation and food were so good. Give a Fig clearly provide a very rounded package.

Having researched many volunteering companies, my daughter spoke with Paul and Jane at Give a Fig Volunteering, who were very helpful and reassuring. Paul set out a suggested timetable of what my daughter would be able to do, and talked through the options that she had researched herself. Everything was costed and tailored to her requests, and matched what she wanted to do and see whilst in Sri Lanka. My daughter volunteered at a turtle sanctuary and taught English at a local school and orphanage, and was privileged to be able to teach English to the local monks. She loved the experience, and felt that it really supported her. On her days off she wanted to visit other parts of Sri Lanka, which Give a Fig arranged. She went scuba diving, went on an elephant safari and Give a Fig took her to a couple of festivals.

It was a fantastic opportunity for her, one that she tells me she’ll remember all her life. Indeed, until she went back to Uni after her summer break, she talked about the experience a lot.
As a parent I would highly recommend Give a Fig Volunteering if your son or daughter, anyone really of any age, who wish to undertake volunteering work in Sri Lanka, Paul organised everything so well, it took a lot of worry off a parent’s shoulders.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing that I can think of from a parents perspective
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Steve & Cath
10/10

Thank you for looking after our daughter!

Our daughter, Harriet, visited for three weeks in summer 2017 and has not stopped talking about it since! As parents we were a little anxious about sending our daughter halfway across the world for this experience, however any concerns we had were put aside due to the well organised and coordinated itinerary, tailored to my daughter and her friend's expectations for the trip. It was reassuring to be able to chat in person to Paul, the founding director of Give a Fig Volunteering, who was very knowledgeable and able to answer any of our concerns. During their stay they were never left unsupported, with key contacts being made available for every step of their experience, from landing in the capital city through to a number of excursions etc.
We recommend any parent to have confidence in this organisation and to encourage their sons and/or daughters to benefit from this life experience, providing them with opportunities to see everyday Sri Lankan life away from the commercialised tourist areas, and understanding the true benefit of volunteering to improve the lives of these communities, whist enriching their own lives.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
mark
9/10

education programme

''I’m Mark, the leader of a youth centre in Streatham south London, and this experience of volunteering was recommended to me by a fellow London youth leader who’d brought his young leaders out in 2016 on a construction project. We decided to come out on an education project, and it was fantastic. Although none of the young leaders aged 16-22 had taught before they all threw themselves into their roles in the primary, and the secondary, as well as in the college, and the monks’ school, and 2 orphanages. I always had faith in young people’s ability to excel, but what they achieved here in Sri Lanka with Give A Fig Volunteering was beyond all I could have imagined. They too far exceeded what they thought they could do, and they loved it here. Coming out of the classroom each day feeling proud, made me proud of them too.

It was an amazing experience, and Paul and Jane looked after us really well. Their HQ is fantastic – we were the first group in it, so I can imagine that it can only improve with time. The food was really good too, fresh, which was a bit of a shock to some of us given our diet of London’s fast food, but it worked well. We volunteered a 4 day week, which was really good. It gave us the chance to see Sri Lanka, and meant that we never got too tired either. Sri Lanka’s an amazing country, and one of the best experiences of our time here was spending a day in the village doing pottery, which must have been good, as we also saw elephants, and a fabulous festival on our first night here. I suppose the best recommendation is that I want to bring another group out next year. It’s an amazing experience, and really good value for money!''

How can this program be improved?
programme was just about right, good balance of volunteering opportunities and leisure time for seeing more of the country
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Harriet
10/10

The best thing I have ever done!

I haven't stopped talking about my amazing time in Sri Lanka since I got back! It was such an incredible experience and I have come back from it with a different outlook on life. I have never spent 3 weeks away from home in such a different culture and being in the middle of it all was very exciting and new - whilst also challenging at times (especially to communicate!). Many of the Sri Lankans had very little but were still very happy and content with their lives and it has made me appreciate everything I have in my life a lot more!

