We have tried to make our website as accessible as possible so that you can find out all that you need to know plainly. If you have any further questions, please have a look at our FAQs below.

If your question isn’t answered here, or you wish to have further clarification, feel free to contact us via the contact us page.

What is our mission statement?
What is our ethos?
What are the differences between Volunteering and Internships placements?
Are discounts available?
What does my Placement fee cover?
I can’t decide which Projects I would prefer to join. May I speak with someone for more information?
Do I need any experience or qualifications?
Do you have an age limit for Participants?
Are scholarships or financial aid available?
I am not from the UK. Can I still apply?
Do I need to speak English?
How far in advance should I book?
Do I require a DBS?
May I select more than one Project?
Can I come with friends, or as a couple?
Is there an application and selection process?
What happens if I arrive early in Sri Lanka for a GAF Volunteering Project?
How do I know you are reputable company?
How much does a Volunteering or Internship Project cost?
How can I pay?
Are there any extra costs?
What currency do I need?
Do I need to carry much cash?
Can you arrange my flights?
Do I need insurance?
Do I need a Visa?
Will my mobile phone work in Sri Lanka?
What is the internet connection like in Sri Lanka?
Will I be met at the airport?
What support and guidance can I expect?
What is the accommodation like?
Is the water drinkable?
What is the food like?
What happens if I have special dietary requirements?
Do I need to be physically fit?
Will I have any free time?
How does GAF Volunteering make sure I am safe whilst on my Projects?
What happens in the event of an emergency?
Are there any medical restrictions?
Are there employment opportunities with GAFV
How do I apply to be a partner of GAF Volunteering to work with your Volunteers and Interns?

 

What is our mission statement?

Develop ability, create opportunity, champion ecological sustainability and promote people’s economic independence.
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What is our ethos?

To work for the best outcomes for each person and community involved in our projects, and for the ecology of the world around them.
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What are the differences between Volunteering and Internships placements?

Volunteering Placements last between 2-12 weeks. They offer an invaluable opportunity to work with the Sri Lankan people, and to make a difference. As well, of course, as giving you the chance to explore Sri Lanka.

Internship Placements are longer Projects, and typically last between 3-12 months. They not only offer the same opportunities as Volunteering placements, they also enable you to develop your skills in a work or research context.

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Are discounts available?

The organising accompanying member of Groups of 8 people will receive a 25% discount off the Project Price of the first 2 weeks (£225)

Groups of 10 people (organised by an accompanying group member will receive a 35% discount off the price of the first 2 weeks (£315)

Groups above 10 please contact us separately to discuss your Projects preferences and how we may meet your requirements.

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What does my Placement fee cover?

Your Placement fee covers your pre-departure support and information, and in Sri Lanka, transport to and from projects each day (see individual Projects information), 2 meals a day, accommodation, training, orientation, 24-hour in-country and UK support, most project equipment and materials, and other costs associated with offering you this opportunity.
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I can’t decide which Projects I would prefer to join. May I speak with someone for more information?
Feel free to contact us, we will be able to answer any question you may have about our placements.
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Do I need any experience or qualifications?

Many of our Projects do not require experience. We provide full training and support. You bring the enthusiasm!

Some Placements require a basic level of TEFL training, which is indicated in the information, and which you will be able to study and be certificated for before joining the Projects.

Those positions that do require certain skills, qualifications, and experience have these details listed on their respective Projects pages in the Projects information under Required Skills and Qualifications.

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Do you have an age limit for Participants?

The ages for participation at this time is 18 – 60.
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Are scholarships or financial aid available?

GAFV do not offer scholarships or financial support for participation in our Projects. We do, however, support you by keeping our costs to a minimum, whilst offering you excellent service.

If Participants complete their Teach Global Level 5 TESOL training with us, pass their teaching practice and meet other job related requirements, we may wish to offer them employment as language teachers with us after their first year’s Project placement. If we do, and you wish to work for us, we will pay you a wage in the subsequent year, provide you with free housing, provide a return air ticket, equivalent to the cost of one to the UK. If you stay with us a third year, you will have the same benefits, as well as your Level 5 Teach Global English course fees repaid.

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I am not from the UK. Can I still apply?

You can apply even if you are not in the UK or a UK citizen.
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Do I need to speak English?

