Late 2017 I was searching for overseas volunteering opportunities, I had a long list for more than one organization in different cities. My 2018 bucket list was full of plans, and I decided to... Abeer Alfar
Health & Safety
Day to Day Life
Volunteering abroad with PMGY offered me the most incredible moments in my life
Submitted by Abeer Alfar - Dubai | May 13, 2018
Late 2017 I was searching for overseas volunteering opportunities, I had a long list for more than one organization in different cities. My 2018 bucket list was full of plans, and I decided to kick off my journey by spreading love in Sri Lanka with Plan My Gap Year. I wanted to experience the culture of this beautiful country and to connect with its people. And I actually felt like home!
From the day I signed up till the day I left, PMGY team was very supportive in answering all my inquiries and questions. Everything was well organized starting from airport pickup , accommodation, project orientation and culture review.
When you reach you will meet lot of volunteers, the coordinators will give you orientation about the projects, the rules you need to follow and hints about the culture. I remember that I was not so comfortable, I was thinking if I’m in the right place for my vacation!
I signed up for the orphanage project or what we call it girls home! The program was for 3 hours in the afternoon after they come back from the school, the tasks “as it was communicated “ were to help them with their studies and play with them in the greenery nature outside. But it was much more, the beautiful strong girls made it special for me , it was a “GAIN” and “GIVE” from both sides, and yes its true you gain way more than you actually give. When they feel loved they will give you more love! Their pure white hearts inspire you want to give even more, we spent 2 weeks full of happiness, laughs, dance and random smiles.
ACCOMMODATION IN SRI LANKA
It will be your second home! You will enjoy the simple life when you are surrounded with lovely friendly people, PMGY put a huge effort to give me the real experience of Sri Lankan people life, and experience the simplicity of this country. The accommodation was basic comfortable, however few things must be taken into consideration like AC, bathrooms, hot showers which can be improved. Food was fine and they were doing their best to meet some dietary requirements for some volunteers. In two days you will feel like it’s home!
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
Throughout my two weeks in Sri Lanka I was surrounded with lovely people from different countries different cultures and different age groups, but we were all seeking the same objective. I met friends for life whom we shared the same room and meals with, we have also created unforgettable memories. Coordinators and volunteers were my second family, we had beautiful times during the project even in our free time.
THE REAL EXPERIENCE
It all starts from Day one when you set your own goals and what you want to achieve before going there. The skills you have and your life experience might really change others life so put a clear plan to yourself; my plan for the girls was to inspire and empower them to speak and allow them to talk about their dreams. Every day during my stay I was helping them to write about themselves and read it loudly so everyone can hear and know their thoughts. It doesn’t only help them to be open to their future and how they want to achieve it but also it gives them the opportunity to share their dreams and communicate a vision. However you can’t force them to do it all the time, so I managed to include some competitions, games, dance and fun time with small prizes like chocolate or snacks they love to treat them, which actually inspired them to follow the plan!
WAS IT A REAL VACATION?!
A BIG YES; it was voluntary work travel, however relaxation had also secure a spot, beautiful nature, beaches, shops and markets are easily reachable and it’s strong YES for a vacation with purpose, explore the country in your free time, plan for your weekends with your new friends or as solo traveller “as I did” be sure that the coordinators will give you all the needed support to enjoy your travel and be safe.
Plan My Gap Year project crossed all my expectations, I am passionate about helping kids and youths that was the reason I chose this project, but I have never imagined that this experience change the person inside me. YES I did it once and will repeat it again and again! Other volunteers shared their experience in different projects such as medical, mental health, turtles conservation and elephant orphanage and it met all their expectations. We spent our nights sharing the different experience from all the projects, and some got excited to do more than project a day!
YES I HIGHLY RECOMMEND PMGY SRI LANKA PROJECTS IT SHOULD BE IN YOUR BUCKET LIST