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Volunteer in Sri Lanka - It Will Change You Forever...

  • The world’s best price, guaranteed. Starts at $155
  • Pay your program fees directly to your host families and projects
  • Safety is our #1 priority along with services of experienced staffs
  • Choose From A Wide Variety of Volunteer Programs ... one that is right for you

Known as a tropical paradise, Sri Lanka is a tiny, teardrop-shaped island with palm-fringed beaches, lush green mountains, and a tropical climate. Sri Lanka is one of the top tourist destinations in the world as visitors enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine, heritage sites, natural beauty, fine arts, ancient cities, heritage sites, impressive festivals and colonial forts. As a Volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can touch the lives of others while in your free time, visit beautiful beaches, Buddhist shrines, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and important historical sites.

Helping Abroad aims to provide every volunteer in Sri Lanka with the opportunity to serve Sri Lankan communities as they discover a new culture and region of the world. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can work in a variety of projects such as working in orphanages, teaching English in schools, teaching English to young monks and nuns, working in an elephant orphanage, or working on a conservation project for turtles. Regardless of the project you chose, Helping Abroad makes sure your experience is challenging, unique, rewarding, and unforgettable as you explore the wonders of Sri Lanka. Are you ready to go beyond your boundaries? Begin your Sri Lankan journey today! Email us now and we will gladly send you more information. You won’t regret it!

Program Fee

Helping Abroad volunteers Program starts every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.

Are you looking for a safe and affordable volunteer abroad experience? Do you want to see the fees you pay, being utilized towards the welfare of the project and host families? Helping abroad, a 501 c 3, offer volunteer programs at unbeatable, low prices. At Helping Abroad, we maintain a level of transparency of funds, especially for volunteers who want to know where and how the fee they pay are being channelized. The volunteer fee is paid directly to the families that host volunteers and the project that volunteers work on. The program fee is divided as registration fee ($299) and weekly fee. The registration fee is used to cover our expenses like advertisement and office expenses. The weekly fee is divided between room/local food (3 times a day, 50-70%) and project donation/ support to local project staff (30-50%) and local coordination fee (10%). The allocation may differ according to location and project type. Therefore, our coordinator will explain these issues before you pay the fees. Please find the breakdown of the cost in a weekly basis below:

Weeks Projects in Galle Millennium Elephant Pinnewala Elephant
  1 Week   $155   $275   $300
  2 Weeks   $310   $500   $550
  3 Weeks   $415   $725   $800
  4 Weeks   $520   $950   $1,050
  5 Weeks   $625   $1,175   $1,300
  6 Weeks   $730   $1,400   $1,550
  7 Weeks   $835   $1,625   $1,800
  8 Weeks   $940   $1,850   $2,050
  9 Weeks   $1,045   $2,075   $2,300
  10 Weeks   $1,150   $2,300   $2,550
  11 Weeks   $1,255   $2,525   $2,800
  12 Weeks   $1,360   $2,750   $3,050
Additional Fee
  • Add $80 - airport receive, transfer to hostel/host family; $125 transfer to elephant orphanage project (82 KM from Colombo). You pay this fee directly to our Sri Lanka coordinator.
  • Add $10 per week for orphanage project
Included in Fee
  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals a day
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Donation to project
  • In-country office expenses
  • Field support
  • Project coordination
  • Emergency support
  • Airport welcome
Not Included in Fee
  • International flights
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • Personal food and beverages
  • Entertainment
  • Local transportation
  • Laundry
  • Communication (telephone, internet)
  • Personal items

Volunteer Programs

Working in Orphanages/Children homes (Galle)

