- We are a young and vibrant programme run by local and international volunteers on Naifaru island in the Maldives. We are run through our parent NGO Naifaru Juvenile, which was founded in 2000 by three locals and has grown over the years to include a volunteering programme.
We offer a range of local volunteering programmes and we are dedicated to securing the most exciting and beneficial
projects for our volunteers while still making sure that as much attention and funding as possible is funneled directly into our community. Most importantly, we believe that volunteering does not need to be all work and no play, and that the most rewarding of volunteer programmes allow you to enjoy your placement at the same time as giving back to our community.
Our community is desperate for your help in so many ways but in return we promise to welcome you into our lives as a friend, show you the best the “real” Maldives has to offer and be on hand to support you in any way we can. We may not be able to offer you the luxuries of the 5 star hotels but the natural beauty of the Maldives is not limited to 5 star resorts – idyllic beaches, uninhabited islands and some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs teeming with marine life of every colour are yours to explore. We provide accommodation in our volunteer houses which are modern but simple and clean, and similar to what you would expect to find in a European beach resort.
Our mission is to ensure that you leave the Maldives having experienced the warmth and friendliness of our people, explored our islands, been amazed at the beauty of our marine life and hopefully come to love the little island that we call home.
We have extensive experience in placing volunteers in exciting projects that have seen our volunteers partake in activities as varied as turtle conservation, teaching, community organising, various sports programmes and much, much more.
We endeavour to provide the best volunteering experience that the Maldives has to offer and have a range of customised placements which have been planned in cooperation with our schools, hospitals, sporting teams and local community of over 5000 people to offer a wide variety of volunteering options.
- We believe in
- Building a stronger community through sustainable projects
- Engaging the community in the work of our volunteers to secure a learning process that is beneficial for both parties
- Building a better future for our community with special attention on creating a better life for our youth so that they may have better employment opportunities and the chance to pursue their dreams!
- Bringing people of all nationalities and cultures together with a common goal
- Low administration costs – to ensure as much funding as possible is given back to our community
We actively support our community and run a range of programmes and individual projects at any time, so we are always looking for new volunteers to help us in our work.
It is our vision to build a stronger community, not just on our island of Naifaru, but on all the islands across Lhaviyani Atoll and in the future all of the 1192 islands that make up the Maldives.
We strive to make a difference in a number of areas through community inclusion built on awareness programmes, hiring locally, close cooperation with local schools and community organisations as well as an interest in bringing international volunteers in to teach different views and methods that can help create a more sustainable community.
- Atoll Volunteers started recruiting volunteers in 2012 after more than 4 years of experience running volunteer programmes on Lhaviyani Atoll on behalf of other international volunteer organisations in the Maldives through our NGO.
We chose to launch our own volunteer programme since the various international partnerships that we were previously involved in all had extremely high administration costs, which meant that only a small fraction of the volunteers’ placement fees would actually reach our organisation and the island community – in some cases the community found themselves needing to subsidise the volunteers’ stay as the funding that was received was simply not enough to cover basic accommodation and food costs.
Therefore, we decided to make a change for the better. One of the most frequently asked questions by potential volunteers is “Where does my money go?” and we wanted to ensure that it really was reaching the community it was intended for. At Atoll Volunteers we keep our running costs to a minimum, with no international offices or paid international staff, we keep our advertising and administration costs as low as possible and have a transparency policy which means that as our volunteer you will be able to monitor what your funds cover – any funds remaining from your programme fee go directly into local community projects.
Not only are our fees lower and more transparent than most other Maldivian NGOs, but we were also the first NGO in the Maldives registered to bring in foreign volunteers. This means that you can be sure that we know what we are doing and that our visa application process is smooth and quick.
However, as all our full time employees are local Maldivians, please do excuse us if our English, which is our second language, is not always perfect!
So come and join us for the chance to experience the ultimate in island volunteering but do it knowing that you will help make a real difference in our community!
Naifaru balan aadhey!
See you at Naifaru!
- The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 square kilometers.
Atoll Volunteers operates the majority of its volunteer placements within Lhaviyani Atoll. There are a total of 54 islands in the atoll of which only 4 are inhabited, namely Naifaru, Hinnavaru, Kurendhoo and Olhuvelifushi. Naifaru is the capital of the atoll and the base of Atoll Volunteers.
