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🇱🇰 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 RescueElephantEnglish TeachingMedicalMental Health & Turtle Conservation opportunities.

PMGY Sri Lanka is located in located in Ambalangoda and Wasgamuwa. 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 16+ YEAR OLDS

✓ PRE-DEPARTURE BUDDY LISTS


✓ 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 vulnerable children in much need of volunteer's care and support.

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 bright future!

FROM 300 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERS

If you love elephants you will love this! Elephants in their natural habitat combined with meaningful research represent a perfect match!

FROM 705 USD

1-12 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

Teach novice Buddhist monks or children displaced by the Tsunami. English is a valuable skill that will greatly enhance their future career prospects.

FROM 270 USD

1-24 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA FAMILY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

Do something different and amazing with your family and give back to a local Sri Lankan community whilst immersing yourselves in the culture and lifestyle.

FROM 675 USD

10 DAYS

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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

1-12 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 300 USD

1-12 WEEKS

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SRI LANKA RENOVATION & COMMUNITY WORK VOLUNTEERS

Get stuck into community life in Sri Lanka. Get your hands dirty helping with renovation and community work across local temples, schools and hospitals.

FROM 270 USD

1-24 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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SRI LANKA VOLUNTEER & ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE – UNDER 18s

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

From 750 USD

2 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 1,050 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 735 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 1,485 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 1,485 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 5,775 USD

20-40 WEEKS

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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

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN AMBALANGODA

 

 

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 a vital safety net 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 today, care homes are the fate of many children for a multitude of reasons. According to UNICEF, out of over 21,000 children in children’s home’s in Sri Lanka, one or both parents of over 19,000 of them are still alive. Poverty is a root cause with families feeling they cannot afford to adequately provide for the child, to give them the education and start in life they need and deserve.

 

These children may have been abandoned by their parents, abused, lost both parents or not have a family who is able to support them. In addition, there are also a lot of children in care due to the high number of people who seek employment outside of Sri Lanka, especially in the Middle East. As there are not enough jobs available or a sustainable income in Sri Lanka, many parents are forced to find work abroad. In these cases, their child may be temporarily living in care.

 

If you volunteer with children in Sri Lanka, you’ll find it is a highly rewarding experience and one that people from all backgrounds can get involved in. You can support these children’s homes 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 deeply appreciated by the families affected.

 

Childcare Project Examples

 

Sun Rise Preschool & Day Care Centre – Each childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka has the opportunity to join this morning project. 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. PMGY provides a fully-funded safe environment for children aged 1-4 years old. Subsequently, this allows parents to work and earn an income, generally in local cinnamon or garment factories, in order to provide for their families.

 

Sri Lanka United Nation’s Friendship Organisation – In the afternoons, the volunteers will support the girls’ children’s home, which was established by the UN in 1999. There are around 30 girls at the home, between 4-17 years of age. The children at this facility are full-time residents of the home due to difficult family situations, which may range from neglect to poverty. Please note that generally only female volunteers are permitted to work at the girl’s home.

 

Government Child Development Centre – As a childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may also support the government-funded Child Development Centre, which cares for around 80 boys and girls between 6-18 years of age. While some of the children may have lost both of their parents, others are rescued from broken homes and abusive families. For instance, their parents may have been involved in criminal activities, or many are given up by their families as they simply cannot afford to look after them. For any male volunteers wishing to join our childcare program then this may be where you are located.

 

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 run from 9am-11.30am. The afternoon sessions are typically from 3pm-6pm. The placement locations take around 30 minutes to reach by tuk-tuk or private minibus.

 

The first hour or two of your afternoon on the childcare volunteer abroad program is allocated for teaching the children English and enhancing educational development. We encourage volunteers 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 garden to create a counting activity.

