Who We Are
Give A Fig Volunteering, are a UK non-profit, working in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the government, and local people, making change and development possible on our government and community initiated projects. We are also a Sri lankan NGO, working to the same ends, and those joining us on our unique projects will gain experience of education, and development that they may not get anywhere else.
We work in government schools, colleges, universities, in villages through which walk wild elephants, as well as in schools for child monks, and in the world's only government supported buddhist university. We work with all communities, and you can be assured that when you join us, whether for 2 weeks, or 52 weeks, that we are right here in Sri Lanka to ensure that you, and the people you work with, get the maximum benefit from your experience.
Develop ability, create opportunity, champion ecological sustainability, and promote people’s economic independence.
To work for the best outcomes for each person and community, and for the ecology of the world around them.
Our Sri Lanka volunteering Project Placements last 2-52 weeks, and are open to individuals, groups, families of all ages, and to those wanting professional, vocational, or life enhancing opportunities in this tropical country for up to a year.
Professional & lifestyle courses
As an educational organisation we offer a range of courses designed to support you professionally, and personally.
These include a range of TESOL courses, ,support for MA and PhD study, as well as a variety of craft and lifestyle courses
Tours of Sri Lanka
Experience a continent on this beautiful island of Sri Lanka. Wake on the east coast, then visit an ancient city, then pick tea in the hill country. Or simply chill and marvel.
The tours aren't just for our volunteers. Working with vocational students whom we help to support, we plan tours for Fig and Gecko hostel guests, and tourists.
Meet the Team
Joel, Summer Project Coordinator 2017:
Joel, 26,, is a social media writer for a large company in the UK, learning Spanish and studying an OU degree in linguistics. He joined us for the Summer as our Project Coordinator, and did a fantastic job teaching - which he did for the first time, putting his TEFL to good use - as well as accompanying volunteers to the projects and supporting them. He also did an amazing job with DIY around our Fig and Gecko Hostel. When you join us as volunteers you can be assured of our full support. If you are thinking of a 'workaway' style experience in Sri Lanka (who wouldn't), or you'd like to join us for an extended period, teaching and carrying out other support work for our non-profit, please contact us. We're always willing to chat. To find out more, you could find and message Joel on FB at @joelGiveAFigV / https://www.facebook.com/JoelGAFV/
Tracey Jane Deane BA Fashion; PGCE; MA Ed Leadership; TEFL Cert.
Jane, a founding director of GAFV, is passionate about education as well as supporting communities through developing their industry, and enhancing women’s earning capacity through marketing their skills. She is a graduate tailor of Savile Row, and owned her own fashion label and company in Germany for 10 years in the 90s before attending Central St Martin’s, London. There she won the Motorola Young Designer of the Year Award, and went on to become a teacher and educational manager in schools in the UK for 12 years. Travelling the world with her husband Paul she realised that Sri Lanka ticked all of the boxes for her interests, and that the people wanted us to work with them to support their development. Jane and Paul established an education company here in 2014, and to support the work they have been asked to do in education, founded Give a Fig Volunteering. Jane is also studying an MA by distance learning and as an educational company, we are all set up in Sri Lanka to support you with any studies you may have too – whether your TEFL certification, or anything else.
Paul Ellmes BA His/RE; PGCE; MA SEN; Cert TEFL
Paul, with Jane, is a founding director of Give A Fig Volunteering, and both are resident in Sri Lanka. We are on hand to ensure that your placement is fully supported, enabling both you and our Sri Lankan hosts to get the most from your work on the project.
For the past 20 years Paul has worked as a teacher and manager in UK schools, a deputy head teacher of a school in Spain, and a head teacher of a secondary school in Kuwait. He has advised on education, special educational needs, and teaching English as a second language. His interests lie in the transforming power of education, social and economic justice, ecology, the natural world, as well as history and historical heritage.
Priyantha Rathnayake BSc Econ; PGD Community Development; MA Soc.
Village and Community Development Advisor
Give A Fig are very fortunate to have Priyantha as one of the advisors on our team. His 18 years’ experience in this area in Sri Lanka have seen him planning, preparing, coordinating and delivering development in over 3000 Sri Lankan villages and communities in both urban and rural areas.
He has previously advised NGOs, the World Bank, Mercy Corps, and the Red Cross, local, provincial and national politicians and government ministries, and his input for our development projects is valued and respected by the communities he supports us with.
Priyantha has led on flood and drainage management, infrastructure development including the building of roads, culverts, bridges, Multi-purpose buildings, the renovation of irrigation tanks and canals, construction of agro wells etc., pipe borne water supply schemes, institutional water supply schemes for schools, hospitals, and places of worship, the construction of sanitary toilets, as well as conducting hygiene promotion programmes and implementing livelihood development programmes.
His work continues for Sri Lanka as a specialist advising and planning at the highest levels of government and with the World Bank on the Megalopolis Project – aimed at improving the infrastructure of Colombo for the 21st century – a role he undertakes whilst also advising on village development with Give A Fig!