Why should I pay for registration fee?
The registration fee is required to run the organization (office space, computers, Internet, supplies and staffer salaries). New Hope Volunteer has international office in USA to run the coordinated program and we have country offices in different countries where we run our programs. Part of the fee goes to maintaining these offices. The remaining money of the program directly goes to support the projects.
How could I make my payment?
All payments have to be made after your placement is confirmed. We do not accept monthly installments. If you want to stay longer than your committed period, you have to inform us and pay accordingly. Payment can be done either by wire transfer or by credit card.
Is the program fee tax-deductible?
New Hope Volunteer is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. The program fees and all expenses related to your volunteer program, including airfare, are tax-deductible for US taxpayers. However, any amount given by donors for your specific volunteer program is not tax-deductible for the donors. Please consult a tax professional regarding your individual tax situation.
Are MasterCard, Visa and other credit cards accepted?
Nowadays, there are ATMs in most big Sri Lankan cities, which are open during the day. There are also several banks and money exchange services. You can use MasterCard or Visa credit cards, cash (US dollars or euros) or travelers checks.
Who organizes my flights?
You will have to arrange your flights to and from Sri Lanka since you are not charged for airfare.
Do I need travel insurance?
As with any overseas traveling, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before going to Sri Lanka. Talk to your travel agent about this or search on the Internet to see what offers are available, and make sure you look into the details of the policy. Find out if it covers airfare in case of a medical emergency.
What should I bring for myself?
This will vary depending on what activities you want to participate in and how much you need to be comfortable during your placement. With the exception of medicine and a first-aid kit, you can buy everything that you would need for your placement in Colombo (likely cheaper than in your home country). Here are a few suggestions:
- Sleeping bag
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket (a fold-away windcheater is fine)
- Mosquito repellent
- Sun cream
- Water purification tablets and/or good quality water purifier
- First aid kit
- Flashlight (torch)
- Books about your country
- Photos of your family/friends/home, etc.
What should I bring for kids in project?
There is no obligation to bring gifts for project but it would be appreciated, if you bring any gifts. You could bring toys, books, chocolate, pencils, etc.
Will there be any volunteers present during orientation time?
New Hope Volunteer receives 5-10 volunteers a month (depending on season). Most long-term volunteers join the language and culture program. We offer language and culture program in fixed dates to make a small group. Usually there are between 3 and 10 volunteers at the orientation.
What are the existing conditions of my placement?
You are provided with food and accommodations; your program fee covers them. During the training, you will stay at hostel in Galle with other volunteers. We offer food and accommodations from the first day of the program to the last day. Local food thrice a day is provided for you while training and volunteering. You are advised to buy your own bottled water once you arrive in Sri Lanka. For the volunteers who arrive earlier or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer accommodations and food, but we will help volunteers to find a quality, inexpensive place to stay.
The living conditions of the placement depend on the area. One should not expect luxurious accommodations with cozy bed, hot showers and a bathroom like in your home country. You will be placed within a family setting with your own room having electricity. Our host families are mostly educated, well respected in society, and experienced with international volunteers. Some members of host families may speak English.
Will there be someone to pick me up from airport?
One of our representatives will be waiting for you at the airport holding a sign with your name on it. Please do not forget to send your detailed flight itinerary in advance.
Will I have time to explore Colombo during my language and culture program?
You will have plenty of time to explore Colombo and Galle during orientation. As a part of the language program, we offer a tour.
Do I need extra money?
We manage food and accommodation for volunteers from the first to last day of the program so there will not be need of more money for basic necessities. Most things in Sri Lanka are inexpensive. You may need extra money if you plan to take part in activities outside the organization or if you just want to buy some souvenirs. You must also remember visa fees depend on the length of stay. There is also an airport tax, which you pay upon your departure from Sri Lanka.
Will I have communications access?
This all depends on your placement. Almost all placements will have access to a post office. If you are in a city placement, you can have phone and e-mail access. However, this information will all be given to you before your departure to Sri Lanka.
Can I work and live with other volunteers?
We allow people to come with a friend or even in a large group. You sometimes may be placed in different location situated within same area. We can place any volunteer near to another volunteer already working in the field. Please be reminded that volunteers who are of the opposite sex are not allowed to stay in same room unless they are a married couple.
Is it possible to change placement if I get dissatisfied?
New Hope Volunteer will seriously consider the request of volunteer for the change of placement to meet the expectation of volunteers. We cannot change position without genuine reasons.
What happens if I decide to return home before the placement is over?
Once the volunteer makes a decision and pays for the program fee, upon receipt of invoice, New Hope Volunteer does not refund any program fee under any circumstances. Nevertheless, if the volunteers have unavoidable circumstances (such as illness, death of in the family etc) may request to leave the program, we will consider to return 30% of the host family cost, if volunteer have taken part in more than 30 days of the program. No refund will be given for participating in a program for fewer than 30 days.
What about vaccinations and medication?
This all depends on what vaccinations you already have and what country you are coming from. We suggest that you consult a doctor before you depart. New Hope Volunteer does not cover liability and insurance of volunteers. Therefore, volunteers must have appropriate insurance before joining the program. However, you should consider the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow fever
- Malaria tablets
Are New Hope Volunteer programs only for international volunteers?
We mobilize national volunteers along with international volunteer as their counterparts.
Visas are issued on arrival for stay up to 30 days. Visa extension can be obtained at the Immigration Office in Colombo. Please visit www.projectvisa.com or www.immigration.gov.lk/html/visa/fees.html for more information.
If you are planning to travel Sri Lanka after or before volunteer programs, you will need extra money. Sri Lanka is a cheap place for shopping and travel. Gifts for family and friends can be bought in Colombo. It is possible to get hotel room in $10-$15 per night in Colombo.
Where is the arrival and departure point?
Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, around 30 kilometers north of Colombo, is the international airport in Sri Lanka, so you will arrive and depart from there. Our representative will meet you at the airport.
Clothes and Climate in Placement Areas
The climate in Sri Lanka is tropical. Highland areas are cooler and more temperate, and coastal areas are cooled by sea breezes. There are two monsoon seasons, which occur from May to July and December to January. Lightweight clothes and rainwear is recommended as well as warmer clothing for the evenings.
You have three parties available to you 24/7 in case of emergency, health-related or otherwise: New Hope Volunteer staff, your host family, and your program supervisor. Brimng contact information for all three parties before you arrive. If you fail to meet our representative at airport or if your flight details suddenly change, please take a taxi to a hotel. Please call our office from the hotel.
What are the characteristics of good volunteer?
If you have attributes like independence, patience, a sense of humor, tolerance willingness, flexibility, self-motivation and open-mindedness, you get the most out of your stay in Sri Lanka.