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This project is based on the island of Naifaru, in the Lhaviyani Atoll in the northernmost part or the Maldives archipelago. Ranked as the sixth largest island in the Maldives, Naifaru features a vibrant community and provides an amazing opportunity to make new acquaintances. The population of Naifaru comprises around 6000 people, mostly Maldivians, as well as immigrants from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The island has a lot of winding roads, with stores offering anything from ice creams to tailoring, and restaurants with both local and western menus. Spend some time getting to know the lively, inviting community here and take a break on the gorgeous beaches of the island.
We are fortunate to be in the Maldives, surrounded by an abundance of tropical marine life, which includes five species of sea turtle. However, habitat destruction, poaching, illegal pet trading, and harm from ghost net entanglement have caused most sea turtle species to become endangered.
The Marine Centre, together with a local NGO, works to combat this by rescuing, rehabilitating and eventually releasing sea turtles, particularly the green sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle, back into the wild where they belong. Most of the green turtles come to the center after being illegally kept as pets, whereas the team liberates most of the olive ridleys after becoming entangled in fishing gear that was carelessly discarded.
Joining our team as family volunteers, you will get the chance to learn practical turtle husbandry skills from our Marine Biologists, from feeding and cleaning, to helping provide medical treatment.
This opportunity is ideal for young conservationists who want to get real-world experience, or for volunteers who are passionate about sea turtles and want to help them ethically.
The children can take part in the same tasks as the regular volunteers. This includes feeding the turtles, enrichment activities, snorkelling and visiting the floating marine centre. Cleaning the tanks is the only chore they may choose to skip due to it being a laborious job. The kids can also take part in releasing turtles, presentations, and coral restoration activities. They have virtually no limits with involvement and, of course, having the parents involved ensures the child has support.
Even with its beautiful turquoise waters and sandy beaches, Naifaru Island is not a resort. Life on the islands throughout the Maldives is extraordinarily different and portrays the huge wealth divide. Naifaru has experienced several issues that this difference has caused. For instance, the living conditions can be quite basic and the island has a subpar waste management system. The island has areas with rubbish and there are unfinished construction projects due to a lack of funds.
The local NGO’s work goes beyond our marine conservation initiatives. By volunteering, you can help the community by educating, backing, and advocating for a better Naifaru. Such as improving sports facilities, conducting beach cleanups, and protecting the marine environment. This effort helps to create a more joyous and successful Naifaru!
Please note: Daily tasks may vary depending on the time and duration of your stay, and the number of turtles at the marine center. Weather also plays a role in what you will do and bad weather may prevent you from going in the water for several days.
Internet: Wi-Fi is available at the accommodation.
Laundry: Laundry service is available at the accommodation.
Accommodations: Family volunteers will stay either in ensuite twin rooms, triple rooms or king-size room for 4 (if available). Families of 4+ may also get 2 rooms next to each other. All rooms have air conditioning, bed linen, towels, safe deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower. Hotel facilities include roof top terrace with ocean view, shared lounge, coffee point, front desk services and room service.
Food: We offer volunteers three meals a day at the hotel or local restaurant, with selections for kids. There are also vegetarian and vegan choices available. Please let us know of any dietary restrictions ahead of time and the local staff will provide for them.
The Maldives government has announced that those travelling two weeks after their second vaccination (WHO approved) may visit the country without quarantine. Volunteers staying less than 29 days in the Maldives will just need a tourist visa. Please note that we will provide you with further information and help after your application to and acceptance on the program.
Volunteer program minimum requirements:
The project staff organizes weekly excursions for all volunteers (included in the project fee). Activities range from exploring uninhabited islands and specific snorkeling trips to dolphin watching, fishing, and searching for manta rays.