Visit Nepal, India and Sri Lanka on a 12 week long tour while making a social impact!
South Asia is an area that varies from the steep mountain ranges of the Himalayas that perches between Nepal and Bhutan, to the tranquil and picturesque islands of Sri Lanka and Maldives all engulfed around the powerhouse and dominating presence that India brings with it. South Asia’s abundance in physical diversity and variety is one of its standout features. Your 12 week volunteering adventure will take you to Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.
Your first stop is Nepal which has been a hotspot for travellers, dating back many years. Whilst the world has changed, Nepal is still catching up – one of the many reasons that makes it such a fascinating country. Its landscape is diverse and harsh yet beautiful beyond belief. Many of its people live in poverty yet remain as proud and welcoming as ever. You may leave Nepal at the end of your 4 weeks but you are certain never to forget it.
Combine adventure travel with community volunteering as well as ticking off all the ‘must-do’s’ on Nepal’s list. You can choose to volunteer and live in a Nepalese Buddhist monastery teaching monks English and learning about their way of life; teach young people English to give them a much better future through education or make a difference to the lives of neglected children in this visually arresting, off the beaten track destination.
Your next stop is India. Architectural splendours, chaotic street life, tranquil havens and culture shocks are all guaranteed on your 4 week adventure to this vast, endlessly diverse and hugely inspiring country. India’s Golden Triangle comprises the three most visited cities in the country’s north-west – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Jaipur, capital of the largely desert state of Rajasthan, is home to the iconic Amber Fort as well as some of Asia’s best bazaars. You could spend weeks in Delhi, the sprawling, fascinating Indian capital, and not see it all, while Agra, once the heart of the Moghul empire, boasts the unparalleled beauty of the Taj Mahal, adorning the banks of the Yamuna river.
Your volunteering choices are very varied. Contribute to the lives of children with learning difficulties; teach English to help children reach their full potential; gain practical medical experience and insight on elective programmes; become engaged in the lives of underprivileged children in orphanages or join a social initiative providing vocational training for young women in the community.
Your last stop will be Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka may small but it has 2,000-plus years of culture, 8 (yes 8!) Unesco World Heritage Sites, endless beaches, lush rainforests, welcoming people, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, oodles of elephants, wonderful food and so, so much more. Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still uncrowded so now is the time to go!
Your 4 weeks on this largely undiscovered little island, will give you the chance to explore its length and breadth as well as make a positive difference volunteering at local projects. PMGY’s development work in Ambalangoda runs throughout the year and you will have a choice of; Teaching English, Construction & Renovation Project; Medical Experience; Sea Turtle Conservation and Elephant Experience.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.
While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
Almost every day you will be doing something different on this adventure, but here are three examples of what you might be doing in each country.
Your orientation will begin on Monday Our local team will teach you about life in Nepal, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. Our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Kathmandu. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the supermarket.
On Tuesday, you will start your volunteer placement. The first couple of days should be spent learning the ropes and getting to know the people at the project. As the week goes on you will find that your role develops as you begin to get more comfortable. You will have regular interaction with our local coordinators who are always there for you. Whatever the problem, big or small, rest assure that you’ll be fully supported throughout your time with PMGY. On average, you will volunteer for around 4 to 5 hours per day (depending on which project you go to). Remember, that volunteers are always encouraged to take part in multiple projects, so there is always additional project work available should you require it. The possibility of getting involved in more than one project can be discussed with our local coordinator once you’re in India. However, if you have any specific requests at this stage then please let us know in your online application.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience – Sri Lanka has it all. The following weeks Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.
Here is an idea of what you could be getting up to:
Please make sure you arrive into Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu (KTM) on your chosen Sunday start date.
You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
During your time with PMGY in India you will live in our Volunteer House located in central Faridabad, a satellite city 15 miles from Delhi. You will find restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is large, basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has bunk beds with up to 7 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own bed linen. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet.
Project Residence – Some of the orphanages we support have separate living quarters for volunteers (these are located next to the project). Rooms will fit between 2 and 4 people with bedding provided. Wi-Fi may be available, but will be intermittent if so. Volunteers have their own space and privacy Volunteers have their own space and privacy and should expect cold showers. The orphanage mother will prepare meals for you and the children. You’re more than welcome to lend a hand in the kitchen and learn how to cook traditional Nepalese dishes.
Host Family – Staying with a host family is a great way to become immersed in the Nepalese way of life. You will either have a private room or share with fellow volunteers and you can be sure you will be made to feel like part of the family.
Monastery – Volunteers will live at the monastery in separate volunteer living quarters. Accommodation is basic but comfortable. The monastery in Chitwan is located in a rural setting so volunteers should not expect western style toilets, hot water showers or internet access. The accommodation in Kathmandu is more modern.
Living at the monastery is a truly unique experience that can bring with it some amazing views. You’ll hear the gong go off at 5am every morning to call the monks for prayer and meditation – something you’re welcome to take part in! Living life side-by-side with the monks is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!
During your time with PMGY in Sri Lanka you will live in our Volunteer House which is located in a peaceful suburb of Ambalangoda. Just 20 minutes drive from the centre where you will find local restaurants, small convenience stores and ATMs. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is basic but comfortable with Wi-Fi (there will be a small charge). Each room has bunk beds with up to 9 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own mosquito net and bed linen. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Sri Lanka is hot and humid all year-round!
You will be served three freshly prepared meals per day. Most meals are traditional Indian dishes that can be typically quite spicy and made up of vegetarian ingredients, although pasta and other such western dishes are prepared every now and then. If you are not a huge lover of spicy food don’t worry, there will always be a more mild option available!
You will be served three freshly prepared Nepalese meals a day by your host family. Traditional Nepalese food generally uses a variety of fresh, local ingredients including; lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, chillies, yogurt and lots of rice so its may take a little getting used to.
Dhal Bhat is the national dish and is usually served for breakfast and evening meal every day. It is a dish comprised of rice, lentils and seasoned vegetables.
Most meals are vegetarian with typical dishes being pasta or noodles complimented by locally grown vegetables. There is the occasional chicken, pork or fish dish served up from time to time.
You will be served three freshly prepared meals per day. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available. A weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day!
If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa. Hikkaduwa is a 20 minute journey from Ambalangoda and the cost to get there by tuk tuk is around £3 per way. This is a popular place that volunteers go to in the evening, as it is a trendy backpackers town.