English, or Sringlish, is widely spoken in Sri Lanka and our partners want to work with us for many reasons, one of the main ones being to improve their English speaking skills, to improve their job prospects. We do therefore require participants on most of our projects to be native English speakers, first language English speakers, or to hold at least IELTS 5.5 in speaking and listening.

We can support non-English speaking groups for some of our Projects, however, these groups must provide as a member of their group, at their own expense, an interpreter to interpret from their language into English and back again.

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How far in advance should I book?

As each of our projects involve, directly or indirectly, contact with children you will need a UK DBS, and / or its overseas equivalence to join our projects. Your UK DBS Certificate will be applied for by our UK admin team, for which we require at least 60 days before joining us in Sri Lanka to apply.

If you wish to have bespoke Projects or Research opportunities, these require advance planning to ensure that everything is in place so that you and our Sri Lankan partners gain the maximum benefit from your placement.

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Do I require a DBS?

Yes, which will be obtained on your behalf by our UK based support centre.

Anyone who has lived in a country other than the UK for 6 months or more since the age of 16 must acquire a DBS equivalent from that country.

Anyone applying from the UK who is not a UK passport holder must acquire a DBS from the UK as well as one from the country for which they hold a passport, as well as from any other country in which they have lived in for 6 months or more.

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May I select more than one Project?

You may choose more than one project prior to joining us in Sri Lanka, provided one of the projects is at least 2 weeks duration. If you wish to stay for another project on completion of the one/s that you originally signed up for you may request this whilst in Sri Lanka.

You will not be able to change Projects once in Sri Lanka.

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Can I come with friends, or as a couple?

People are of course welcome to join us as couples and groups of friends, or colleagues. Couples requiring private accommodation need to let us know in advance so that this can be arranged – which may incur an additional cost. If we cannot accommodate you in our housing or homestays due to availability, we will be able to source hotel rooms for you.
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Is there an application and selection process?

We require all participants to complete an application form prior to acceptance on any GAFV Project. This helps us to know you and what you hope to achieve and enables us to build and support teams and support the Project’s success. Maintaining an application process gives assurance to our Sri Lankan partners and our participants that the GAF Volunteers they will be with will, like them, make a positive contribution to their project’s development and their own experiences.
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What happens if I arrive early in Sri Lanka for a GAF Volunteering Project?

Arriving a few days early may well enable you to take advantage of cheaper flights or simply relax and recover from any jet lag. We can recommend hotels close to the beach for you to stay in prior to meeting your Project leaders on the Saturday that your Project begins. If you arrive in Sri Lanka much earlier than this, you could join one our organised tours prior to beginning your Project with us. (You could also join another tour when you have finished your volunteering or internship with us.)
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How do I know you are reputable company?

GAF Volunteering is a British company and associate members of the Year Out Group working to meet their standards.

As GAF Volunteering only works in Sri Lanka we are dedicated to operate with our partners and project participants in a fully committed manner. We are on hand for you in Sri Lanka 24 hours a day. Your success in this project and the success our project partners report from your work with them is our goal.

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How much does a Volunteering or Internship Project cost?

Each Project in Sri Lanka is the same price.Any additional fees for specific Projects are highlighted in the literature.Course fees, tour fees, entrance fees, are extra. Accommodation on tour is provided, as is half board or breakfast.
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How can I pay?

You can pay your deposit and balances by bank transfer, by debit or credit card in British Pounds (GBP). The full amount of each payment is required and any currency exchange fees have to be paid by you. Please note that if paying by credit card or non-UK debit card, there is an administration fee to cover the costs associated with processing the payment.
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Are there any extra costs?

Each person will require an entry Visa (£45) issued by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London (if in the UK) and placed in your passport. You will need to go to the SLHC in person or send your passport to them by secure post, and pay for the cost of secure return postage. This cost is in addition to the stated price for the project duration.

Each of our Courses –meditation, yoga courses, PADI, TEFL, woodcarving, furniture making, pottery, blacksmithing – are additional costs.

Pre-project injections and medication are additional costs. Your passport, if you need one, is an additional cost.

The tours weekend and longer are also an additional cost, should you choose them.

You will need money for daily expenditure and personal travel. Trishaws / tuk tuks should be about £0.25 / km. You can buy, a snack for £0.20, a lunch from £1.00, a litre of bottled water £0.40, a pint of bottled beer from an off licence £1.10 and up to £2.50 in a local bar or restaurant. 4 people can eat very well in a popular western-style food chain for £20. Cocktails in a 5* hotel are about £4.