There are seven tourist resorts in the atoll: Kuredhu, Kanifushi, Komandoo, Kanuhuraa, Palm Beach, Hurawhali and Cocoon Resort. The only tuna canning factory in the country is on Felivaru located between Naifaru and Hinnavaru.
Our beautiful island of Naifaru is located in the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Northern Maldives. The island lies approximately 142 kilometers (88 miles) north of the capital, Malé and is approximately 53 hectares (53 km²), which includes an area recently reclaimed.
Within the reclaimed area there are a lot of construction projects planned during the next few years, which will see Naifaru grow and the need for your help as a volunteer will be crucial in the future development of the island.
Being the fifth most populated island in the Maldives, Naifaru is a bustling little community, spotted with stores selling everything from hardware to tailoring services. There is a post office and a bank (with an ATM) at your disposal as well as a number of restaurants and coffee shops. Naifaru has just over 5,000 people currently registered on the island with the majority being Maldivian whilst there are a small number of expatriate workers from countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Naifaru has a few main streets which form a grid within which you will find a maze of intricate side streets and alleys. Both the main streets and side streets are always filled with people of all ages, sitting around talking, playing local card games or even playing Maldivian music in the street – Naifaru is an island full of life and friendly people, a great place to make new friends and meet new faces.
Given the relatively small size of the island, everything is within easy reach – From the volunteer house you can walk to any of our projects in less than ten minutes. Or you might walk down to one of the island’s four restaurants and enjoy the cool evening breeze with a cup of coffee and a view of the Indian Ocean and the Naifaru ‘skyline’.
If you wish to get to know more about the location, you can check out these sections:
Kanma (Mohamed Ahmed)
"I have always aspired to helping my local community and improving the quality of life here in Naifaru in any way I can. Co-founding Atoll Volunteers has been a difficult but truly worthwhile journey and my dream has become a reality. Volunteers bring interesting and valuable experiences and expertise that have been integral in achieving this dream and making island life even more enjoyable."
Nattu (Abdul Raheem Nashid)
"Having the opportunity to express my creativity through Maldives Originals, while helping my local community is something I find very fulfilling. I am excited to continue this work in the future."
"Every day I fall more and more in love with this place - the laid back lifestyle, the friendly & interesting people, the incredible out of this world experiences, the unique setting...It's the Real Maldives and I'm glad to be here, helping people discover the beauty of this island and the vital work of the NGO. To help the team fight against the plight of the turtles, keep this marine environment clean & healthy and build a better future for the people of Naifaru is an absolute joy and honour."
"Working with Atoll Volunteers allows me to work closely with marine life while experiencing new cultures. The Maldives has amazing marine life which is under threat from both climate change and anthropogenic influences. Seeing the effects of this first hand is shocking yet motivating , to ensure I help to make a difference on my short stay here."
- Coming Soon!
Atoll Volunteers exists as part of a network of companies, all of which look to improve the well being of Maldives community and the environment that they live in. Naifaru Juvenile promotes equality through the sexes and age groups and gives the opportunity for people to reach their full potential. The marine centre is highly respected by the community and teaches people about best environmental practice. Atoll Volunteers can share their knowledge and skills to assist with these partners.
Atoll Volunteers’ projects offer many advantages to both Maldives community and to the volunteers themselves. The benefits to the community are extensive, volunteers’ time and money is worth huge amounts to the Maldives, allowing for more community engagement and the introduction of skills and knowledge that they would not have access to otherwise.
Donating to Atoll volunteers allows for the programmes to grow. The outreach to communities can increase and allows us to help more people across the Maldives.
The volunteers bring a lot to the community, but their experience will be incredibly advantageous to their own future. Students and graduates are facing tougher and tougher competition for jobs and differentiating themselves from other candidates is difficult. Our programmes offer the chance for personal and professional development, to experience a different culture, different struggles and beauty that gives a new appreciation for the world we live in.
Donating to Atoll Volunteers improves the future for the local people of Maldives and the volunteers that assist us with this endeavor.
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