Volunteers with Orphanages Children

Work as a Sri Lanka volunteer in orphanages to give every child deserves love, support, education and safe and healthy environments. Volunteers have the opportunity to change the lives of children as they provide hope and friendship for underprivileged and innocent children. In Sri Lanka, war, violence, poverty, disease and lack of resources have left children disabled, abused and lonely. Every helping hand is greatly appreciated as orphanages in Sri Lanka are lacking funds, amenities, and basic facilities. Volunteers can truly make a positive impact on the lives of Sri Lankan children while at the same time, exploring a culture-filled tropical paradise.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

There are no specific qualifications or requirements to volunteer in the Sri Lankan orphanage project. All volunteers are expected to be flexible, positive, patient, and of course, have a passion and love for children. Experience working with children is beneficial.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

As a volunteer in an orphanage in Sri Lanka, you can who help children educationally, socially, and physically as you work as a leader, friend and caregiver for those who need it the most. Volunteers will work on a variety of activities depending on individual skills and interests such as:

  • Teaching English for 3-4 hours a day
  • Helping students successfully finish their homework
  • Singing songs and playing music/instruments
  • Helping the children learn traditional Cambodian dances and/or dances from your home
  • Helping children with art projects and drawing
  • Playing games and sports
  • Teaching children personal hygiene
  • Reinforcing life skills and chores such as cleaning and cooking
  • Teaching children to how to garden
  • Working on maintenance such as painting, building, and other activities to improve the facilities
  • Assisting with orphanage administrative tasks such as fundraising, organization, etc.

Please Note: The work is very flexible. You will get your work schedule from the local orphanage staff. You're expected to work 3 to 4 hours daily from Monday to Friday. If you have a desire to work on weekends, you are more than welcome. You can always adjust your work schedule to suit your holiday periods and every other engagement you may have. Remember, the activities mentioned above are just an outline, the project coordinator might also ask for help with other projects, and you must be willing to give them a helping hand.

Teaching English in Schools (Galle) in Sri Lanka

Teaching volunteers with students

Help children advance with educational opportunities and brighter futures. Like many developing countries, the demand of English is very high in Sri Lanka. As international tourism, trade and relations increase, so does the importance of English as a second language. With growing tourism in Sri Lanka, English is fundamental. Sadly, poorer children are left without the opportunity to learn English and many Sri Lankan are left jobless and at a disadvantage for their futures. For this reason, Helping Abroad is currently partnering with local schools in Galle and rural areas so volunteers can improve educational opportunities. Each volunteer in Sri Lanka will teach English to students from ages 6-21 years old, improving their educational environment and enhancing their futures. Depending on skills and interests, volunteers may also teach subjects such as math, science, music, physical education, health, or art.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

There are no specific qualifications or requirements necessary to volunteer in the teaching English volunteer program in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, we expect volunteers to be motivated, flexible, responsible, willing to help and hardworking. Experience working with children and teaching English is beneficial.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

Volunteering in Sri Lanka teaching English will be valuable for both you and your students. Teaching English provides students in Sri Lanka with an opportunity to study a subject that will enhance their future and at the same time, you will experience the beauty and culture of the tropical Sri Lanka. Volunteers’ responsibilities include:

  • Teaching basic English or other educational subjects to children 6-21 years old
  • Using interactive and captivating teaching methods such as games, art, dance, sports, music and songs to enhance learning
  • Conversing and interacting with students to improve their English
  • Assisting school administrations with organization/maintenance of schools

Please Note: The teaching schedule is very flexible. You will receive direction from local school authorities. You’re expected to work 3 to 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday. You will have enough time to go on holidays and explore the island of Sri Lanka and its culture. You can always adjust your work schedule to suit other engagements you may have in the process.