Rail and bus transport is very cheap. Trains are 2nd and 3rd class, some have 1st class. Colombo to Anuradhapura by train 2nd class – a 5 hour journey – approximately £2.50. By bus, even cheaper. Local taxis in Colombo can be from £0.20 / kilometre, but car travel between towns in hire cars is expensive. A privately hired car from Colombo to Anuradhapura can cost £50 or more 1 way. The cost of a mini-van is not a lot greater and can be the same as a car.

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What currency do I need?

The Sri Lankan Rupee is the currency needed for purchases in Sri Lanka.
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Do I need to carry much cash?

No. Cash points and banks are found in most places; you can also pay on a card in many places. Prices are still cheap and £5 for a main dish on a tourist beach is considered high by anyone who has travelled Sri Lanka. As most of your daily living costs whilst with us are paid, £50 as pocket money could last a week. Souvenirs can be cheaper outside the obvious tourist areas.
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Can you arrange my flights?

Unfortunately not. However, we have partnered with a great travel company, Journeys Are Made @ Gapyear.com, who can arrange for your flight. For more information, please see our Flights page.
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Do I need insurance?

You will need to purchase your own travel insurance prior to leaving your home country. We will need to see your proof of insurance cover for the duration of your volunteering with us prior to you joining us in Sri Lanka.
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Do I need a Visa?

You will need a visa, which GAFV will organise for you.

To be in Sri Lanka as a participant on any of our projects you will require an Entry Visa, which can only be obtained through GAFV, who obtain this through our collaboration with government ministries.

Those staying longer than 4 weeks will require a Residency Visa, obtainable after 4 weeks, for which you will require the Entry Visas.

If you are staying with us for longer than 4 weeks, the cost of your Residency Visa is included in the overall project cost.

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Will my mobile phone work in Sri Lanka?

With an unlocked phone you can buy a Sri Lankan SIM at the airport. £5 will buy you 5 GB of data valid for a month, plus calls and SMS credit valid for 1 year. We have no problem with getting a mobile phone signal across the island; in fact, in our experience, we receive a better signal here than in London and in houses in the UK.
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What is the internet connection like in Sri Lanka?

In urban areas, we use WIFI 4 G in each of our properties, which we find to be consistently excellent. The mobile data that we purchase for our phones, we also find to be excellent.
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Will I be met at the airport?

If you arrive on the day that your project begins the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month) you will be met at the airport by our GAFV staff. People arriving on the project start date will be met by GAFV staff and taken to their project accommodation in Colombo or to Anuradhapura, for which there will be no charge. Transfers from Colombo to Anuradhapura to begin your project will not be charged.

If you arrive prior to this, you can go to a taxi and travel firm with whom we have an agreement, located on the right hand side of the arrivals lounge as you leave the customs area.

Look for the GAF Volunteering logo there, and present yourself to them with your ID. They will take you to your hotel, at an additional agreed cost. On the Project start date, you will be met at a specific location to be taken to the project bases.

Opposite the taxi firm are a number of currency exchange points where you can change your currency into Sri Lankan rupees.

Opposite the exit gate from customs going into the arrivals lounge are the mobile phone stands. They will sort out your SIM for you once you have changed your currency.

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What support and guidance can I expect?

The very best! We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and network of enthusiastic and well informed staff and representatives. On our Projects you will be working directly alongside our Sri Lankan partners and our Project leaders will be on hand to support you on a daily basis. Together, you will be able to make the most of your Project.

We, our Sri Lankan partners and GAF Volunteering, are equally committed to the success of these Projects, which have been chosen for their purposefulness and ongoing impact for all stakeholders and vitally, you, the Participant. We provide you with regular updates before departure and we are always there at the end of the phone or via email throughout and after your trip.

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What is the accommodation like?

See the information about accommodation on the 'Our Accomodation' page.
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Is the water drinkable?

Each accommodation has a filtered bottled water dispenser provided from which you can take water that is cold, at room temperature, as well as hot for tea and coffee. This water should also be used for food cooking. Tap water is for cleaning with and washing only.
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What is the food like?

The food is nutritious, healthy and plentiful. Vegetables and fruit are locally produced, as are fresh water and sea fish, meat, and dahl.

