Volunteer With Us
The following pages offer you valuable information about workplaces and schedules, accomodation, fees and general information for volunteers.
The Volunteer Sri Lanka Project offers volunteers the opportunity for a tailor-made volunteer experience.
Whatever your preferences and skills, Janaka will work with you to find you your ideal placement. Even skills taken for granted in the developed world, such as the ability to take a good photograph with a digital camera, can be used to benefit local people, giving them skills with which to make a living or augment their income.
We need doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, teachers or student teachers, people good at DIY, artists, handicraft makers, people willing to lead sports ……………… we need skills of every sort!
We need a civil engineer to help solve the flooding problem at the Temple where skills training will take place.
Further down on this page is a list of standard volunteer roles the fulfilment of which greatly benefit the local community and will lead to improved standards of living health and quality of life for current and future generations. You can find more information about volunteer opportunities by visiting Volunteer Workplaces.
If you don't see a ready slot for yourself in this list, do an inventory of your skills and send it to Janaka with an email describing your aspirations. He will then discuss possibilities with you by email and/or telephone, so that he can ensure that he gets it right for you. By doing this, Janaka enables you to make a real difference to the lives of poor people both right now in the present moment and also in the future and for future generations.
When you are ready to apply, please go to Applications Forms to download the necessary forms. (Don't worry, unlike some volunteer projects there is no fee to apply.) We also strongly encourage you to go to Volunteer With Us where there is a lot of information that will help you prepare for your time in Sri Lanka.
Whilst you are at the project, Janaka is constantly available to help you with any fine tuning of your placement or even a different role, especially if you are a longer term volunteer when you might feel like a change. Just pin him down every time he comes home! He can help you arrange sightseeing and recreation activities if you wish.
Due to school holidays and the need of the Project Manager's family to have the time to hold the annual memorial ceremonies for their parents who were killed by the Tsunami, the Project generally does not take volunteers during the following period:
13th December to 3rd January
In order to keep things running smoothly the Project can accept a small number of volunteer during this period. These dates are approximate so please check with Janaka if you wish to come around these times.
Here’s the standard list of volunteer assignments:
• Working as a nurse or doctor at the Teaching Hospital at Karapatiya about 1 mile from the accommodation. Conditions at the hospital vary from those you might expect in a developing world country to surprisingly good - but they need all the help they can get as demand is heavy. There is also the opportunity to do medical teaching at the hospital. You will need to provide your medical qualifications.
• Training nurses at the local nurse’s school (qualifications as above)
• Teaching at a local primary school – mainly English conversation, reading, writing, mathematics, science, art, crafts and sports
• Teaching and working with children at local nursery school
• Teaching local children at the Tsunami Memorial Library after school, during the holidays and at weekends
• Teaching and playing sports with children
•Teaching and playing with deaf girls at the Sacred Heart School
• Teaching and playing with children with intellectual handicaps (mainly Down’s Syndrome)
• Working with orphans – may include teaching, playing and looking after their day to day need for care, attention and love
• Working with old people at a home for elderly men and women. Playing cards with them, talking with them – generally showing that someone cares about them. Being kind enough to make up a work party once a fortnight to clean the living quarters at the elderly men's home and wash their sheets.
• Teaching skills such as electrics, carpentry and building skills at the Tsunami Memorial Library and Temple Centre.
• Building and renovation work at the Temple which has some subsidence in the buildings, unfinished buildings, poor drainage and flooding problems in the grounds – all of which would benefit from professional knowledge and practical skills to renovate and correct.
• Any skills, including photography are very useful to local people who will be able use them to earn a living, supplement existing income and improve their own home
Age 17 -70
For teaching assignments in schools it is preferable that volunteers have teaching experience, but even those without qualifications may assist teachers in school and teach sports, music, arts and crafts, if they have those particular skills.
No qualifications are required for teaching and assisting children with homework, reading, writing, English language conversation etc. at the Tsunami Memorial Library.
