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The project is located on the locally inhabited island of Naifaru, which sits within the Lhaviyani Atoll in the north of the Maldives. As the sixth most populous island in the Maldives, Naifaru boasts a lively community and offers a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. Most of the approximately 6000 inhabitants are Maldivian, however Naifaru is also home to a number of immigrant workers from countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The island is packed with intricate streets lined with shops selling everything from ice creams to tailoring services, and there are a number of restaurants serving both local and western delicacies. Take the time to immerse yourself in the vibrant, friendly and welcoming community and kick back and relax on the islands beautiful beaches.
Volunteers will help run a small rescue and rehabilitation centre for endangered sea turtles (predominantly green and olive ridley turtles). Most of the green turtles arrive at the centre having been kept illegally as pets, whereas most of the olive ridleys arrive having been caught in discarded fishing gear. Turtles are cared for in the centre by the resident marine biologists until they can be released back into the ocean.
As a volunteer, you will join a dedicated team of marine conservationists, helping to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles.
There is an on-site veterinarian that volunteers work with on most days at the marine centre (as well as the marine biologist). Our lab is not currently set up for major surgeries, but volunteers will assist in basic turtle medical care.
We have also introduced a coral gardening project which includes collecting corals of opportunity (naturally broken off from the reef) and attaching them to coral trees or frames in our nursery. The coral project also requires monitoring and maintenance tasks like cleaning frames, checking the health of the coral, removing competing species, and measuring growth.
Daily tasks may vary depending on the time and duration of your stay, and the number of turtles at the marine centre. Mondays are our day off and set aside for fun afternoon excursions arranged by the project staff.
Please note: Volunteer activities can change based upon the needs of the project
In 2019, this center admitted 60 injured sea turtles, 22 of which have been released so far.
Internet: WiFi is available at the accommodation.
Laundry: Laundry facilities are available at the accommodation.
Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in shared accommodation (2-3 per room). All rooms are single gender and are equipped with air conditioning and an en suite bathroom. The volunteer house has electricity, communal living area and basic kitchen supplies. Private rooms are available at an additional cost (pending availability).
Food: We provide volunteers with three meals daily. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet-style at a local restaurant. Vegetarian/Vegan options are available – please inform us of any specific dietary requirements in advance and the local team will cater for these.
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. Volunteers staying longer than 29 days will need to apply for a business visa.
Business Visa Requirements
All applications to volunteer longer than 29 days in the Maldives need 4 weeks in advanced notice to apply for the visa. We will cover the cost of the business visa application by the programme fees. However, any additional costs required to get the documents listed below are not included.
Departures and PCR Testing
Volunteers currently need to get a PCR test before departure. Therefore, we recommend staying one night in Male before flying to get the results on time. The extra fee for the test costs around $50 and can take up to 12 hours to receive the results. An express test is available for
$100, with results being received within 6 hours.
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:
Project staff organise weekly excursions for all volunteers (included in the project fee). Activities range from exploring uninhabited islands and specific snorkelling trips to dolphin watching, fishing, and searching for manta rays. We also endeavour to arrange a day trip to a local resort if there is availability.
Participants take advantage of discounted rates at Kuredu Island Resort and Spa at the end of their time on the project. Please enquire about further details/current deals.