🇱🇰 VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA 🇱🇰

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with Plan My Gap Year – an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation with programs based in Sri Lanka. PMGY provides safe, trusted and affordable programs overseas with a wide range of volunteer projects in Sri Lanka including ChildcareDog RescueEnglish TeachingMedicalMental Health & Turtle Conservation opportunities.

PMGY Sri Lanka is located in Ambalangoda. The Sri Lanka programs start on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month. Our projects here run across the year and participants can join us from 1-24 weeks. Volunteers in Sri Lanka are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pick-up, orientation, meals, accommodation and local support.

KEY FEATURES

PROGRAM FEE FROM 270 USD

PROGRAMS FOR 17+ YEAR OLDS

✓ 80% OF VOLUNTEERS ARE 17-22 YEARS OLD


✓ MEET LIKE-MINDED SOLO TRAVELLERS


✓ VOLUNTEER MON-FRI & TRAVEL SAT-SUN


✓ AVAILABLE TO WORLDWIDE VOLUNTEERS


✓ BEST FOR FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

LOCATED IN AMBALANGODA

1ST & 3RD SATURDAY EVERY MONTH

✓ 24 HOUR AIRPORT PICKUP


✓ ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & WI-FI


✓ SAFE, SECURE & TRUSTED COUNTRY SETUP


✓ CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION


✓ 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY, UK & US SUPPORT

SRI LANKA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

On this uncrowded, exotic and developing island there are many children keen to learn from our volunteers who will aid in their development.

FROM 270 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA DOG RESCUE VOLUNTEERS

Get involved in making a real difference to the lives of street dogs in Sri Lanka. Help do your bit to ensure they have a happy upbringing and bright future.

FROM 300 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

Teach Buddhist Monks or children whose family experienced the Tsunami. English is a valuable skill that will greatly enhance their career prospects.

FROM 270 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS

Gain invaluable medical experience, an opportunity not to be missed in this gorgeous part of the world by those pursuing a career in medicine.

FROM 300 USD

1-4 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA MENTAL HEALTH & PSYCHOLOGY VOLUNTEERS

Using a combination of lectures, meditations, consultations and community projects, further your awareness of mental health in a new culture.

FROM 420 USD

1-4 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Help protect and rehabilitate at-risk sea turtles whilst also taking part in community development projects. Experience a different side of Sri Lanka.

FROM 300 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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REAL SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE

Do something life-changing discovering the real Sri Lanka. Spend four amazing weeks exploring and volunteering in this hugely inspiring country.

FROM 1,155 USD

4 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA INTRO EXPERIENCE

Join this journey to discover the best of Sri Lanka, exploring the fascinating Cultural Triangle, beautiful Hill Country and the chilled out South Coast.

FROM 885 USD

2 WEEKS

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REAL ASIA ENCOUNTER – SRI LANKA, INDIA & NEPAL

Sri Lanka, India and Nepal! We can’t think of a more sublime combination of exotic and fascinating countries to volunteer in over 6, 9 or 12 weeks.

FROM 1,575 USD

6-12 WEEKS

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REAL TASTER ENCOUNTER – SRI LANKA, INDIA & BALI

Our top destinations mixed into one trip! Don’t miss your chance to sample and a make difference in sleepy Sri Lanka, inspiring India & beautiful Bali!

FROM 1,635 USD

6-12 WEEKS

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ULTIMATE ROUND THE WORLD ENCOUNTER

An epic journey across 10 enthralling destinations and 4 breathtaking continents. If you are looking for the ultimate trip, then this is your Encounter!

FROM 6,285 USD

20-40 WEEKS

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@planmygapyearofficial Day in a life as a turtle volunteer!! My name is Malisa and today I’m bringing you with me to show you a typical day at the turtle project here in Sri Lanka🐢☀️🇱🇰 #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #turtle #dayinalife #joinme #volunteer #volunteering #turtle🐢 #srilanka ♬ original sound – Plan My Gap Year


@planmygapyearofficial Don’t miss out on these Maldives highlights! This is a full itinerary of activities our volunteers do when heading over the to incredible Maldives😍🇲🇻 #planmygapyear #pmgy #volunteer #travel #travelling #maldives #highlights #pmgysrilanka #sharks ♬ It's a Beautiful Day – Rob Drabkin


Our current Real Sri Lanka Experience group got the chance to see the authentic side of Sri Lanka on the village tour in Habarana. 

They got to learn how to cook local dishes and travel in style through the local village! 

@planmygapyear #realsrilankaexperience #villagetour #habarana #pmgysrilanka #planmygapyear #pmgy
POV: you wake up for sunrise and are rewarded by this fantastic view😍🌞✨

#pmgysrilanka #planmygapyear #pmgy #volunteer #sunrise #sunrisehike #gapyear #travel
Have a look at this great volunteer experience ❤️🫶🏽 As a volunteer there are so many aspects to get involved with! 

#planmygapyear #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #travel #volunteer
🇱🇰 Weekend trips in Sri Lanka!😍 This is our country hill and safari weekend trip. A full packed weekend with some of Sri Lanka’s best highlights and must see. Check it out! 

@planmygapyear #pmgysrilanka #pmgy #pmgytravel #gapyear #travel #gapyearlife #gapyeartravel #travelling #volunteer #volunteering #goabroad #travelwithpurpose #srilanka #safari #markets
✨🇲🇻The Maldives is on the bucket list for a reason ✨📸

Make sure you join us to this beautiful paradise! Snorkel with sharks 🦈 and tropical fish 🐠 🤿 Enjoy the gorgeous beach and a true Maldivian sunset 🌅 

@planmygapyear #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #Maldives #travel #explore #snorkel

WHY VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

SRI LANKA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

A childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka can make a vital contribution to brighten up the daily lives of children from challenging backgrounds. From supporting educational development and encouraging a positive lifestyle, you can play a key role in making a positive impact on the local community. The projects we work with provide important early years education for these children. The more help and encouragement they can get from volunteers, the better and brighter their future.