Teaching English to Buddhist Monks (Galle)

Volunteer with young monk

Help monks and monasteries while exploring Buddhism and Sri Lanka! Known as the original soul of Buddhism, Sri Lanka has the longest history of Buddhism in the world. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka teaching English to Buddhist monks, you will have the unique opportunity to work in a Pirivena, a traditional temple college used to educate monks. Volunteers partner with local organizations to enhance the educational environment and development of Sri Lankan monks. As the Piriven lack resources, the demand for volunteers is very high and today, English is internationally fundamental. Every volunteer in Sri Lanka will spend their time teaching monks (ages 8-21) basic English through conversational interactions and creative immersion. Depending on skills and interests, volunteers can teach other beneficial subjects to the monks. At the same time, volunteers in Sri Lanka can immerse themselves in ancient Buddhist traditions and rituals, exploring spirituality and personal growth.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

There are no specific qualifications or requirements to volunteer teaching English to Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. Please note that monks are highly respected social figures in Sri Lanka and live with strict rules. Volunteers must be disciplined to join this project. There are distinct temples and schools for different genders, therefore volunteers will only teach to their specific gender.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

In this unique teaching project, volunteers in Sri Lanka work to teach monks and nuns from 8-21 years of age. Each volunteer in the teaching Buddhist monks English program will give lessons for 3-4 hours a day. Aside from teaching English, each Sri Lanka volunteer may also participate in activities such as:

  • Teach other subjects such as math, science and physical education
  • Plan lessons and curriculum development
  • Organize extracurricular activities such as drawing, singing, dancing, games, music, sports, art, etc.
  • Helping monks with their homework
  • Assisting monastery administrations
  • Promote health and sanitation
  • Fundraise and research resources for the monastery
  • Help the monastery’s administration

Work in an Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka (Kegalle)

Volunteer with Medical personals

As a volunteer working in the elephant orphanage project, you will play an important role in Sri Lanka as you provide daily care and maintenance for elephants. Volunteers have the unique opportunity to work on a grassroots level and work with the local community members to improve education and promote elephant care and conservation, protecting elephants in Sri Lanka. Volunteers in Sri Lanka partner with the Local Elephant Foundation, a local charity in Sri Lanka, which has protected, cared for, and treated injured and sick elephants. The sanctuary has taken care of over 60 elephants in a 15-acre spread of lush area, providing medical services and facilities. Volunteers in Sri Lanka will be assigned an elephant and will interact with it by bottle-feeding it, grooming it, giving it medical attention and bathing it in the river as they splash around. Volunteers have the experience to befriend elephants, become accustomed to their noises, behaviors, moods and feelings. Many elephants lack love, support and attention, but volunteers can eliminate this void by caring for them and providing friendship. The elephant orphanage lacks resources and urgently needs volunteers to provide these animals with the care they truly deserve. This project is a-once-in-a-life opportunity for animal-loving volunteers in Sri Lanka to play with, care for, and adore elephants.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

No specific qualifications or requirements are necessary to volunteer in the elephant orphanage. Nevertheless, volunteers should clearly have a deep love for animals. Volunteers need to be in good physical condition to work outside and play with the elephants. Volunteers must able to work independently within the guidelines of the project and have patience, perseverance, enthusiasm and a willingness to accept another culture will mean you get the most from your volunteering experience. During your placement we need you to use your initiative to develop your own ideas and follow up those of previous volunteers.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

Volunteers in Sri Lanka work as assistants for elephant handlers called “mahouts” and interact with their assigned elephant, providing mental stimulation. With help from “mahouts,” volunteers are responsible for creative ideas to interact with the elephants. In addition, volunteers take the elephants to the river for a bath twice a day, clean them, feed them, and help maintain the orphanage. After a while, volunteers will be able to distinguish between difference sounds, behaviors, moods and feelings and you will learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of potential illnesses, but this requires devoted care and responsibility. Volunteers must able independent and follow the guidelines of the project. There are 4 main aspects to volunteers’ responsibilities:

  • Elephant project: Consists of the daily care and treatment of your elephant. Volunteers also support the foundation in areas such as administration, fundraising, research and museum maintenance and other projects necessary to enhance the lives of elephants and Sri Lankan people.
  • Eco-farm: Consists of working alongside our gardeners to grow fresh fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs that are used in elephant care for the restaurant.
  • MVU: Volunteers will have the opportunity to assist vets caring for sick elephants and may also visit the Peraheras, a religious parades the MVU vets supervise.
  • Teaching: The organization has started after school clubs where children and adults of all ages come for a few hours a week. Volunteers can help these children learn or improve Basic English skills. Teaching qualifications are not necessary.

