Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Island paradise with magnificent beaches? Check. Lush rain forests filled with incredible wildlife? Check. Welcoming locals and delicious cuisine? Check. Sri Lanka is a place of overwhelming natural beauty and wonderful people. The country has made tremendous strides in terms of reducing poverty and promoting conservation in recent years. NGOs and volunteers play a big part in keeping this wave of development rolling. Volunteering in Sri Lanka is guaranteed to be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Fast Facts on Sri Lanka
Capital City: Sri Lanka has 2 capital cities, Colombo & Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
- Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the legislative capital and is a suburb of the commercial capital, Colombo
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
- Find your currency’s exchange rate here
Languages: There are 2 recognized official languages: Sinhalese and Tamil
- English is recognized as the “link” language and is widely used
Population (2017 estimate): 21 million
- About the same as Mexico City metropolitan area
Size: 25,330 square miles or 65,610 square kilometers
- About one-third the size of the United Kingdom
2018 Global Peace Index Ranking: 67 out of 163 nations (High)
- For comparison: USA (121 – Medium), Canada (6 – Very High), United Kingdom (57 – High
Our NGO partner in Sri Lanka is a new player in the non-governmental organization game, opening their doors in 2017. However, the duo that founded it has years of experience working in the non-profit industry and decided to strike out on their own. They support an array of projects with the help of international volunteers. They hope to welcome volunteers from around the world to their island paradise to assist on some very worthwhile projects. Helping the children, elderly, and animals of Sri Lanka is their primary mission as they work towards creating sustainable programs for their communities and environment.
Projects in Sri Lanka are located in the commercial capital, Colombo, or in coastal/rural towns depending on the project. Accommodations are in basic, shared hotel rooms with air conditioning (a luxury in such a humid climate). Meals are provided three times per day and the local team is available for 24/7 support.
Sea Turtle Conservation
If you love being at the beach, are working hard, enthusiastic, and love turtles; then the GOAT Volunteers’ Sea Turtle Conservation project will be a dream come true! Along the coast of the Indian Ocean, you’ll have the opportunity to help clean & protect sea turtle habitats on the beach, promote turtle conservation education, assist with research & monitoring, and (depending on the season) ensure newly hatched, baby turtles have a safe journey into the sea/ocean.
It’s said that the most important thing you can give to a child is your time. That’s especially true for underprivileged children. Teaching in Sri Lanka is one of the best ways to experience local culture and make a significant impact in a short time. Even if you’ve never taught before, this project provides the perfect opportunity to help improve a child’s life and education.
Do you think little kids are the cutest thing ever? Obviously! If spending time and caring for the littlest of humans makes you absurdly happy, then this project was made for you! You’ll spend your time in Sri Lanka helping underprivileged kids with their communication skills and overall development. It’s guaranteed to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Education in Sri Lanka is free, but getting a thorough knowledge of English is quite difficult since it isn’t the native language. Our partner NGO provides volunteers with the opportunity to teach English to a community dedicated to a different mission. Young Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka do not receive a proper knowledge of English as children since they are always inside the monastery and cannot afford taking classes. Volunteers will get to connect with young monks and gain insight into Buddhist culture and practice while teaching them. While they’re very dedicated to their mission, these young monks are some of the most energetic and entertaining students you’ll encounter.
Teaching (Children’s Home)
This project focuses primarily on reaching out to children in need with various social problems. The children’s homes ensure a better future for the low income, no income, poor and needy communities of Sri Lanka. By providing services and facilitating their rehabilitation into the community, we’re working to break the cycle of poverty.
Face it, dogs are pretty much the best thing ever. Sadly, not all these very good boys (and girls) have happy homes and big bowls of food to go home to. Many dogs end up abandoned, abused, or born on the streets only to live a challenging, and often, short life. Fortunately, our partner supports a shelter that takes in these pups and other animals that need care. As a volunteer on this project, you’ll help with all aspects of the shelter and work towards giving the animals the attention they need to become social creatures eligible for adoption. Potential volunteers with veterinary training or experience are highly encouraged to apply, but anyone who cares about disadvantaged animals is welcome.
Volunteers who participate in the Elder Care project in Sri Lanka will have one of the most heart-warming experiences of their lives. Many older citizens spend their days without anyone to talk to and find themselves very lonely. By spending time with those less fortunate residents of our project’s elders homes, you’re able to brighten the days of these wonderful individuals. You’re almost guaranteed to leave with an over abundance of smiles each day as well!
The project fees for Sri Lanka include a project donation that is used by the local NGO to help finance the building of a new animal shelter as well as a new pre-school to provide free early education to underprivileged children. This money also helps support the current shelter, schools, and animal care facilities that have limited financial resources.
|Project||1 week||2 weeks||4 weeks|
|Sea Turtle Conservation||$340||$680||$1,240|
|Teaching (Children's Home)||$320||$640||$1,200|
Included: Airport pick-up & drop-off (unless otherwise stated) • Location orientation • Shared accommodations in local hotels (usually not more than 3 per room) • 3 meals per day • Project training • Project donation • 24/7 emergency phone & in-country support
NOT Included: Flights • Visas • Vaccinations • Travel insurance • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees
For custom lengths of stay not listed, please contact us for pricing.
All projects incur a $250 application fee. Please see the The Fine Print page for more information.
Volunteers participating in all projects in Sri Lanka have the opportunity to take advantage of island life and earn an additional PADI Open Water Diver certification. The course can be taken as a stand alone program or added to the week before or after a volunteering project. Click the button below for more information.
The climate of Sri Lanka is considered tropical and is characterized by two main season: dry and wet. Due to the geographic location of the island, different sections of the country experience different wet/dry seasons throughout the year. Located on the southwestern border, Colombo experiences the following climate norms:
Dry Season: October to April
Wet Season: May to September
Temperatures throughout the year are remarkably consistent month-to-month with an average of 87° F (30° C).
Hottest Month: May | average highs of 89° F (31° C)
Coolest Month: January | average lows hovering around 74° F (23° C)
Special Considerations | Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Please keep in mind that Sri Lanka is a developing country. That means that infrastructure, amenities, and sustenance will likely differ from what you’re accustomed to. The tap water in Sri Lanka is not drinkable, but filtered water is provided.
The local NGO prefers when volunteers arrive on Sundays. They are flexible, but please consider this when booking your arrival transportation.
Riding elephants may seem fun, but in actuality it is an activity steeped in abuse and is not supported by GOAT Volunteers and our partners. Volunteers who ride elephants with any external organization while participating in a GOAT Volunteers project will be removed from the project immediately, no refunds will be issued, and no further support will be provided.
Despite being a progressive nation, Sri Lanka still considers homosexuality illegal. However, this should not dissuade potential volunteers as GOAT Volunteers and the local NGO do not support this discrimination. GOAT Volunteers recommends any LGBT volunteers who visit Sri Lanka refrain from public displays of affection to avoid any unwanted attention.
Sri Lanka is one of the few places that seems to have everything you could ask for in terms of activities. Surfing, snorkeling, mountain hikes, jungle safaris, historical ruins, and so much more are all available for the adventurous volunteer.
All activities are optional as some/all may incur added costs to the volunteer. You can join in on the fun, do your own exploring, or just relax at the volunteer acommodations.
For additional information, please visit our Resources page.