 

Background to the Childcare Program

 

In Sri Lanka, children can attend preschools from 3-5 years old. However, many of the government run preschools can lack basic resources and be overcrowded with just one or two teachers to look after high numbers of young children. Subsequently, children can miss important building blocks in their early development years. For the reason that exposure to engaging stimulation from a young age plays a crucial role in preparing children for school and learning early socio-emotional skills.

 

The presence of a volunteer at a local preschool gives young children the unique opportunity to be exposed to the English Language from a young age. In turn, it builds their confidence and can be their foundation for learning English in the future. Something which can improve the opportunities and prospects for these children later on in life.

 

If you volunteer in Sri Lanka with children, you’ll find it is a highly rewarding experience and one that people from all backgrounds can get involved in. You can support these preschools to ensure the kids get a positive start to their education and development. Sharing your time, skills, and affection as a childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka will be of great support to the local preschool teachers. Finally, there are also a range of animal volunteering abroad projects in Sri Lanka you can support.

 

Childcare Project Examples

 

Urban Council Preschools – Each childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka has the opportunity to support a network of preschools in Ambalangoda. Specifically, PMGY supports up to 8 preschools in the local community. The background of each preschool can vary. For instance, some preschools are without cost for children to attend and others can have administration fees for children to join. Regardless, the children attending the school are usually coming from challenging backgrounds and low income families.

 

You’ll be providing much-needed help to the local community and working parents, who otherwise would not be able to afford quality care for their young children. One example of a preschool that the local team fully funds and supports is Sun Rise Preschool & Day Care Centre. This is usually the project site where volunteers will lead holiday camps and activities during the school holiday periods.

 

These preschools enable a safe environment for children aged 1-4 years old to enjoy early years education and development. Subsequently, this allows parents to work and earn an income, generally in local cinnamon or garment factories, in order to provide for their families. At the preschool, the childcare volunteers will be supporting the preschool with basic education. In addition to assisting local teachers, volunteers will get creative by leading dance and exercise classes, teaching poems, distributing snacks, and helping with arts and craft activities.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Childcare Day

 

Your main role as a childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka is to help encourage and care for these children, providing them with the opportunity to boost their confidence and to help maximise their potential. You will volunteer in Sri Lanka from Monday-Friday. The morning sessions at the preschool usually runs from 9am-11:30am. However, some preschools have slightly earlier start times and end times should you wish to extend your project commitments. The afternoon community education sessions are also available to support with additional community education projects. The placement locations take around 30 minutes to reach by tuk-tuk or private minibus.

 

Your time on the childcare volunteer abroad program is allocated for teaching the children English and enhancing early years educational development. You will get the opportunity to assist a local teacher in running preschool activities. Your role as a childcare volunteer is crucial to help maintain a safe environment and an engaging, educational session for the children. You will assist in delivering sessions on arts and crafts, singing and dancing, games and basic English teaching. This can help the children build key competencies and life skills at an early age through a creative medium.

 

We encourage participants on the Sri Lanka volunteer program to use engaging educational activities to hold the children’s attention, as well as inspire their learning. Be creative, use exciting ways to learn new vocabulary and introduce interesting topics in a fun way. You could use alphabet props in a matching game, create topical posters, or even find items in the preschool to create a counting activity. In addition, your volunteer work in Sri Lanka will involve some light housekeeping such as meal preparation and sanitary assistance to the young children at the preschool.

 

Working with this age group is not as structured as teaching older children. In other words, their language can be improved simply through play and interaction. As a result, just a few words or phrases will stand them in good stead for learning English in the future. Our local team are on hand to support you with any ideas or activities you wish to perform whilst you volunteer in Sri Lanka. If you volunteer with children in Sri Lanka, you’ll need to prepare activities for this accordingly.

 
 

SRI LANKA DOG RESCUE VOLUNTEERS

Being a dog in Sri Lanka is a tough life. One of the first things you’ll notice as a Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer is the vast number of strays wandering the beaches and streets. Lack of food, shelter and care can dramatically reduce the lifespan of a street dog, as well as the rising problem of rabies in Sri Lanka. Help protect and care for these wonderful canines and improve the animal-human relationship in the community.

 

Background to the Dog Rescue Program

 

The rising number of street dogs across Sri Lanka poses many risks and challenges, including poor treatment, terrible injuries, malnutrition, untreated diseases and the concern of human deaths caused by rabies. This fear leads to poor treatment of stray dogs and poor awareness of how the local community can help.

 

Rabies is a fatal disease which is transmitted by various animals, but in Sri Lanka, it is most prevalent amongst dogs. This viral infection is spread via the saliva of a rabid animal; hence it can be passed on through a bite or contact with an open wound. Unfortunately, rabies will continue to exist until there are further efforts to eliminate it. There are a large number of dog bite cases in Sri Lanka, which is a cause for concern for tourists and locals alike. In addition, this creates huge bills for Government hospitals treating the victims.

 

The Sri Lankan Government have recently adopted more humane methods to control the population and spread of rabies, focusing now on neutering and vaccinating stray dogs. As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of human rabies deaths and incidents. Our mission is to continue these efforts in the local community with the help of volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

 

By offering vaccinations and neutering it helps to manage the population of stray dogs and reduce the risk of diseases, especially rabies. Many female strays produce multiple litters each year, many of which are dumped at temples or on the roadside. These puppies have a low chance of survival, as they are at high risk of contracting diseases, malnutrition or being involved in road traffic accidents. This is where our Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteers step in as the project aims to provide a safe refuge for abandoned dogs.