Please Note: As a volunteer in Sri Lanka working at the elephant orphanage, you will have ample opportunities to immerse yourself into Sri Lankan culture. Volunteering in a foreign country away from home is challenging, but you will be accompanied by warm Sri Lankan smiles and hospitality, and amazing by the natural beauty. You will have at least two days off a week depending on your workload, giving you plenty of time to explore Sri Lanka’s rich cultural.

Major FAQ's

  • How can I apply and what is the process? How long does it take for my application to be processed and confirmed?
    • Please use our online application to begin the process. Participants are required to submit their application with a $249 application fee plus the program fee for the number of weeks you choose.
    • Once Helping Abroad receives your application, we will immediately forward it to an in-country coordinator for processing. It usually takes about 1-3 weeks to process an application. The in-country coordinator will review your application thoroughly in order to place you in a project that matches your interests and abilities. Depending on the location of the project, details about your stay including your accommodation, etc will be confirmed at this time.
    • Helping Abroad will receive details about volunteer placements from the in-country coordinator.
    • Helping Abroad will then send the volunteer a pre-departure packet with project details. The pre-departure packet will include placement details, contact information for in-country staff and host families, visa requirements, food/accommodations, etc. You should prepare for your trip by reading about the country, acquiring your visa, getting the necessary immunizations, and booking your airline ticket. You can contact Helping Abroad staff if you have any questions or concerns.
    • IMPORTANT: Once volunteers purchase their airlines tickets, we ask that they send their flight information to Helping Abroad’s U.S. office by fax or by email so the in-country coordinator can arrange an airport pickup upon arrival.

     

  • Who will meet me in airport? What should I do if I am delayed or miss my flight? When should I arrive?
  • Please book your flight to the Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Helping Abroad country coordinator will be waiting for you at the “Arrival” gate. Please look for a person with both the Helping Abroad’s company logo and your name on a sign card. In case your contact person is not there, please contact the Helping Abroad office and we will immediately follow up on your contact person whereabouts. Coordinators’ contact details are available in the pre-departure handbook. If your flight is delayed, immediately contact Helping Abroad so we can make adjustments to your program. Helping Abroad will be responsible for creating the necessary changes in your program.

    The program fee covers expenses from the first day of the program to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program and/or stay beyond the last day of the program, you will be responsible for these expenses.

  • What are the visa requirements to volunteer in Sri Lanka?
  • Volunteers must acquire a tourist Visa in their home country prior to departure for Sri Lanka. Please contact the local embassy of Sri Lanka to learn more about the process for obtaining a visa, timelines, visa fees and visa extensions. It is the volunteer’s responsibility to obtain a visa before arriving to Sri Lanka.

  • What do I need to know about health and safety in Sri Lanka?
  • Volunteers should be aware of all health and safety information before traveling to Sri Lanka. You can read about health and safety in Sri Lanka at some of the websites listed below:


    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
    1600 Clifton Road, NE
    Atlanta, GA 31333
    (888) 232-3228
    (888) 232-3299 - fax information service

    Health Canada Online
    Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Travel Report
    U.S. State Department & Consular Information Sheets
    Room 4811
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20520
    (202) 647-5225

    Travel Health Online
    Travelers' Health

    Health tips while in Sri Lanka:

