Sri Lanka

  • Volunteer in Sri Lanka, a stunning and historical tropical island
  • Work with children and adults with special needs
  • Volunteer to teach English in a rural community school
  • Projects suitable for gap year students and experienced volunteers

Volunteer in Sri Lanka.

The world-class beaches, coral reefs and rolling hills carpeted with tea plantations, not to mention the roaming elephants and the delicately spiced food, all combine to make Sri Lanka the perfect destination for travellers – and volunteers.

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon) has a history dating back to the birth of time. Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location.

Within 65,000 square kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,300 kilometres of idyllic coastline, 15 national parks, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls and a culture that extends back over 2,500 years.

Before the tsunami hit Sri Lanka’s coasts in December 2004, about 5 million people or 25 per cent of the population were living below the poverty line of US$12 per person monthly. Another 3 million people eked out a living on the equivalent of US$15 per person monthly. In a few terrifying minutes, the tsunami took its toll, killing more than 38,000 people and changing the lives of many more by wiping out their livelihoods.

Yet Sri Lanka now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Primary school enrolment is 95% (2009) thanks to free provision by the state, resulting in a literacy rate of 90% (2008) in people over the age of 15, one of the highest in Asia. The health care system is also good but there remains a high level of prejudice against disability and that is where our projects focus.

Our projects are in the area of Galle, an 18th century Dutch walled fortress town which is a World Heritage site. Galle is understated, stylish and emerging as a chic destination due to its colonial architecture, tropical gardens and proximity to the long sandy beaches, coral reefs and mangrove lagoons of the south coast.

We have volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka to teach English in a school, as well as supporting a special needs project working with both children and adults.

You will stay in comfortable guest accommodation with a local host family and be welcomed by the friendly local community.

Sri Lanka is a destination to fascinate everyone, with projects suitable for gap year students, graduates and professionals wanting to volunteer or take a career break to use your teaching or special needs experience to help a project in need of support.

  • Country
    co-ordinator

    Mr Lokuge Priyankara (Mr P): Sri Lanka Co-ordinator



    Mr P has a degree from Colombo University in Tourist Management and is a qualified guide registered with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. He coordinated a tsunami relief project. He joined us in 2006 once the tsunami problems had dissipated. He lives in Galle with his wife and two children, close to our project base and takes an active role in supporting the Sri Lanka projects. His wife cooks the best curries in Galle!

Volunteer gallery

  • Pupils at Sumandala School

Things to see and do

Language

Sinhalese is national language spoken by 75% of the population and Tamil by another 18%. English is the language of government and is spoken by an estimated 10% of the population.

Visa

Volunteers can take a single entry Business visa on arrival in the airport which will then need to be extended while in the country, which will be organised by our in-country coordinator.

Currency

The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is the national currency, and is only available in the Sri Lanka. There are approximately 210 LKR to £1 GBP at the time of writing. Money can be exchanged at the airport and in the main banks and ATMs in major cities. US Dollars and GBP also accepted in tourist venues

Be Aware

As ever when travelling volunteers need to be aware of pick pocketing, but it is rarely violent. With all the opportunities to go swimming and diving volunteers need to be aware of the conditions in each location and be wary of poor quality of diving equipment and training.