 

Dog Rescue Project Example

 

Bring Them Home Dog Shelter – This animal care volunteer program aims to improve the wellbeing of street dogs in the local area. This volunteer work in Sri Lanka provides a safe home for vulnerable, sick and disabled dogs, with daily care, vaccinations, rehabilitation and rehoming. As a Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer, your extra pair of helping hands enables the project to provide enough care and love for all the canines. In addition, you can help in preventing rabies and improving the situation in the local community.

 

The team have an on-call rescue facility to transport dogs that have been found injured, disabled or abandoned. They will be brought back to the project so the team can conduct a general health check and provide assistance. At the dog shelter, each Sri Lanka animal volunteer can observe or assist the Vet with their check-ups, vaccinations, medical treatment or minor surgeries as and when required. As the project can receive unvaccinated dogs from the roadside and other unknown areas, it is important to follow the local coordinator advice before interacting with these dogs. For the reason that the local staff will need to isolate these unvaccinated dogs at the project in their first few days whilst they receive vaccinations. When it is safe to do so and the new dogs have been fully vaccinated, they will then integrate with the other dogs at the shelter.

 

The shelter also tries to find new loving homes for the healthy vaccinated dogs with local families, with education about how to properly care for their new pet. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can help to produce and provide animal welfare education to the community. Consequently, this improves the understanding, attitude and treatment between humans and dogs. The aim is to introduce this on a community level and bring about long term change.

 

Please note some of these sessions on the animal care volunteer program run on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, if it is something you are interested in when you volunteer in Sri Lanka then please speak with our local staff who will make the appropriate arrangements.

 

Volunteers should expect at least 15 dogs or so at the shelter at one time. Volunteers will have direct involvement and enrichment activities with only the vaccinated dogs. It is important to note that many of the dogs are usually of a friendly nature having arrived to the shelter as puppies. However, this means the dogs can get very excitable and jump up to volunteers with some scratching. There can also be time where the dogs will play fight amongst themselves and volunteers should not risk their own safety getting involved with this. Subsequently, it is important for volunteers not to adopt a care free attitude at the project and listen to the guidance of our local team.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Our Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteers spend their days assisting with daily tasks and care for the dogs living in the shelter. The project runs from Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm but can also take place in the afternoons. You’ll be transported to the Sri Lanka volunteer program by tuk-tuk. When you volunteer in Sri Lanka, typical duties on this wildlife volunteering abroad program include:

 

• Cleaning, maintaining hygiene and upkeep in the project premises and bedding areas
• Preparing meals and feeding the dogs
• Playtime and socialisation with the dogs
• Walking the dogs and exercising on a daily basis
• Showering and washing the dogs
• Recreational activities with the dogs at the beach
• Creating training and enrichment plans
• Assisting with medication and vaccinations for the dogs
• Grooming and checking for ticks
• Creating and maintaining documentation for dog profiles (history, vaccinations etc) and site visits
• Caring for sick/disabled/injured dogs

 

You will be assisting the local staff in these tasks each day. Any additional duties will be based on current need and availability. For instance, rescuing puppies in danger, pet adoption and community awareness. On an ad hoc basis, expect to support the team out in the Ambalangoda community providing food for stray dogs. You will usually feed at least 30 street dogs during each outreach session.

 

PMGY’s Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to help protect and care for these lovely animals. You can make a positive impact whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.

 
 

SRI LANKA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

You can volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka to dramatically boost future opportunities available for young people. Having the ability to speak English is a valuable tool, especially for career prospects and achieving future goals. Above all, conversing with fluent English speakers can encourage students to develop this essential language skill. If you are enthusiastic and have lots of positive energy then this is the project for you!

 

Background to the Teaching Program

 

Sri Lanka’s education system is pretty impressive for a developing country of its size. Universal public education is available from the age of 6 to the age of 18. However, many government schools, particularly in rural areas, receive minimal government funding. Especially considering the size of the communities they are expected to serve. The facilities at the schools are very basic. In particular, the classrooms get extremely cramped as average class sizes are around 40 to 60 children.

 

The ability to speak English is becoming of growing importance in Sri Lanka. The two main sources of income in Sri Lanka are from tourism and migrant workers going to the Middle East. Both occupations require the ability to speak English – the world’s global language. However, the level of English teaching in government schools is limited. Class sizes are large and the teachers’ English speaking skills are by no means perfect. It is only the middle and upper-class children who can afford private English lessons.

 

The children attend local government schools during the mornings but often can’t afford the tuition needed to excel beyond the basics. In Sri Lanka, these additional tuition classes are key to excelling at school. In other words, the government education system is too basic to be able to provide enough time and provisions for students. Certainly, there is not enough time allocated to learn English. The teachers will have basic English themselves, often using “parrot style learning”. For instance, students only learn to repeat from a textbook, rather than understanding words in context. However, tuition classes involve a weekly fee that many of these families cannot afford.

 

Therefore it is no surprise that children from most low-income families speak little or no English. Our aim on the volunteer teaching English abroad project is to give the poorer children of Ambalangoda the same opportunities as their more wealthy peers. As a result, they too will have the chance to develop their ability to speak English and enhance their future career prospects. In addition, there is also a range of volunteering abroad with animals opportunities in Sri Lanka you can support.

 

Teaching Placement Examples

 

A volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka will be based at one of the locations where we provide free English lessons. Most importantly, you’ll be helping in one of the local village communities, on our own after-school education program. In addition, you have the amazing opportunity to also teach English in Sri Lanka to young Buddhist monks.

