Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Volunteering with CW Abroad is the best way of learning about Sri Lanka’s people, culture, and diversity. By working along with local citizens, volunteers gain first-hand insight and experience about the country. It is our greatest objective, both of CW Abroad and our local partners, that everyone makes the best out of the experience and learns valuable lessons from it.
Volunteers usually find themselves in a situation where the ways of thinking and communicating are completely different to their own, so this is an enriching experience to learn from others. What really counts is that volunteers are energetic, resourceful, respectful, and creative. They can also enjoy Sri Lanka’s wonderful landscapes with beaches, mountains, forests and lots of historical locations; all of that is placed within the tiny area it occupies.
Volunteering projects in Sri Lanka currently include the following options for future participants to choose from: Teaching English in Public Schools, Working with Children with Special Needs, Working with Children in Kindergartens and Orphanages, and Medically Assisting in Tea Plantations.
Some possible locations that volunteers can choose for their experiences are: Galle, on the south-west cost; Badulla, 230km from Colombo, near the central hills of Sri Lanka; and Wattala, a big suburb that is very close to the city center of Colombo.
What’s included in our fair-cost policy?
All our programs include a fixed price Registration Fee of US$249 and a Program Fee that varies according to the duration of the program and the services included.
The Registration Fee covers the costs of all that Connecting Worlds has to do in order to organise the experience in an efficient manner and offer each participant a quality program. These costs include marketing, staff salaries, travel costs of staff who visit and inspect each of the programs on offer and Connecting Worlds’ solidarity fund among others.
The Program Fee is the total cost of everything related to the services that the volunteer will be able to take advantage of upon arrival to the destination of their choice. For example, accommodation, meals, transfers, the donation made to the volunteer project, welcome orientation and constant 24/7 support. The payment for this fee goes directly to the country in which the volunteer will be stationed, directly benefiting the local community. It’s a fee which helps organisations that work in the country associated with the program at hand to move forwards with their projects and generate work opportunities for the local community.
Thanks to our fair-cost policy, the volunteer benefits from not having to pay high fees and our local partners benefit from being able to invest in their projects and keep things moving forwards. Connecting Worlds also benefits from keeping the costs of its programs as low as possible because we get the opportunity to support local communities and make a difference in our own small but important way.
The vocational training center carries out formal classes for children with special needs who need to develop their skills. Volunteers from various backgrounds are welcome, as they can choose artistic, technical or other skills to work on and share. They can also share their experiences and enthusiasm with children who not always have the chance of attending formal schooling or vocational training for free.
You may enjoy this program in Badulla, a location in the north of Sri Lanka. This place can be reached with a 12-hour train from Colombo, which is also a great idea to look at the new scenery and have a view of the landscape. The train leaves every day at 5:30am from Colorado Fort Train Station, except on Sundays, and its price is around Rs 1000 (20 USD). The local team that will await you may book your tickets in advance if you please. They will also meet you at the airport and lead you to the train, which we highly recommend because of the gorgeous landscapes you can see throughout your journey.
Please note that vocational schools are on holiday during April, August and December. If you plan to participate in this program during these periods, please contact us to arrange the best dates for you.
This project involves working with native teachers from Sri Lanka and assisting children in learning English and IT skills. The main objective of this program is to offer young students a basis for further learning and education. Its core activities include teaching basic computer lessons and teaching English for different levels. Volunteers also need to create lesson plans and assessment tests, and also assist with clerical tasks.
You may enjoy this program in Badulla, a location in the north of Sri Lanka. This place can be reached with a 12-hour train from Colombo, which is also a great idea to look at the new scenery and have a view of the landscape. The train leaves every day at 5:30am from Colorado Fort Train Station, except on Sundays, and its price is around Rs1000 (20 USD). The local team that will await you may book your tickets in advance if you please. They will also meet you at the airport and lead you to the train, which we highly recommend because of the gorgeous landscapes you can see throughout your journey.
Please note that schools are on holiday during April, August and December. If you plan to participate in this program during these periods, please contact us to arrange the best dates for you.
Thanks to our kindergarten projects, volunteers have the chance to meeting children from different backgrounds and ethnic groups. The activities that volunteers help in include some of the following: monitoring attendance, teaching the alphabet, teaching children how to count, developing artistic and creative activities.
Volunteers also assist in monitoring hygiene and educating kids about personal care, helping them during meal times, playing games and developing the children’s wellbeing through physical activities.
Volunteers may choose in which location they would like to participate in this program, and the current options are Badulla, Galle and Wattala.
Although formal requirements are not needed to join this program, it is highly recommended that you take a 120-hour TEFL course before volunteering. Contact us for more information about this.