Those volunteers seeking medical placements in clinics and hospitals must have a full nursing or medical doctor qualification or at the very least 3 completed years of medical training as a doctor. Medical students will work under qualified supervision.
The main qualification for any volunteer is a desire to help, a good heart, patience and a willingness to understand and accept cultural differences.
Duration A minimum period of 3 weeks to ensure that you have a worthwhile placement and a maximum
period of 3 months
Cost in US$ $200 per week (plus 12% VAT and 4% other government taxes)
Ensuite accommodation and 3 meals per day are included in this fee.
This is extremely inexpensive compared to other volunteer projects even without taking into consideration the high quality of the living arrangements. In addition our project includes a very high level of personal support that is not found in most projects.
Payment is per lunar month (28 days). At the discretion of the Project Manager, volunteers who are working at the Project for less than one month will pay per week, pro rata by the week.
Please note that incomplete weeks will count as one whole week. For example 2 weeks and 3 days, for the purposes of payment will be counted as 3 weeks and volunteers will be expected to pay accordingly. If volunteers choose to take time out for sightseeeing in the middle of their Project placement, they will not be refunded for those days unless this time out was arranged with the Project Manager at the time of booking. It is recommended that during their stay in Sri Lanka volunteers take time to see other parts of this beautiful country but it is easier to manage the placement if volunteers do so before starting their placement or after completing it.
Cost includes: Accommodation in the home of the project manager, all meals, use of a common computer and free WIFI usage.
To learn what happens with your volunteer fee, please feel free to ask Janaka. You have the option to discuss its usage and make suggestions. It's better if this happens early in your placement so that you have the chance to actually see the fruits. Part of your volunteer fee is used to provide various assistance within the local community and institutions where the project sends volunteers, as well as to provide occasional assistance to poor local people. We greatly appreciate your help with this
Highlights of volunteering with the Volunteer Sri Lanka Project
- Working with poor and disadvantaged Sri Lankans
- Staying in a very comfortable home and sharing the life of a lovely extended family
- Enjoying delicious home cooked meals
- The knowledge, advice and assistance of Janaka when planning your sightseeing tours
- The opportunity to learn more about Buddhism and experience the life of the Temple. Such interest and participation in not a requirement and although the opportunity is there, no-one will seek to convert you. Buddhism is not a proselytising religion and we are a non discriminatory and non religious organisation.
Before coming to Sri Lanka volunteers are advised to research the country prior to going to ensure that they are aware of any and all measures they need to take to ensure their well being, health and security during their stay. Most countries have their own Foreign Office websites offering relevant information and advice about Sri Lanka. Volunteers are advised to use those for their pre trip research and any other source they find useful. The links below may also be useful.
How to get the most enjoyment and fulfillment from your placement.
If at any time during your time at the project, you are unhappy or uncomfortable with any aspect of your placement please don't leave it until the end of your time in Sri Lanka to tell us. Everyone wants you to derive maximum pleasure and fulfillment from your volunteering experience so please let us know. Sri Lankan people are very straight forward, not easily offended and prefer honesty when politely expressed.
If arrangements become unsuitable for any reason, we urge you to discuss it with the director or Sri Lanka volunteer coordinator at the establishment where you are volunteering and to check before leaving each day what the arrangements are for the next day in case an unavoidable alteration to your schedule has had to be made. This may occasionally be necessary to ensure the smooth running of the establishment for the benefit of the children or adults it serves
Don't expect the same levels of organisation, punctuality and reliability that you might experience in your country.
Don't be deterred by that word, "No." and "It can't be done." With persistence, determination, tactfully finding a way through the obstacles and taking the reins in a respectful way - it will usually happen! And when you do make it happen, people will be so grateful. If you fail, they will still be grateful for your effort.
Be open, empathetic and patient.
Click on Planning your Trip for lots of helpful information to help you get the most out of your time with us and in Sri Lanka as a whole.
CIA World Fact Book - Sri Lanka Health Information for Travelers to Sri Lanka