U.S. Organization Coordinates Volunteer Assistance Trips to Sri Lanka

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U.S. Organization Coordinates Volunteer Assistance Trips to Sri Lanka i-to-i Volunteer Travel Sponsors Project to Rebuild Coastal Community

Individuals looking to provide hands-on contributions for the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami can travel to Sri Lanka through an organized volunteer travel project.

i-to-i Volunteer Travel has supported the Sri Lankan community with volunteer projects for many years, including the area most affected by the tsunami. Because of this established local presence, the company has quickly responded to this disaster by organizing a project in Moratuwa to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts. This poor community, on the beaches of Colombo, had one-third of its 10,000 residents left homeless. “i-to-i has been sending people to help in Sri Lanka for six years and in this particular region for around 18 months. Sadly we have seen one of our projects destroyed and we want to do everything we can to continue to support the community now and for years to come,” says i-to-i Founder Deirdre Bounds.

Starting in mid-January, volunteers will be working in teams for a two-week period. New teams will be sent out on a weekly basis for an indefinite time period. Activities will include construction work, food and water distribution, assistance with hygiene and healthcare, and provision of general support to the local people. Volunteers are being asked to contribute $895 for 2 weeks which includes a $200 donation toward building materials and the cost of other essentials, as well as covers volunteer meals, accommodation, and a comprehensive medical and travel insurance policy. The above donations will be made to a specific tsunami relief fund established under the Helping Hand Foundation, i-to-i’s registered charitable fund.

“The devastation is difficult to comprehend,” says Dr. Hemamali Palihakkara, Ph.D., i-to-i's national coordinator for Sri Lanka. “The damage is done, but the trauma and the panic are still there…those who survived are really very cooperative with each other irrespective of any differences and are doing their utmost to help the victims.”

i-to-i Volunteer Travel is an international volunteer vacation organization, specializing in helping disadvan¬taged communi¬ties and ecosystems around the world. The company arranges placements of 1-24 weeks in teaching, conservation, com¬munity work, building and a variety of other projects in more than 20 countries. Founded in 1994 with international head¬quarters in Leeds, England, i-to-i North America is based in Denver, Colo. To date, the company has brought nearly 10,000 volunteers together in projects around the world. For more information about upcoming volunteer vacation op¬portunities, visit the website at http://www.i-to-i.com or call (800) 985-4864 for more information or a free 48-page color brochure.

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Cheryl Friedman
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