 

The remaining time on your Sri Lanka volunteer program will be spent inventing outdoor games, designing creative activities and playing sports. The children’s homes have a lot of outdoor space so utilise it! This time can be used to practice conversational English and commands in a more informal manner, as well as boosting confidence and encouraging the children to engage in a positive way. Our local team are on hand to support you with any ideas or activities you wish to perform whilst you volunteer in Sri Lanka.

 

At the preschool, the childcare volunteers will be supporting the preschool with basic education. 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. If you volunteer with children in Sri Lanka, you’ll need to prepare activities for this accordingly.

 

Each childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka will be the driving force behind some light housekeeping such as meal preparation and sanitary assistance to the young children at the preschool. In addition, your volunteer work in Sri Lanka will involve helping out at mealtimes, as well as organising free-time activities and games for the preschool children.

 

A rotation between the projects can be organised when you volunteer in Sri Lanka. For instance, if volunteers would like the opportunity to partake in both morning and afternoon programs then the local team can help to arrange this.

 
 

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.

 

Dog Rescue Placement Example

 

Bring Them Home Dog Shelter – This wildlife volunteering abroad 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 dog rescue volunteer can observe or assist the Vet with their weekly general check-ups, vaccinations, medical treatment or minor surgeries.

 

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.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical WorkDay

 

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. You’ll be transported to the Sri Lanka volunteer program by tuk-tuk. When you volunteer in Sri Lanka, typical duties on this animal care volunteer program include:

 

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

 

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.

 

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 program 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.

 

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 Tsunami village communities, on our own after-school education program. In addition, you have the amazing opportunity to 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, often with fishing communities who were displaced by the Tsunami.

 

These families were relocated further inland by the government following the natural disaster in 2004. At this time, education was not seen as essential and survival was the main priority. Each volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka can help to provide free language lessons and education opportunities for children typically from lower-income families.

 

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. One of the projects is even based at a teachers house, where the volunteers will teach in her front garden.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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-6pm each afternoon from Monday-Friday. Usually, you’ll get there by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes around 10 minutes.

 

The first two hours are 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.

 

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 teaching English 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. 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 as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka 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 abroad 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 program will depend on your current study status. Those who are studying a health-related degree at university will be placed at a government hospital. High school leavers and applicants not from a health-related background will be placed at a private hospital.

 

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. You will need to bring a supporting letter or document when you volunteer in Sri Lanka as evidence that you are a medical/healthcare university student. After that, you will be granted permission to be placed at the government hospital during your time on the Sri Lanka volunteer program.

 

Polwatta 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 service users come weekly to get 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.

 

Balapitiya Community Eye Clinic – We are delighted to share that through our medical program and renovation volunteers, our Sri Lanka team have funded the creation and development of a community eye clinic within the local government hospital. Previously, people in the community would have to travel long journeys outside of Ambalangoda to receive free eye treatment and eye tests. Now through developing this eye clinic, the hospital can provide free, easily accessible eye care services to the local community.

 

Whilst no project work is directly affiliated with the eye clinic, as a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can get a chance to observe the daily processes here. Subsequently, you can get a feel for the positive impact its creation has brought Ambalangoda.

 

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.

 

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 in the Tsunami villages.

 

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. If this is something you’d like to do then please drop us an email to discuss the idea in more detail pre-departure.

 

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.

 

Your role as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka at the government hospital is largely observational. Whilst this cannot be guaranteed, you may be assigned some very basic hands-on involvement such as taking blood pressure and blood sugars etc. This is all undertaken under the supervision of the medical professionals, and such permission is at the sole discretion of the staff.

 

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.

 
 

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, providing 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 this traditional cultural stigma. This had always been attached to mental health in Sri Lanka, particularly stemming 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 volunteer 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 mainly in the Galle District. This was one of the worst affected regions from the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and to this day today has left a lasting impact both physically and mentally on Sri Lankan people.

 

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:

 

Balapitiya Government Base Hospital – As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will spend time shadowing and observing mental health doctors in a hospital setting. This will be during consultation periods with in-ward and out-ward patients at government hospital clinics. You may encounter various forms of mental health disorders and conditions.

