Atoll Volunteers

We are a young and vibrant organisation of local and international volunteers, based in the Maldives.

From Turtle and Marine Conservation, to teaching and medical placements, volunteers experience the real maldives, whilst making a huge difference to our welcoming local community of Naifaru. 


Who We Are

Atoll Volunteers was founded by our Parent NGO, Naifaru Juvenile, in 2012 by three locals who decided to make a difference to their community. We are based on the local island of Naifaru, in Lhaviyani Atoll, in the North of the Maldives.

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.

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, and so are always looking for new volunteers to help us in our work and welcome into our community.

What We Do

We offer a range of local volunteering programmes and we are dedicated to securing the most exciting and beneficial range of customized 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; including;

Marine and Turtle Conservation

Here in the beautiful Maldives, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by an abundance of tropical marine life, including five species of sea turtle. However, due to threats such as habitat loss, poaching, the illegal pet trade and injury from ghost nets, sea turtles are an endangered species. At Atoll Marine Centre we rescue illegally kept and injured turtles, rehabilitate them, and release them back into the ocean where they belong. Working alongside our two Marine Biologists, Volunteers experience hand's on practical turtle husbandry skills and make a real impact in our marine conservation efforts.

Medical Placements

As in any country, our community depends on receiving high quality healthcare. However, living on a remote island in a developing country means we are faced with numerous challenges. Volunteers are placed within Lhaviyani Atoll Hospital, and get hands on experience in a variety of departments, shadowing our local doctors and nurses. Interacting with our community members, gaining hands on practical skills, and experiencing the unique challenges our medical teams face, provides volunteers with a life changing experience that will not only enhance your professional career, but change your appreciation for medicine. 

Teaching Placements

Our children are at the heart of our community, and we know that education is their best chance to better themselves and their community, in our still developing country. Volunteers have the opportunity to work with children of all ages across a range of subjects including Math, English and Science. You will quickly become an integral part of the school, and be heavily involved in all aspects of the education system, from planning to implementation, and extracurricular activities. Working with the challenges of a developing countries education system, honing your teaching skills, and knowing you've made a real difference to our children, and therefore community's, future, is a life-changing experience for our volunteers. 

Sports Placements

Nothing quite brings a community together like the spirit and teamwork of sport! As a community, we understand the importance of fitness, and providing opportunities for our youths to develop skills that will improve their future. With our sports programme, volunteers are given great flexibility to mold the programme to suit your interests, experiences and passions. From sports classes, educational events and sporting tournaments, volunteers have the unique opportunity to become fully integrated into the heart of our community, get to know the spirit of our youth, and make a difference to their future.

Community Development

For many, the Maldives is a dream holiday destination, with pristine white beaches, blue skies and all inclusive luxury. However, the real Maldives is still very much a developing country. We lack resources, infrastructure and opportunities, particularly for our youth. But what we lack in opportunities, we make up for with our community spirit. Our community is vibrant and warm, and we care for each other as one big family, and we will welcome you with open arms into our lives. By contributing to our community development programme, volunteers have the unique opportunity to use your unique set of skills and expertise to make a difference to a community that will truly benefit from your time and effort.

It’s Not All Work and No Play!

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.

We go on a variety of exciting excursions around the Lhaviyani Atoll, and always take into account what you as a volunteer would like to do with your time. Examples of some of the excursions include a: resort day trip, snorkeling trips, overnight camping trips, night fishing trips, BBQs or visits to uninhabited islands. During your free time on the island, we encourage volunteers to get in the sea as much as possible and take photos of the marine life and islands. We snorkel around our island's reefs most afternoons, play cards, play volleyball, go crab catching, have movie nights, and through it all, make life long friends. We have a wonderful little community here and there is some fantastic sights and scenery to take in as you walk around our island.

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.

Duration / Dates

We are open all year round, with placements starting from 2 weeks to 3 months. Due to boat transfers to our island, our placements start and end on a Thursday or Saturday. Please note that for all medical, all teaching, and any placements over 1 month, volunteers will require a Business Visa. Please contact us to discuss requirements.

Costs / Pay

Fees start at $1000 for a two week volunteer placement. This fee includes pick up service from the airport, all internal transfers, accommodation in Naifaru, 3x meals a day, resource required to complete your programme, a weekly excursion off the island, cultural activities and your visa. There is no need to spend additional funds whilst volunteering with us, although some volunteers bring money for snacks and souvenirs. Please inquire for a full list of fees.

Contact / Enquiry

Atoll Volunteers Reviews


I volunteered back in July as part of my University degree and loved absolutely every moment of. The girls I worked with (Sarah, Jess and Zoe) were fantastic. Sarah and Jess went above and beyond to ensure that our group was kept busy all the time and Zoe was a fantastic teacher and so passionate when it came to working in the turtle centre.
The experience is definitely one I will never forget!

By: Emilee Cooper
Nationality: Australian
Age: 19

Fantastic Local Organisation

Working with a locally run organisation is such a great opportunity,you get to meet and work with the people whose went out of there way to set up this organisation and you can see first hand the difference they have made. The staff at Atoll Volunteers are wonderful and it gives you a chance to experience what The Maldives's is like as a country not as a tourist destination. Definitely recommend and would go back in a heartbeat if I could!

By: Sarah
Nationality: Scottish
Age: 24

My Experience

I worked here for 12 months. I was very nervous going out as you never hear about the local islands in the Maldives, only the resorts so i had no idea what to expect!
But in the end i loved it so much, you meet so many nationalities, you get to know the locals, the amazing marine life right on your doorstep, and also get to work closely with turtles, getting to know their personalities and quirks.
I found it very rewarding and would recommend to anyone who loves the ocean. Its a very welcoming close net groups of passionate people.

By: Zoe
Nationality: British
Age: 23


I volunteered for 2 weeks at the Atoll Marine Center on Naifaru, about 3h north of Male by speedboat. We lived in a dorm like home not too far from the center and worked about 6h per day at the center. But work that you enjoy doesn't really seem like work. Afterall you're helping animals, spend time with animals and take care of them as you would for your own, plus snorkel trips and relax time. I did not want to leave and wished that I studied marine biology 15 years ago vs communications.
The main or only religion on the Maldivian islands is Muslim. They were all super friendly to us and really loved and appreciated the work we did.
I can absolutely recommend this project.
They also have a facebook and instagram page you can see a lot of their daily posts. I totally miss it and would love to go back!

By: Diana
Nationality: United States
Age: 35

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