Please note that kindergartens are on holiday during April, August and December. If you plan to participate in this program during these periods, please contact us to arrange the best dates for you.
Medical volunteers can choose placement in Badulla, Galle and Wattala. In the last two locations, placement is based in private hospitals with approximately 100 beds including inpatient and outpatient units. Around 300 to 700 patients visit the hospitals daily for different medical treatments. Throughout their stay, volunteers will work along with an appointed nurse or doctor.
Volunteers that choose Badulla will be placed in a center for pregnant mothers, an elderly care facility or a mental disability ward. These are not hospitals, but volunteers will still be able to work with local medical professionals. Badulla is a location in the north of Sri Lanka. This place can be reached with a 12-hour train from Colombo, which is also a great idea to look at the new scenery and have a view of the landscape. The train leaves every day at 5:30am from Colorado Fort Train Station, except on Sundays, and its price is around Rs1000 (20 USD). The local team that will await you may book your tickets in advance if you please. They will also meet you at the airport and lead you to the train, which we highly recommend because of the gorgeous landscapes you can see throughout your journey.
We encourage volunteers with medical or nursing backgrounds to apply, as those with medical certifications can get registered by the Ministry of Health. The responsibilities of each volunteer and project depend on each of their own qualifications, experience and the needs of each medical facility. It is worth mentioning that most volunteers only help with minor tasks, although those who have full medical degrees often have more opportunities to interact with patients and administer care.
Many children in Sri Lanka are left orphaned and uncared for because of poverty or a very low standard of living. They live in orphanages, but these places are very poor in their resources. Volunteers who join this project help the staff working at the orphanage with their daily routines such as bathing, dressing, feeding and assisting the children. They also organize physical activities, provide education regarding personal and environmental hygiene and cleaning duties. Based on their experience, volunteers may also give English lessons and help older kids with their homework.
Volunteers may choose in which location they would like to participate in this program, and the current options are Badulla, Galle and Wattala. They need to follow a very strict dressing code; they should dress conservatively, and wear knee length clothing and appropriate tops.
Please note that this project involves working with children at risk, so volunteers need to commit to this program for at least three-weeks.
To volunteer in our programs you need to be 18 years old or older, be able to communicate in English and most of all, be positive, proactive reliable and willing to help those in great need while having a good time.
The programs are equally open to individuals, couples and groups. They are run all through the year and you can start on any chosen date, yet we recommend arriving on weekends to start working on a Monday.
Volunteers arriving to Colombo during the weekend will be received at the airport and driven to the train station and continue their trip to Badilla. This train to Badulla does not run on Sundays, so volunteers who need to spend a night in Colombo will be taken to their accommodation site and then taken to the station the following morning.
Our programs in Sri Lanka are located in three very different regions and depending on your project, it’ll take you a short car ride or a twelve hours bus ride or train trip to reach your program placement. Once in the country you will be able to discuss the transportation options available and make the arrangements to reach your final destination.
These programs placements are:
Badulla, capital city of Uva Province.
Galle, capital city of the Northern Province.
Wattala, just half an hour away from Colombo Airport.
On your arrival to your project placement, you’ll be taken to your homestay and introduced to your host family, or to your Volunteers Accommodation Center, where you’ll meet the staff and the other volunteers.
On the following day, a member of the local staff will take you to your project placement where you’ll be filled in with every detail on the project’s rules and regulations, working schedules and the specific tasks involved in the project. This is also the perfect occasion to clear out any remaining doubts you may still have.
You’ll also be taken on a tour around the placement and its surroundings and introduced to the local customs and traditions, as well as the cultural and historical highlights of Sri Lanka.
Badulla is the capital city of the province of Uva, this city is located at the southeast of Kandy and overshadow by the Namunukula mountain range, with its highest peak reaching 2016 mts above sea level. The Badulu Oya river, 2200ft above the sea level, surrounds this region and irrigates its beautiful and huge tea plantations. Badulla was the last station of the British upcountry railway system, built to carry the local tea production products to Colombo, about 230 km to the east, on the central hills of the country.
There are many routes connecting Badulla to its neighboring cities of Colombo, Galle and Kandy; all of which have splendid and contrasting landscapes that can be enjoyed while travelling from one town to the other. The Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles mountains are just a few hours away and make this region an ideal destination for those fond of eco-tourism.
Galle is the capital city of the Southern Province and is a perfect combination of the European architecture of the British Colony and the traditions of Southern Asia from the Sixteenth and the Nineteenth centuries. The lovely houses with front porches and kute gardens, giving on the wide streets bordered by grass and shaded by suriyas are an exotic reminder of the typical English suburban areas of Dickens’ times.