 

Community Village School Projects – These English teaching projects provide an after-school education program, initiated and ran by PMGY since 2013. This is the main project for a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka. We work in a number of villages across the Ambalangoda district, typically supporting children from lower income areas. Each volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka can help to provide free language lessons and education opportunities for these children.

 

Our aim is to further their English language development by providing these free after-school English lessons in the afternoons. These projects will take place in a makeshift classroom or community centre within the village. On the English teaching program, each class is divided based on the student’s level of English. Class sizes usually vary from 4-15 children per class. You could be teaching students from 6-18 years old, depending on the current project need and availability. A local team member will be on hand to help when you volunteer in Sri Lanka.

 

Those who participate on medical or wildlife projects in the mornings are welcome to support our afternoon village school projects with no extra costs. Your project transport will be arranged for you and you can work alongside the teaching volunteers in Sri Lanka to help improve learning opportunities for the children. With more teaching volunteers at the project, more structure and planning can be done to achieve and track learning outcomes on a regular basis.

 

Temple Schools – Every volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka will also have the option to enrol in our temple school project. This may be joined in addition to the standard afternoon community village school project. The temple schools run in the morning, where you will teach English to novice Buddhist monks.

 

Many of the Buddhist monks speak very little English and the temple schools often welcome poor children from the community to come and learn English too. There tend to be around 5-10 students in each class, generally between 6-18 years of age. The project typically runs for 1.5 hours each morning and allows volunteers to add to their afternoon project commitments. It is important to note that project participation at the temple schools is optional, but the afternoon school project is compulsory for all teaching participants. For the reason that this is the core teaching project and the temple school project sometimes runs on a more ad hoc basis.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Teaching Day

 

Your main role as a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka is to share your time, knowledge and skills to teach English to the local communities in Ambalangoda, boosting their confidence in conversational English and helping to maximise their potential.

 

The after-school education Sri Lanka volunteer program is available from 3pm-5.30pm each afternoon from Monday-Friday. Usually, you’ll get there by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes around 10 minutes.

 

The first part of the project is spent teaching English and the last hour is allocated for games and activities. We encourage volunteers to make lessons as engaging and interactive as possible by being creative and proactive when preparing lessons. Use fun educational games like interactive word searches or Hangman, or a bit of class competition in Hot Seat or team quizzes. Games, songs, art, sport and music are all great tools. There are usually resources and syllabus guidance at the Volunteer House so you can plan activities before you go to project.

 

The presence of international volunteers gives the children an insight into different cultures; a global perspective they greatly benefit from. Use your creativity and knowledge to help these eager young minds reach their true potential.

 

Each volunteer in Sri Lanka will lead their own classes and have the freedom to create a lesson plan of their choice. There may be a topic or curriculum materials that you can follow if you need some inspiration. Your volunteer work in Sri Lanka may be in pairs or small groups per class, however, this is dependent on the current need and the number of volunteers at the time. We usually run three to six classes in each community, but again this will be dependent on the number of volunteers.

 

There will be a local coordinator at the project each day who is on hand to support volunteers with their efforts and can help with overcoming the language barrier. Please note the local staff will not be leading the class. It is also important not to constantly rely on the coordinators for translation when you are teaching English in Sri Lanka.

 

At the temple schools the classes run in the morning, usually at 8:30am-10am from Monday-Friday. The tuk-tuk journey takes about 5 minutes. The topics and activities here can be very similar to the after-school education program, with a focus on learning in a calm environment (minus any shouting or active games). In return for your contribution to the temple, you will find the monks are often keen to invite you to learn more about their religion and way of life.

 
 

SRI LANKA MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS

As a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka you can gain valuable medical experience in a new culture, an opportunity not to be missed in this gorgeous part of the world! If you are looking for a learning experience or would like to pursue a career in the medical field, then this program is the ideal way to give you an insight into the Sri Lankan healthcare system.

 

Background to the Medical Program

 

The history of the Sri Lankan medicine system dates back thousands of years, with a rich history stemming from their extensive kingdoms. It is believed that the concept of hospitals around the world was actually introduced by the Sinhalese, thanks to their royalty. Kings were not only demanding to have their own hospital homes built but they were often practitioners of medicine themselves.

 

In addition, the ancient practice of Ayurveda is also deeply rooted in the Sri Lankan medical system. Known as one of the oldest healing sciences around the world, Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit as “The Science of Life”. Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 3,000 years ago, focusing on the concept of balance in one’s life. This can be linked to mental health issues, diet, lifestyle, healthcare and more.

 

Using holistic and natural health practices, Ayurveda emphasises prevention and balance in order to attain balance within your physical, emotional and mental states. The Ayurvedic system, government hospitals and teachings are also widespread across Sri Lanka. Moreover, many citizens will choose to follow Ayurvedic medicine practices for certain illnesses or accidents and western medicine for others.

 

The healthcare system in Sri Lanka is universal to all local citizens, offering both traditional Ayurvedic and modern healthcare for free across government hospitals. Nowadays most hospitals in Sri Lanka do follow a more “western medicine” approach, using procedures and medications that are seen worldwide. Certainly, as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, it may be perceived as very basic and outdated in some ways. On the other hand, there is a higher life expectancy and lower infant death rate than neighbouring countries in the region. Even so, there are often long waiting lists with a limitation of capacity, staff and resources. As a result, the number of private hospitals has risen to offer private healthcare services.

 

Working in a hospital on the Sri Lanka volunteer program is a great opportunity to get close up clinical exposure and learn about health care systems in developing countries. You will witness a variety of cases, which offers a fantastic contrast to what you might find in your local hospital! PMGY’s medical volunteer program is a learning experience available for both medical students and school leavers looking to pursue a career in medicine. Join as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka for the perfect way to gain invaluable hospital work experience whilst exploring the wonders that this amazing island has to offer.

