My Name is Sydney four years ago I gave up my property development company and have returned to Sri Lanka. In hearing from my local village that the UNESCO Protected rainforest of Sinharaja is being exploited by a leading Hotel chain, Major tea plantations and Poachers, hunting the protected animals of the area, I had no choice but to return to my home country and take these matters into my own hands.
My first action was to create a Facebook page to create this first wave of awareness letting this become public, I quickly gained 6000 plus followers. With having this issue on social media and made public my next move was to approach the government officials. After visiting the National Forest Department and local M.Ps who gave general interest into the preservation of the rainforest it was still clear to me that I was no match for the bribes and corruption of these major company’s and the weakness of the Sir Lankan Government.
With no faith in my fellow countrymen, I contacted major Environmental protection agency’s via email pleading my case and not looking for funding in any way, only to get more awareness to trigger a response from the Sir Lankan Government. These agency’s response was that they were to busy with other campaigns and that I should refer back to my own local Authorities. As I knew already my own local Authorities were in the pocket of the major hotel chains and I was on my own.
With no help from any large outside parties, my only option was to create my own business to support my campaign, I currently have three guesthouses that have been supporting my cause. This has been a huge help in promoting awareness through foreign visitors. Some of these guests have even sent care package’s of toys and other items for my school visits. The money generated from this venture has enabled me to fund my campaign, printing leaflets and do school visits to raise awareness to the younger generation.
Although my endeavour is tough and slow in any real results this is my path and passion, I will continue to fight against these people, foreign or local as this rainforest and many others I believe are more important than profit and commercialisation.
What are you looking for help with?
I am looking for people to help me run our tourist resort and organic farm in the beautiful southern hill country in Deniyaya and beach front guest house in Polhena, Matara, Sri Lanka.
- Animal keeping
- Charity Work/Fundraising
- Teaching/Language Exchange
- General Help
It’s a place for different workshops to be run, we have a bakery included in the resort where many local people shop and are just about to start a small organic farm in the backyard. We are looking forward to meeting interesting people and to learning a variety of things such as organic farming, sustainable building, forest conservation, butterfly farming, water conservation, bakery, eco-resort, advertising the place through the internet etc. We are looking for people who are willing to take ownership of the tasks to fulfil and having a lot of freedom to organise themselves accordingly.
Furthermore, we are starting a campaign to save the Rainforest (see information below) through awareness-raising as a first step. Therefore we are especially looking for people who would like to take part in that, e.g. go to schools and talk to the kids about the importance of the topic, create games to get them involved… Your help needed! The rainforest in Sri Lanka is threatened. This is a World Heritage Site, although protected by Unesco. Still, it is getting smaller every year and in 20 years many animal species will get extinct if the cutting of trees for tea will continue at this pace.
I am also looking for people to help me run a guest house and hostel on the south coast in Polhena, Matara. Tasks would include cleaning, serving guests, gardening etc.
We are hoping to start a turtle and coral conservation project, so anyone with interest in this field would be a big help. If you want to stay for one week, 1 month, 3 months, or more, you are more than welcome and your help will be greatly appreciated!!
How many volunteers could you host?
When would you need volunteers?
all year around
How many hours of help per day?
How many days of help per week?
Are accommodation and food included?
Yes, food and accommodation are included
What type of accommodation can you provide?
- Dormitory/shared rooms
- Private room for a couple
Sri Lankan food
No, this opportunity is free
No! I cannot help with Visa
There will be plenty of time to explore the surroundings by bike or on foot. There are plenty of waterfalls nearby to swim in, nature, rice paddies and tea plantations to hike through and of course the Rainforest National Park – a paradise for nature lovers!
What to do in the free time
Trekking, Surfing, yoga, meditation.
Mountain and the beach
How to get to your site
From Colombo direct bus 5 hours.
Is there internet access?