At the south west coast of Sri Lanka, the Bay of Galle was once the main port of Ceylon and is one of the most ancient ports of call of the Levante, protected by the rocky peninsula.
The Fort of Galle was the last bastion to fall to the British, just one week after the surrender of Colombo, and in fact this amazing city is one of the best examples of a fortified European cities in the region.
Wattala, located in the Western Province, is a large suburb of Colombo city just thirty minutes away from the airport and very near the city center. It is surrounded by many villages and towns where one can find people from all walks of life. The majority of the working class is constituted by the traditional fishermen, who harmoniously cohabit the city with the professional business class and some very wealthy foreigners and folks.
In this extraordinarily eclectic city, a variety of religions and philosophies also manage to coexist in perfect peace. Although the majority of the locals are Roman Catholic by religion, churches, buddhist temples, mosques and hindu temples can be seen scattered all over the place, due to a minority of muslims and Tamils who are also present in this spiritual sanctuary.
Volunteers can choose to be lodged either at one of our volunteer centers or be accommodated at home stays. These last can be rather basic and do not have internet connection, while each of our volunteer centers are provided with more modern facilities and have internet/ Wi Fi connection and mobile phone signal, hot water showers and fans in the bedrooms. Air conditioned rooms are also available on special request.
Depending on the project location, the program fee includes two to three daily meals. Breakfast may include tea, milk, fruit juice, bread, milk rice with sambol, rice and curry, bread, and a sort of local pancakes made of fermented rice flour that are present almost in every meal.
Lunch and dinner consist mainly on regional and traditional dishes, usually based on rice, accompanied by a variety of curries, vegetables, mutton or chicken stew, fresh fish, eggs and beans. Noodles can sometimes replace rice, and fruit and a variety of local desserts are often part of every meal.
For those volunteers with specific dietary needs, special arrangements can be made with notice given in advance.
Volunteers are required to work an average of four to six daily hours from Monday to Friday, and then they’ll have the weekends off.
Most volunteers work side by side with the local staff and take over a wide range of tasks that vary depending on each project, as well as on each volunteer’s skills and expertise. A more detailed working schedule will be provided by the local team at each project’s placement during the orientation.
As mentioned before, schedules will vary depending on the project, but a typical working day may be something like this:
Volunteers have breakfast at their accommodation site between 7:00 and 8:00 AM, then they go to their working placements and plan the day’s work with a member of the local staff and they are ready to start off and work till three to five in the afternoon, when the working day is over, Tea and lunch breaks will take place during the day but the time for these breaks will vary according to the activities that are being carried out.
Evenings and weekends are free and volunteers can go exploring this amazing country. Some of the many places you must visit during your stay in Sri Lanka include Sigiriya rock fortress (a Unesco heritage site), the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Yala National Park, just to mention a few, You should of course allow some time to explore Badulla, Galle and Wattala, as well as go to Colombo for a weekend.
-Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean, on the eastern side of the tip of the Indian subcontinent.
-The population in Sri Lanka is just over 20 million people.
-Sri Lanka is a country full of diversity: many languages, religions, and ethnic groups.
-It is the home of the first known Buddhist writings: the Pāli Canon from 29 BC.
-Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka.
-English is defined as the link language by their Constitution.
For more information, visit the following link:http://www.cwabroad.org/sri-lanka-p-50.html
|Volunteer period (weeks)||1||2||3||4||6|
|Vocational training||USD 200||USD 325||USD 475||USD 575||USD 675|
|Teaching and Assisting in Schools||USD 200||USD 325||USD 475||USD 575||USD 675|
|Pre-School Education||USD 200||USD 325||USD 475||USD 575||USD 675|
|Medical||USD 350||USD 525||USD 725||USD 875||USD 1075|
|Orphanage Program||-||-||USD 475||USD 575||USD 675|
*Please note: All Volunteer programs in Sri Lanka attract a refundable* Registration Fee of USD 249 on top of the program Fee. A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment. You can calculate the value of your currency in US 40 dollar using this currency convertor.
*Please read our refund policy.
What do my fees pay for?
Registration Fee: Discounted program fees, Support and guidance from CW staff, program marketing costs, staff salary, pre-departure assistance, CW Solidarity Fund, administration costs, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with participants.
Program Fee: Volunteer program, orientation, program supervision, in-country 24/7 participant support and in-country administration costs.
What’s no included: Accommodation and meals at volunteer house or homestay, Airport Pick-up, Air tickets,International Insurance against sickness, accident and 3er party liability. In addition to providing health insurance, the plan must cover medical evacuation and repatriation, Vaccinations, Certificate of Good conduct, Visa, Local travels and Personal expenses. Our participants in Sri Lanka generally find USD 30 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.