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Gap breaks to Sri Lanka

23rd May 2011 Print

For students and school leavers wishing to take a shortened gap break in order to start university this year and avoid increased tuition fees in 2012, The Unique Travel Company provides several excellent value-for-money options on the fascinating island of Sri Lanka.

Specialising in responsible tourism on the Indian Ocean island, The Unique Travel Company offers voluntourism placements ranging from just £550 per person for four weeks to £1,020pp for 12 weeks, making it much more affordable than most other gap break organisations.

What’s more, the company is run by Sue Gregory who has worked extensively as a volunteer English teacher throughout Sri Lanka and is, therefore, well placed to offer first-hand advice and guidance to prospective volunteers.

Unique Travel’s volunteer projects have been chosen carefully to ensure that assistance is given to those in greatest need, mainly in the poorest areas on the island.

They include a number of schools in and around the coastal town of Negombo which are badly in need of assistance.  The company makes a financial contribution for every volunteer that is placed at one of the schools, which is used to purchase equipment and facilities that are sadly lacking.

Volunteers who take a placement in one of these schools are helping to make a significant difference to the children who need to learn to speak English well in order to stand any chance of getting a good job under the free-trade economy.

Also much needed are volunteers to work in one of Sri Lanka’s orphanages, some of which offer homes for children with disabilities, of which there are a staggering 1.5 million in a population of 20 million people.

Sri Lankan orphanages rely heavily on charitable donations since they receive little or no governmental funding.  Simply by playing games, singing, and showing love and attention to the children, volunteers bring a little joy and light relief into lives that have been blighted by misfortune at an early age.

No specific qualifications or experience are required for either the school or orphanage placements, although working with people with disabilities would be useful in the latter.  However, volunteers need to have perseverance and patience, and be kind and hard working in order to care for those who are among the most vulnerable in society.

In return, they will be welcomed into the community with great warmth, rewarded with the knowledge that they are making a genuine difference to the lives of many under privileged children, and gaining skills and memories that will last a lifetime.

They will also have the opportunity to visit the fascinating island of Sri Lanka, which boasts 14 national parks teeming with wildlife, a coastline stretching over 1,300kms with some of the best golden sand beaches in the world, numerous historic, cultural and religious sites, glorious scenery bathed in sunshine and a plethora of activities from white-water rafting to trekking in virgin rainforest.

Prices start from £550 for four weeks and include pre-departure information, airport transfers, local orientation, all accommodation and meals with local families, 24-hour support in Sri Lanka and assistance in Colombo with visa extensions for visits in excess of 30 days.  Flights, travel insurance, excursions and visa fees are extra.

For more details visit:

Direct flights to Sri Lanka Colombo International airport from London Heathrow are operated by Sri Lankan Airlines: