- Atoll Volunteers is a young and vibrant organisation 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 local Maldivians, and has grown over the years to include a number of volunteer programmes, including Marine Conservation, teaching and medical placements.
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 that 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 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 house, Aqua Inn, which is simple, but modern and clean, 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, made a real difference to our community, and hopefully come to love the little island that we call home.
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 Marine Centre, schools, hospitals, sporting teams and local community of over 6000 people.
So come and join us for the chance to live the ultimate experience in island volunteering, knowing that you will help make a real difference in our community!
Naifaru balan aadhey!
See you in Naifaru!
- 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 put into our community
Our community embodies the Maldivian spirit; vibrant and welcoming, we treat everyone as family. However, we know that there is much that can be done to improve our island and provide better opportunities for our youth. We actively support our community, and run a range of programmes and individual projects at any time, and so 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 for 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. Together, we 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 behalf of other international volunteer organisations.
We chose to launch our own volunteer programme as the various international partnerships that we were previously involved with all had extremely high administration costs, which meant that only a small fraction of the volunteers’ placement fees actually reached our organisation and the island community. In fact, in some cases the community found themselves actually 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, and quite rightly so, “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 exactly 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 international 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.
We have a long history supporting our community in Naifaru, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact and exciting opportunities that will arise from the wonderful work of you, our volunteers!
- The Maldives is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean. Known for it’s crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, tropical marine life, and blue skies, we are incredibly lucky be surrounded by this beautiful natural paradise!
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, which supplies tuna to all over the world!
Our beautiful island of Naifaru is located in Lhaviyani Atoll, in the north of the 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 of recently reclaimed land. Within this reclaimed area there are a lot of construction projects planned during the next few years, which will see Naifaru grow, meaning your help as a volunteer will be crucial in the future development of the island.
We have a vibrant community, of just over 6000 people currently registered on the island, with the majority being Maldivian, as well as a small number of expatriate workers from countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Our island is the capital of Lhaviyani Atoll, and whilst you probably we are still a small island community, we have everything you could need. There is a post office and a bank (with an ATM) at your disposal as well as a number of restaurants, coffee shops and stores selling everything from hardware to tailoring services.
Naifaru has a few main streets which form a grid within which you will find a maze of intricate side streets and alleys, perfect for exploring. 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 a vibrant island full of life and friendly people, a great place to make new friends to last a lifetime.
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."
"Since starting university I have had a passion for conservation and wildlife, gearing my degree in that direction. The opportunity to work with a local NGO and gain real experience in coordinating a project with so many different aspects is a dream come true. The Maldives has quickly become a second home and exploring the island, the atoll and the ocean is truly a wonderful part of the job. All of the volunteers and permanent staff are people that I will forever call friends, and lets not forget about all of the rehabilitating turtles in the marine centre."
"After first coming to the Maldives with Flinders University, I have returned to Naifaru to be the new Aquarium Biologist and establish a clownfish breeding program here at the Atoll Marine Center. My research background is in anemones, who form an important symbiosis with anemonefish and how they will both be affected by future climate scenarios. I am extremely excited about this unique opportunity and am very passionate about breeding of marine ornamentals to create a more sustainable aquarium trade. We've found Nemo now it's time to save him!"
"Working with Atoll Volunteers allows me to work closely with marine life whilst 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 the Maldivian community and the environment that they live in. Naifaru Juvenile promotes gender equality through empowerment of women, as well as our communities youth, and gives the opportunity for people to reach their full potential. Atoll Marine Centre is highly respected by the community. As well as rehabilitating turtles back into the wild, AMC is committed to community outreach projects,conducting workshops with schools, resorts local 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 the Maldivian community and to the volunteers themselves. The benefits to the community are extensive; volunteers’ time and money is worth huge amounts to the Maldives. This means our projects make a significant difference, with 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, and for us to increase our reach to even more communities, allowing us to help even more people across the Maldives.
Our volunteers bring a lot to the community, but we hope their experience will also 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 challenges 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. If you wish to donate and contribute to our important work, please visit our GoFundMe Page
email us for more information: email@example.com