The staple diet of Sri Lanka is rice and a great variety of curries, which can often be quite mild, infused with spices and cooked in coconut milk, and coconut oil. Fresh raw salads and other accompaniments are also popular, usually served with each meal. Tamil cuisine can be quite different, being influenced by India. All of the catering done by others for you in our accommodation has been carefully considered and balanced for both taste and variety.

Western, Chinese, and Indian influenced food is available in towns and cities. There are Chinese restaurants in Colombo, and some in other places. There is TGI Friday in Colombo, where the lunch menu was a meal and coke for under £5.

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What happens if I have special dietary requirements?

Vegetarian diets, of course, can be accommodated for well. Requests for anything more than this when out will be met with politeness in most cases, and you cannot assume that they will understand or deliver what you have asked for. 5* hotels may well cater for special diets.

We do not guarantee that special dietary requirements will be met by GAFV or any other caterers. We can give no guarantees that those with allergens will not come into contact with foods that they are allergic to. Nor will we be able to tell people that they cannot have certain foods in a house because a person has an allergy to, for example, bananas.

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Do I need to be physically fit?

Most Projects require a moderate level of fitness in order to get the full amount out of your time there. You also need to take account of the weather, which is generally warm or hot. If high levels of fitness are required this is highlighted on the individual Projects information.
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Will I have any free time?

We aim to give our volunteers, depending on the Projects, a 4 day working week. Where possible, this means that participants work for 4 days, have 4 days off, then work a further 4 days, and have 2 days off. This gives you at least one long weekend each fortnight to plan, study, take part in a course, travel on your own or with others to see Sri Lanka, or join us on one of our organised tours.

Those staying 12 weeks will have a further 3 days off with the 4 days at the 5 / 6 week mark week. If you are staying longer than 3 months, this pattern will continue, with additional breaks worked out with you.

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How does GAF Volunteering make sure I am safe whilst on my Projects?

The health and safety of all GAFV volunteers and interns is paramount and we employ strict systems and procedures, including the presence of experienced staff working closely with local partners. We voluntarily comply with BS8848. We ensure that GAFV and our Partners are up to date with local developments and we regularly review risk assessments for each location and Projects. We have emergency action plans in place for a variety of scenarios, protocols for incident and near miss reporting, and weekly reporting to GAF Volunteering managers to ensure we are always up to date with local countrywide developments. All our volunteers and staff receive a full orientation, always have permission to decline to participate if they feel unsafe, and have access to a 24-hour emergency support system in Sri Lanka in case of incident or concern.

We always debrief our project partners and participants at the end of each placement to identify what went well and how our existing exacting standards and protocols may be improved – as well as how our projects may be improved.

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What happens in the event of an emergency?

GAF Volunteering staff and Projects leaders are fully trained to deal with any type of emergency and all our Projects are linked with GAF Volunteering staff in the UK 24-hours a day.

In case of an emergency we would link up with field members to arrange local medical treatment and support.

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Are there any medical restrictions?

Each volunteer will need to disclose any existing medical conditions. Admission to your chosen Projects is subject to consideration of all medical conditions so that the safety of all Participants can be assured. Exclusion from one option for medical reasons does not necessarily prevent participation on all of our Projects. Our professional advisors will always be able and happy to help you find the most suitable volunteer experience.
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Are there employment opportunities with GAFV

Opportunities do exist with GAFV in Sri Lanka as well as the UK.

We require native English speaking qualified TEFL teachers (you can qualify with us) to work with our Volunteers, with our Projects as well as with our Elmdene Language Academy, pre-school and Vocational College. We need Directors of Study to guide the learning curriculum for Elmdene Academy as well as to coach volunteers and interns in delivering English language programmes.

We require teachers and managers in our Elmdene British Nursery, where our pre-school teachers support Sri Lankan government pre-school teachers, and where we train our volunteers to deliver a pre-school curriculum through play and English.

We do require people who have worked on GAF Volunteering courses to be Projects leaders in Sri Lanka, and GAF Volunteer alumni to recruit for us in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

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How do I apply to be a partner of GAF Volunteering to work with your Volunteers and Interns?

Please send a brief description of your requirements and project aims and objectives to enquiries@giveafigvolunteering.com. A GAF Volunteering Director will contact you to discuss your application, your requirements and where and how to visit you in Sri Lanka.
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