 

Medical Volunteer Placement Examples

 

Your placement timetable on the medical volunteer abroad program will depend on your current status of study. Those who are studying a health-related degree at university can enjoy placements at both private and government hospitals. This is on the assumption we receive the required paperwork in the correct format from you at least 3 weeks before your program start date. High school leavers and applicants from a non-health related background will be placed at a private hospital only. Nevertheless, still enjoying clinic and workshop based options and an insight into Ayurvedic medicine which all medical volunteers in Sri Lanka enjoy.

 

Roseth Private Hospital – You might volunteer in Sri Lanka within a small private hospital in Ambalangoda. The private hospital provides a structured observational and informative approach to give participants a broad insight into a medical facility in Sri Lanka.

 

The following departments are available in the private hospital: Physiotherapy, Dental Surgery, Radiology (x-ray machine and computerised radiology), Laboratory, Phlebotomy, In-Patient Ward, Out-Patient Ward

 

Balapitiya Government Base Hospital – PMGY partner with a government hospital located only a 15 minute journey from Ambalangoda. It is a medium-sized hospital with over 500 stations. There are 20 doctors and 2 surgeons at the hospital. We can place participants at the following departments in the government hospital: Out-Patient Unit, Emergency Treatment Room, General Medicine, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Antenatal, Postnatal, Labour Room, Paediatrics

 

Please note that the government hospital will not permit applicants who are not studying medicine, nursing or healthcare at university. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule as dictated by the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka.

 

Government Village Hospital – As a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may also be able to get involved at a local blood pressure clinic. This is based at a smaller village government hospital whereby the clinic runs on a more ad hoc basis and service users receive free blood pressure checks.

 

Sri Lankan Ayurvedic Medicine – Every medical volunteer in Sri Lanka will have the opportunity to participate in an Ayurveda medicine lecture, regardless of whether you are placed at the private or government hospital. A local Ayurvedic specialist will teach you all about the history of Ayurveda, its role within healthcare in Sri Lanka and how it is implemented to treat a variety of cases.

 

Ayurvedic concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique natural health practices. The earliest references of Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka are associated with a great physician; Ravana, a king of Sri Lanka dating back to prehistoric times.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Your main role is to learn and experience the Sri Lankan healthcare system, procedures and culture, observing how this may differ to the experience you have at home. In addition, you may encounter different scenarios as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, such as dengue fever, snake bites and motorcycle accidents.

 

The medical project takes place for around 3 hours a day from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm, depending on the current opportunities available. For instance, each medical volunteer in Sri Lanka may have the chance to stay longer if there is a major surgery or labour whilst you are allocated to that ward. The option is available to join the project in the afternoon. However, please note the doctors will only be present in the wards during the morning. The hospitals are 5-15 minutes away by tuk-tuk.

 

Roseth Private Hospital – Your time will be allocated across the hospital departments at the private hospital. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on the circumstances.

 

Your role is purely observational as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, so you should not expect any hands-on involvement. Depending on your interests, you will be placed within different departments and you will be attached to an English-speaking member of staff. Please note there may still be a communication barrier and the staff will do their best to translate when they can.

 

As the role is purely observational, we recommend that applicants sign up for no more than 2 weeks as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka. In our experience, whilst you will gain invaluable medical insight and knowledge at the private hospital, after a while, most people are eager for some hands-on volunteer work in Sri Lanka. Whilst PMGY cannot offer you hands-on work as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, we can welcome you on to our community projects teaching English.

 

Our local team will go through the options with you during your in-country orientation. You can join one of these projects in the afternoon and attend the private hospital in the morning – it is completely up to you. Furthermore, if you’d like to join us for longer than 2 weeks, it is absolutely fine for you to sign up for 2 weeks as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka and then go on to do another project for the remainder of your stay.

 

Balapitiya Government Base Hospital – You can choose to spend your time across several departments or just a few. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on the circumstances, We would recommend a mixed timetable in order to experience the different hospital settings.

 

Whilst you will be assigned a member of staff within the department to mentor each medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, it is important to understand that the local staff are extremely busy. Therefore, you should be proactive, ask questions and be assertive in requesting additional guidance should you require it. Please note there may still be a communication barrier and the staff will do their best to translate when they can.

 

Government Village Hospital – During your time with us on the Sri Lanka volunteer program, volunteers will usually get the chance to support at our village clinic campaign helping the local doctor by checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels of the people of Ambalangoda.

 

Regardless of the hospital setting, medical volunteers in Sri Lanka should expect an observational role only. The experience is designed in an internship style whereby participants will enjoy an observational and learning exchange program at the hospital. Language and communication barriers with local healthcare professionals can exist and exposure in some settings can be limited compared to other medical volunteer projects.

 
 

SRI LANKA MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERS

As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can gain psychology work experience and learn about mental health in the developing world. This program is designed for those currently studying in the field of psychology or mental health. Meanwhile, it provides an opportunity to gain insight and awareness within a range of settings in the healthcare system. The mental health needs of Sri Lanka have continued to increase in recent decades. However, mental health services have struggled to respond to such developments.

 

Background to the Mental Health Program

 

Sri Lanka’s suicide rates are amongst the highest globally, according to the World Health Organisation, and mental health needs in Sri Lanka today are soaring. It is estimated that in tsunami-affected areas 40% of people suffer from common mental disorders and there is a 3% prevalence of severe mental disorders. In more recent times, the country as a whole is moving away from a traditional cultural stigma existing around mental health in Sri Lanka. Something which stems back from the Buddhist beliefs of reincarnation. Integrating mental health into the primary care of Sri Lanka’s public health system and private sector still remains challenging. However, more recently there has been encouraging signs that right tracks are being made to do this.