    • Drink only bottled or boiled water. Avoid tap water and ice cubes.
    • Buy bottled water from reliable suppliers and make sure the bottle is well sealed.
    • Avoid eating food from street vendors and unclean restaurants. Eat only peeled fruit and avoid raw vegetables. Cooked and hot food is always safer.
    • Protect yourself with insect repellent.
    • While traveling in warm climates, always drink enough water and protect yourself from the sun by wearing hats, using sunglasses & applying SPF/sunscreen.
    • Pharmacies are widely available for your convenience and medical advice. If you need to see a doctor, your in-country coordinator can help you sort out any medical needs.
    • In Sri Lanka, most over the counter in pharmacies, but if you take prescription drugs, we recommend that you bring enough for the length of your trip. We also recommend that you bring a basic necessities that you may need such as Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, stomach/digestive medications, antibacterial cream, insect repellent, etc.

  • What immunizations/vaccinations are recommended before arriving to Sri Lanka?
  • We strongly recommended that volunteers obtain vaccinations before arriving in Sri Lanka. You can speak with your health-care provider to determine which vaccinations you will need. Please read CDC recommendations about vaccinations and preventive medicine: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/sri-lanka.htm

  • What is the local currency and exchange rate?
  • The local currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lanka Rupee. You can exchange currency when you arrive to the airport in Colombo. We recommend exchanging about $200 to start. There are about 10 banks in the airport. ATM cards are the best way to get money and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some larger cities. It is a good idea to carry a credit card for large purchases and emergencies. Make sure you notify your bank that you will be out of the country and give them your expected arrival/departure dates. This will prevent your account from being locked and you will be advised about any fraudulent charges.

  • How will Helping Abroad support me while I am volunteering?
  • You will have an in-country coordinator and Helping Abroad staff members to support you throughout your volunteer stay. Helping Abroad in-country staff will always make sure that your questions and concerns are addressed and that your volunteer experience goes as smoothly as possible. Depending on your project location, our staff will visit volunteers regularly. In addition, you are more than welcome to visit our office. We recommend that the volunteers check in at least once a week to give feedback on their accommodation and project. If you are located far from our office, our local staff will communicate through email and/or phone.

  • How can I communicate with my family/friends while I am abroad? Is there Internet access?
  • If you have an unlocked cell phone that contains a sim card, we recommend that you bring it because you can buy a local sim card upon arrival to Sri Lanka. Phones are important to have for safety and communication with family and Helping Abroad staff. Internet cafes are widely available in larger cities, but less available in rural towns. You will have placement details in your pre-departure packet.

  • How is the climate in Sri Lanka?
  • Sri Lanka is tropical and has a wet season and dry season. It is usually hot in the lowland and gets cooler in the elevated lands. It is cooler from November to January and warmer February through May. There are also two monsoonal seasons in Sri Lanka. The first one is from mid-May through October called the Southwest monsoon that brings heavy rains in the south and west coasts, as well as in the Central Highlands. The second monsoon is from December to March where rains are brought to the Northeast region of the island.

  • What should I bring?
  • You can purchase basic necessities in Sri Lanka at reasonable prices, but we suggest bringing the following:

    • An unlocked mobile phone (you can use it after buying a sim card)
    • Camera
    • Sleeping bag
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Insect repellent
    • Sunscreen
    • Books about Sri Lanka
    • Map of Sri Lanka
    • Toiletries
    • First aid kit
    • Flash light
    • Electricity adapter/converter
    • Sun glasses
    • Good shoes (for work and travel)
    • Towel
  • Should I bring gifts for my host family?
  • You are not required to bring a gift, but it is common courtesy as a token of appreciation for hosting you. Gifts can be as simple as postcards or pictures from home, chocolates, t-shirts, or something that represents where you are from. In addition, you can bring gifts for your projects. If you are working in orphanages or schools, you can bring items such as school supplies and games. Remember that many children will desire what you bring, so you may want to bring a large amount of one item (pencils, pens, notebooks, games, art supplies, etc).

NOTE:Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is derived from generic information about Sri Lanka and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly, and the information contained here may not be up to date. Participants should consult Helping Abroad staff or travel advisors to verify this information