Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Our partner organisation Volunteer Sri Lanka (VSL) offer many opportunities for people interested in a volunteering experience on the island. Generally, VSL are flexible in the kind of volunteer assignments they offer depending on an applicants skills, experience and area of interest. It’s best to discuss this with them before sending in an application.
Examples of what they need are: doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, engineers, teachers or student teachers, people good at DIY, artists, handicraft makers, and people willing to teach sports.
The following are examples of volunteer assignments, and are typical of what is needed within the community:
- Nurses and doctors are required at the Teaching Hospital at Karapatiya. While the hospital does not have Western standards, some of the conditions are surprisingly good – but they need all the help they can get as demand is heavy. There are also opportunities here for medical teaching at the hospital.
- Training nurses at a local nurse’s school
- Teaching at a local primary school – mainly English conversation, reading, writing, mathematics, science, art, crafts and sports
- Teaching and interacting with children at a local nursery school
- Working with kids at the Tsunami Memorial Library
- Teaching and playing with deaf girls at Sacred Heart School
- Teaching and playing with children with intellectual handicaps (mainly Down’s Syndrome)
- Working at a home for the elderly. Duties include playing cards with them, interacting with them – generally showing that someone cares. Being kind enough to make up a work party once a fortnight to clean the living quarters at the elderly men’s home which includes washing their sheets.
- Teaching skills such as electrics, carpentry and building skills at the Tsunami Memorial Library.
- Building and renovation work.
- Many other skills come in useful, including photography as local people will be able use them to earn a living, or supplement an existing income
Volunteers should have teaching experience, if they are wanting to volunteer in schools in Sr Lanka. However, those without formal teaching qualifications may assist local teachers in school and teach sports, music, arts and crafts, if they possess those particular skills.
For helping children with homework, reading, writing, and English language conversation at the Tsunami Memorial Library no formal qualifications are required.
If you are volunteering in the medical sector need to have a formal nursing or doctor qualification (or a minimum of 3 years training to become a doctor (but a formal qualification is preferred). Medical students will work under qualified supervision.
The main thing for any volunteer to keep in mind is that a desire to help, a good heart, patience and a willingness to understand and accept cultural differences are highly valued when we are placing volunteers.
Duration: A minimum period of 3 weeks is required to ensure that you have a worthwhile placement, and the maximum period of a volunteer assignment is 3 months.
Cost in US$ $200 per week (plus 12% VAT and 4% other government taxes)
**Ensuite accommodation; 3 meals per day; use of a common computer and free Wifi are included in this fee.
This is inexpensive compared to other volunteer projects (even without taking into consideration the high quality of the living arrangements). In addition our project includes a high level of personal support from Janaka who is dedicated to ensuring that volunteer assignments run smoothly.
For more information on how to get the most out of your time in Sri Lanka and on your volunteer assignment, contact us.