 

Such progressions originated in the late 1970s with the emergence of a Non-Government Organisation – ‘The National Council for Mental Health’. Consequently, Medical Officers of Mental Health (MOMHs) were introduced, with the aspiration of having a MOMH in each of Sri Lanka’s 276 subdistricts – at a ratio of one MOMH per 70,000 population. However, such a ratio led to its own constraints. MOMHs often suffer from excessive workloads, with too many patients to see or not enough valuable time spent with each patient in the clinic. Shortage of essential medicines in both clinics and inpatient units is also a problem. Plus, a lack of community based psychiatric treatment settings.

 

Systematic training programs have been introduced to help support mental health officers. This includes a process for them to then pass on such training they receive downwards to the medical staff in their district. Their training includes multiple discussion sessions and role-plays that facilitate active learning and practising core competencies. For example, they will have assessments about the severity of depression/suicide and explanations of medication side effects to facilitate adherence.

 

In line with this, emerging mental health issues are now being ingrained, accepted and made accessible to the general population as part of Sri Lanka primary healthcare, both in government and private hospitals. For instance, the healthcare system now provides for coping with trauma and stress-related problems and understanding the mental health problems of those physically ill. Rehabilitation for people with prolonged mental illnesses is becoming more important, as well as raising awareness through community mental health education problems. Our mental health volunteering abroad program provides participants with the opportunity to gain a broad overview, understanding and insight into mental health care and needs within a different culture.

 

The Sri Lanka volunteer program is based predominately in the Galle District. However, some placement opportunities also extend further afield to the Colombo region. Our mental health project in Sri Lanka is considered one of the most varied volunteering abroad programs.

 

Mental Health Volunteer Placement Examples

 

The mental health & psychology program aims to provide you with an opportunity to work within a range of settings in a new environment and culture. The following placement opportunities are available on the assumption we receive the required paperwork from you in the correct format at least 3 weeks before your program start date. Please note, this project is not available to high school leavers nor applicants from a non-psychology related background. Placement opportunities for mental health volunteers in Sri Lanka include –

 

Government Base Hospital – As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will spend time observing mental health counsellors in a hospital setting. This will be during consultation periods with in-ward and out-ward patients at government hospital clinics. Examples will include shadowing speech therapists and art therapy sessions.

 

When in the hospital setting, the doctor will aim to translate and explain as much as possible to participants whilst the consultation with the patient is taking place. They will speak good English so should be able to debrief and receive questions from you accordingly. It is important for participants to be flexible in the environment they are in and appreciate that a doctor’s schedule is busy. Therefore, the doctor may not be able to translate and explain to you each patient consultation.

 

National Institute of Mental Health – On an ad hoc basis, participants usually get the chance to spend time at the National Institute of Mental Health. This is the largest hospital for mental health in Sri Lanka. Here participants receive a presentation about mental health in Sri Lanka and get a tour of all the in-patient services. For instance, you’ll learn about the psychogeriatric, ECT, and isolation units and how they administer therapies, drugs, and injections. There is also a range of out-patient services that you will be able to visit as a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, such as day rehabilitation centres.

 

Generally speaking, the first line of treatment for mental health patients in services remains to be medication. It is a lot more available and accessible than other therapeutic medications such as creative therapies and meditations. As a consequence, in reality, these alternative treatments are often not widely received by those with mental health needs.

 

Rehabilitation Centre – Part of your placement will be based at Sithniwana Rehabilitation Centre. This serves as a treatment and support centre to integrate those with mental illness back into society. Each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka will be able to partake in and observe their daily schedule of activities or consultations, depending on the available timetable.

 

Located around 1 hour from Ambalangoda, this is a weekly placement that is one of the highlights of the mental health experience. The Rehabilitation Centre is very much a forward-thinking framework, which is all about rehabilitation for the patients and providing a wide range of occupational therapies. Moreover, the long term goal is for patients at the home to return back into mainstream society without relapsing. The setting is mostly home to adults and has a team of nurses and support staff to manage the daily schedule.

 

Each volunteer in Sri Lanka will get a chance to interact with those based at the centre, so you can ask them questions and learn about their experiences. In addition, you can provide hands-on support with occupational therapy, such as creative arts and learning, as well as structured daily exercise classes to encourage positive wellbeing. Participants are encouraged to be proactive and ask questions to learn from the experts about mental health in Sri Lanka, as well as the stigmas attached.

 

Lectures, Seminars & Workshops – You will also get the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops relating to mental health in Sri Lanka. This may include sessions with local consultants who share their experiences working within the Sri Lanka mental health system.

 

Firstly, you will learn about Ayurveda, which is an ancient medicine system rooted in the Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda consists of concepts and practices that promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique natural health practices. The seminar will explain a different dynamic and perspective onto how patients are treated with regard to mental health and the traditional Sri Lankan medical system. Volunteers will also get to experience oil treatment sessions which is used to help individuals with depression and anxiety.

 

Every mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka will also be welcome to a lecture from a Buddhist monk. Here you will explore how Buddhists and Sri Lankan people are dealing with mental health problems. In addition, you may learn how core values, practices, and beliefs are helping with this, such as meditation.

 

On an ad hoc basis, you may also be invited to attend additional mental health events and workshops. For example, visits to alcohol and drugs information centres and learning about the impact they can have on the wellbeing of Sri Lanka people. Additionally, visiting a suicide prevention centre as volunteers enjoy a 2 hour workshop about Sri Lanka’s suicide prevention procedure. It is usually quite rare that these opportunities become available, but if they do our local team is on hand to provide such opportunities for you.