Helping out at the turtle sanctuary was eye opening and spending time with the family who ran the sanctuary had dedicated their lives to the turtles and it was so rewarding to be able to help them with what they did every day. It was also highly fulfilling working with the Sri Lankan school children, orphans and monks who were keen to speak with us and learn English. Give A Fig gave us clear instructions on what to do with the children which made teaching them very easy whilst also very beneficial to the children!

Give A Fig organised multiple day trips and weekend trips which were all planned in advance. We were told exactly where we needed to be and when and who to ask for help in the different areas of Sri Lanka we stayed in. Travelling from place to place was made very easy and stress free, and we were given some amazing opportunities to see things I could only dream of!

Staying at the Fig and Gecko was a very pleasant accommodation with comfortable rooms and clean and well functioning showers and toilets. We had fresh food cooked for us most nights with the opportunity to go out to nearby restaurants to try the traditional Sri Lankan cuisine.

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who loves travel, adventure and helping make a difference in a third world country. It definitely gets a 10/10 for me and I am already saving up for my next trip to Sri Lanka!

How can this program be improved?
I can't think of any improvements as everything went so well, however maybe would have been nice to have learnt how to make a traditional Sri Lankan meal.
Yes, I recommend this program
Travis
9/10

My experience

2016, JULY: TRAVIS; STUDENT, CIRENCESTER, UK. RA UNIVERSITY

GROUP: VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT

I volunteered with GAFV and 7 others during my university vacation in 2016, and I had such an amazing time I’m hoping to lead a team back out here from my Uni in 2017. There really is something for everyone here volunteering with GAFV, and they organise it really well. Any hiccoughs, because they are there with us in Sri Lanka, are sorted out straight away, and never become a problem. The accommodation was really good, and the transport – we opted for a mini bus each day - was all arranged, which made life so much easier for us. This cost an extra £50 each per person for the 2 weeks' volunteering days, but it really was worth it. GAFV also organised a 2 day mini-tour for us to the beach and other sites on our days off, and were flexible with the programme, as on one work day we went to a local hotel – which was a fantastic place, with a great swimming pool. One of the things I really liked was that we worked a 4 day week, and so we had plenty of time to work and relax, without feeling too tired, because we did work hard. We were involved in an infrastructure project, but it could so easily have been about agriculture, organic agriculture, wildlife conservation, tree planting and reforestation, or education. We missed the herd of 100 elephants that live near the village, and the crocodiles, but we saw some amazing sites, natural, and archaeological – including dolphins, and elephants – on our tour. GAFV are clearly committed to the villagers they work with, as they got on really well with them all. We were welcomed by dancers, and had a great send off at the end, with a village meeting, presentation with a certificate, as well as participation in a Buddhist festival. I really loved the pottery, which we did at the temple. The potter and his family brought all of the clay to the temple where we were working and we had a go at this craft. Everything was really well thought out and designed to involve as many of the community, and provide as much work for the locals – who clearly have very little - as possible. This is something I’ll never forget. I still keep in touch with GAFV and follow them on FB, and I am amazed at the personal touch and time they put into working with us, and tailoring programmes for people. I promise you, you won’t get a better volunteering experience, or a better managed programme than with these guys.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ruth
9/10

Have an unforgettable time in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

We are both retired teachers and volunteer organisers, and joined this Give A Fig programme for 1 month. Organised and arranged by Paul and Jane who lead Give A fig, they coordinated everything with the university, including our accommodation and food. We taught for 16 days over 20, and had 10 days holiday. The monks – the university lecturers – were a pleasure to work with, and we had an amazing time in this fabulous country. Nothing was too much trouble, we were treated very well, and supported throughout. I would thoroughly recommend volunteering with Give A Fig Volunteering; you’ll have an amazing time.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Staff

About Give A Fig Volunteering

We're a UK non-profit operating on the beautiful safe varied and exciting island of Sri Lanka. We offer unique fully supported government partnered education and development projects, and set the standard for volunteering as official education...