Sabbir’s Sri Lanka Experience

Sabbir S.
Volunteer Name:Sabbir S.
Project Attended:Turtle Conservation Project
Country Attended:Sri Lanka
Volunteer Bio:Sabbir Sidat was the lucky winner of our Sony Competition and won a trip to Sri Lanka where he was able to volunteer on our Turtle Conservation Project. Here is what he had to say about his trip:
Can you tell about your role on the project? The work at the Centre mainly consisted of two parts. There was the ‘short term’ conservation work which involved helping the workers there with their day-to-day upkeep and maintenance of the Centre. This included cleaning the tanks, cleaning the beach, feeding the turtles, helping with the breeding of eggs etc. Much of this could be done within the first few hours of the day. The rest of the day was involved with giving tours and explaining to visitors about the work that is done there as well as general information about the dangers turtles face. This I would call the ‘long term’ sustainability work because it was about helping the visitors get connected to and fall in love with the turtles so that they change their buying habits and can help affect change. This is the part of the work I was most able to help with.
What were the highlights? There were so many! I’m definitely a foodie, so eating lots of great home-cooked authentic food was a real treat. The turtles were also very much the stars of the show; they were so beautiful and gentle creatures. Even now, a few weeks later I do still dream about them and can’t wait to go back to see them.
Can you tell us about your experience in your homestay? I had really pleasant experience at my homestay. As I have family in India and Bangladesh, I was prepared for the level of accommodation to expect i.e. no air conditioning or hot water. However the host family was unbelievably nice to us and would go out of their way to make our stay a pleasant one. They went beyond what they were obliged to do for us and simply treated us as guests in their home.
Did you have any worries before you left? I think I had the same worries that most people do; being in a new country, travelling solo, not knowing the language, generally being unsure what to expect. I know at times go quite I can go a little bit into my shell, but here I had to put all of that aside because it was clear I would only get out what I put into it.
Do you think it’s something you’d like to do again? It’s definitely something I would consider doing again. Although there were ups and downs, it’s a great way to experience a country, but hopefully next time it would be for a lot longer. I believe life is all about timing. This trip came at the absolute perfect time for me and I’d absolutely urge anyone who has the opportunity to do something like this to not think twice about it.


“My initial reaction was complete disbelief. Winning was so unexpected that it took a while for me to accept that it was really happening. I work in sustainability and talk about it constantly; it’s something I’ve always had a passion for. So the prospect of being able to work in conservation and experience in from a completely different point of view was something I couldn’t wait to be a part of.”