 

We are able to support students who would like to join our mental health & psychology program as part of an elective or university placement. Please contact a member of our team to discuss this in detail.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Your main role as a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka is to learn and experience their mental health system, procedures and culture. Subsequently, you will be observing how this may differ to the experience you have at home. The project timetable will vary each day, including a range of activities and placement settings, combining hospital visits, consultation observations, lectures and meditations.

 

Placement Timetable – As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, your schedule and timings will vary each day. Usually, you will be at your placement for 2-5 hours per day from Monday-Friday, ranging between 8am-6pm. Depending on the placement, you may travel by tuk-tuk or private car. Journey times will range from 5 minutes to the local hospitals up to a couple of hours for the institutions in Colombo.

 

It is advised to note that the mental health & psychology program is always changing and this is just a sample schedule. Therefore, it is likely to run differently when you volunteer in Sri Lanka. The schedule usually includes one placement per day. Participants may be split into teams for an equal chance to experience and participate in a range of volunteer work in Sri Lanka. In particular, this is relevant when there are higher numbers.

 

The day by day breakdowns here are examples of typical morning and afternoon activities:

 

Monday – Government Base Hospital & Lectures
Tuesday – Rehabilitation Centre
Wednesday – Government Base Hospital & Oil Treatment session
Thursday – National Institute of Mental Health
Friday – Lectures, Seminars & Workshops

 

As Sri Lanka is a developing country their psychiatric facilities reflect this. Participants on the mental health & psychology program are advised to note that the project and schedule availability may be limited from time to time. This is due to unexpected factors outside of PMGY’s control. For instance, it is commonly associated with the hospital setting of the placement where doctors can strike at late notice. In addition, the consultants can be absent from the hospital when expected with no advanced notice.

 

In such situations, PMGY will do their best to arrange alternative project work for each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka. However, this will likely be outside of the hospital setting for that day and maybe at another form of community program we operate.

 
 

SRI LANKA TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects as a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. Raise awareness of plastic pollution, care for injured and disabled turtles and release freshly hatched babies back into the wild, safe from natural risks and local poachers.

 

Background to the Turtle Conservation Program

 

In Sri Lanka, there are five species of turtles that are commonly encountered. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most common turtle species and will likely be the one you come across the most if you volunteer in Sri Lanka. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka. They are more commonly found on the East Coast of America.

 

The Hawksbill (renowned for its beautiful shell), Olive Ridley (smallest of the sea turtles) and Leatherback (largest of the 5 species) are harder to spot for different reasons. Sadly they are critically endangered and sit on the brink of extinction. This is mainly because they have been heavily hunted and fell victim to other human activity as well.

 

For instance, fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda. The location of the volunteer work in Sri Lanka is very close to the local fisheries port. Sea turtles are often found in fishing nets and many have lost limbs, becoming disabled and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Many of these disabled turtles are found by local fishermen who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.

 

Most importantly, each environmental choice we make every day as a human has an impact on all marine life. Millions of microplastics, straws and bottles are found in the sea and beaches across the globe. Plastic pollution is becoming a huge problem worldwide and our Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteers aim to fight the battle against this environmental catastrophe.

 

Volunteering with turtles in Sri Lanka on our wildlife conservation program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to care for these incredible creatures, whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.

 

Turtle Conservation Placement Examples

 

Ambalangoda Turtle Conservation Sanctuary – Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will be based at a turtle sanctuary in Ambalangoda. Here, the Sri Lanka volunteer program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles. They have a long term goal to release the healthy turtles back to the wild, as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers.

 

Beginning from the orientation, volunteers will learn a great deal about turtle conservation. For instance, how to nest eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, the differences between the species, how to send turtles back into the sea and so much more. In short, this is a project where you will learn a lot and be able to make a tangible difference with your time.

 

Beach Cleans – As female turtles will only lay their eggs on beaches that are safe environments to them, it is crucial the area is maintained in order to encourage them to nest. Consequently, every Sri Lanka animal volunteer will get involved in cleaning the local beaches for litter and dangerous debris.

 

Climate change, waste and plastic pollution is increasing at an alarming rate across the world and we want to continue raising awareness and promote conservation through our wildlife volunteer program.

 

This is an important core task that volunteers will engage with in the Sri Lanka turtle conservation program. As part of the teams efforts to support coastal conservation, they aim to collect 200 kilograms of rubbish from the beaches each day. Subsequently, volunteers are the driving force in achieving such goals.

 

Turtle Hatchery & Baby Turtle Release – Volunteers will help to nest, monitor and care for turtle eggs that have been brought to the turtle hatchery. Usually, these are removed from an unsafe area where they may be at risk from human activity. This often includes outside tourist hotels but also if they can be stolen by local poachers.

 

Across Asia, there is an ancient myth that eating turtle eggs and meat will increase your life span. As a result, turtle eggs are sold illegally on the black market. The hatchery provides a safe environment for the turtles to be nested and monitored for conservation. They follow the National Wildlife Department guidelines and release the babies back into the wild with the help each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Every PMGY Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will spend their days next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. Additionally, undertaking many beach cleans in the local area to keep beaches safe and clean for the turtles and their nests. Your volunteer abroad program will run from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. However, beach clean days can be shorter sessions when working without shade in increased levels of heat and humidity. You will get to your project setting each morning by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes about 15 minutes. Your typical duties as a volunteer in Sri Lanka will include:

 

• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding on a daily basis
• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area
• Taking care of the nesting area
• Regular beach cleans and beach patrols
• Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks
• Assisting with medication
• Cleaning the turtles’ shells
• Counting and burying turtle eggs safely
• Designing education boards around the sanctuary
• Participating in marine conservation information sessions
• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea

 

Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will join with the local staff at the project to get to grips with the daily tasks and what is expected of them. This will include tasks as part of a team as well as individual roles. As a participant on our wildlife volunteering abroad project, you can do your bit to help tackle the global issue of plastic pollution by cleaning the beaches where many turtles lay eggs in the south. Although this may be one of the more mundane aspects of the program, its importance cannot be underestimated. The volunteer’s efforts are recognised positively by the Wildlife Department. It is not uncommon that after one beach clean we have collected up to 20 bags of litter!

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

 

For your volunteer trip to Sri Lanka, you should book your flights to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. Your start date is a Saturday and the airport code is CMB. Most volunteers travelling to Sri Lanka can arrive at any time on their designated volunteer Saturday program start date.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel. You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international volunteers with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your volunteer trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our volunteer destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future volunteers. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for volunteers to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY YouTube Channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

 

Teaching and childcare volunteers may wish to take their program preparation even further, through a 60 hour online TEFL course. This is the perfect introductory course for working with children and teaching English abroad. Participation in this course enables international volunteers to acquire key skills whilst working towards an internationally accredited certificate.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DURATION

Our Sri Lanka volunteer program is based on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, in Ambalangoda. This is approximately 2.5 hours away from Colombo Airport. Ambalangoda is a quaint ocean-side town. It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The town has all the amenities you could require as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. This includes banks, hospitals and shops. In addition, the beach is just a short tuk-tuk ride from the Volunteer House. There is also a central bus and train station and the people are unbelievably friendly in Ambalangoda!

 

Our programs in Ambalangoda run from 1-24 weeks, beginning on the first and third Saturday of each month. Our Sri Lanka Intro Experience and Sri Lanka Gap Year Experience programs run for 2 weeks and 4 weeks respectively, starting on specific start dates across the year.

PMGY SRI LANKA LOCAL TEAM

PMGY’s volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka program are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams.

 

All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community networks provide the structure for your stay with us as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, breakfast and dinner (weekdays), airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Whether you are teaching English or volunteering with children, our local team will support you. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique volunteering experience with us in Sri Lanka.

ORIENTATION

Your orientation for your volunteer program in Sri Lanka will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you about life in Sri Lanka, the “dos and don’ts”, local culture and religion. Your coordinator will introduce you to the transport system, safety advice and outline all the projects we support in the community. If you wish to take part in multiple projects during your time as a volunteer in Sri Lanka, this can be discussed during your orientation.

 

In the afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda. You will visit the longest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia, an original blue moonstone mine and perhaps some famous Buddhist temples. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM-card and visit the supermarket.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo on Saturday.

 

Day 1 (Saturday) Arrival

 

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to Ambalangoda will take around 2 hours, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation

 

Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you about life in Sri Lanka, the “dos and don’ts”, local culture and religion. Your coordinator will introduce you to the transport system, safety advice and outline all the projects we support in the community. If you wish to take part in multiple projects during your time as a volunteer in Sri Lanka, this can be discussed during your orientation.

 

In the afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda. You will visit the longest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia, an original blue moonstone mine and perhaps some famous Buddhist temples. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM-card and visit the supermarket.

 

Days 3-7 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

You will start your volunteer work in Sri Lanka on Monday morning.

 

Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Sri Lanka coordinators throughout the day at the Volunteer House and they are always happy to help.

 

Days 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of Sri Lanka. Whether you are staying local in Hikkaduwa and Galle, travelling to Ella or completing more adventurous activities hiking Adam’s Peak or taking an elephant safari – Sri Lanka has it all. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips. There are also set dates across the year in which our local team run structured trips on a Cultural Triangle and Adventure Safari weekend trip.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Weekends will be free to travel. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day (Saturday)

 

Saturday is your last day with PMGY as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee volunteer experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support available to them:

 

• Volunteer in Sri Lanka Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences. With the help of volunteer feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and volunteer opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international volunteers for their time in Sri Lanka. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

WEATHER

It is always hot and humid in Sri Lanka, with the time of year determining whether it is wet or dry! The dry season is December-May and the rainy season is usually June-November. The rain usually comes in short sharp bursts. All-day rain is also rare, so don’t let the monsoon season put you off coming to Sri Lanka! In fact, the rainy season is quite refreshing as it brings some respite from the heat. January to April is definitely the hottest time of year, with temperatures soaring over 35-degrees Celsius at times. The most moderate weather can be found between October and December when it is relatively cool, dry and not too humid.

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Sri Lanka volunteer program, you will live in our Volunteer House just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk journey into the main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

 

The accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean, fitting up to 10 people per room in single-sex bedrooms with bunk beds. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as a personal locker to store your valuables. However, volunteers are still encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

 

The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem if you volunteer in Sri Lanka, as the climate is hot and humid all year round!

 

The house has free Wi-Fi available and a communal area for international volunteers to relax, hang out with new friends or prepare lesson plans if you are teaching English. There is also a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled. A member of our local team will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security.

 

We will transport you via tuk-tuk or private car to and from your volunteer placement, which is usually between 5-30 minutes away from the house. This service is included in your Program Fee.

 

During our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in one of our secondary Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

You will be served three meals per day at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

 

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa.

 

A weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Your transport to and from the project each day is included in your Program Fee. This is usually by tuk-tuk but sometimes by private car. Journeys can usually take anywhere from 5–45 minutes each way. However, this will ultimately depend on which project you join as a volunteer in Sri Lanka.

PHOTO GALLERY

VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 17 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Sinhalese. However, you will find that learning a few words will go a long way!

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! Medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join our volunteer projects overseas.