 

Each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka will usually spend time across two hospitals where the mental health consultant sets up their out-patient clinics. This is usually the local Balapatiya Government Hospital near Ambalangoda, plus another Galle District Hospital.

 

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 – In addition, participants will 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 around 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 alternatives treatments are often not widely received by those with mental health needs.

 

National Council for Mental Health – Part of your placement will be at the National Council for Mental Health. This serves as a “half-way home” treatment centre to integrate those with mental illness back into society. Each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka will be able to partake and observe their daily schedule of activities or consultations, depending on the available timetable.

 

Located close to Colombo, this is a weekly placement that is one of the highlights of the mental health experience. The NCMH 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 us 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 to support the day to day running and support at the halfway home.

 

Each volunteer in Sri Lanka will get a chance to interact with those based at the home, 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 will also get the chance to have one on one time with the director at the NCMH. You can ask questions and learn more from the experts around mental health in Sri Lanka, as well as the stigmas attached.

 

Community Setting – Participants will spend time at the heart of community projects, providing care and attention for mentally disabled children in a government school or NGO.

 

Each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka will be expected to be dynamic and creative when preparing engaging activities and games. For instance, arts, crafts, drawing and painting. These can be used as a fun mechanism to help support creative therapy amongst children who have mental health disabilities. The children may range from small groups of around 5-10 to groups of up to around 30-40 children.

 

Participants are advised to note that around the holiday times of April, August and December availability at the community placement setting may be limited or unavailable.

 

Lectures, Seminars & Workshops – You will also get the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops relating to mental health in Sri Lanka.

 

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.

 

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. It is usually quite rare that these opportunities become available, but if they do our local team are 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 consultation observations, lectures, meditations and local community project work.

 

At the start of your mental health experience, every volunteer in Sri Lanka will receive a workbook. This can be completed each day as you go through your psychology project journey. There will be questions to test your knowledge on each different section of the mental health experience, encouraging proactive learning and engagement across your placement.

 

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 schools and hospitals to possibly an hour 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 – Galle District Hospital & Lectures & Seminars
Tuesday – Community Setting & Galle District Hospital
Wednesday – National Council for Mental Health & Community Setting
Thursday – National Institute of Mental Health & Galle District Hospital
Friday – Community Setting & Galle District Hospital

 

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 RENOVATION VOLUNTEERS

You can join our Sri Lanka renovation volunteers to make a positive impact in the local community of Ambalangoda. This is a great opportunity to help out whilst immersing yourself in the local culture. From Buddhist temples, government hospitals and primary schools, you can assist the local community with renovation in a number of different settings.

 

Background to the Renovation Program

 

Our Sri Lanka renovation volunteers can be based at a wide range of community facilities in and around Ambalangoda. You could be helping out at schools, government hospitals, children’s homes or Buddhist temples. These institutions often struggle to find the funding and manpower to undertake important development work.

 

Even for government schools and hospitals, most of the allocated budget it stretched for the basic necessities. Resources such as books, medication and health supplies are often understocked, as well as being understaffed. As a result, renovation work is a very low priority and often overlooked in these establishments.

 

Meanwhile, Buddhism is the most practised religion in Sri Lanka, with over 70% of the population following this ancient philosophy. With a deep history preserved by Sinhalese kings, this religion retains its importance to the country, promoting Buddhist education and learning to this day. In each town and village, there is a Buddhist temple for followers to worship Lord Buddha and learn about his teachings. These temples require a lot of maintenance and upkeep from the local community.

 

Therefore, our Sri Lanka renovation volunteers offer a helping hand whilst also learning about their fascinating culture. With your help, we can continue to support Ambalangoda’s community volunteer abroad program and you can do your bit to leave a lasting impression!

 

Volunteers don’t need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help. Your Sri Lanka volunteer program will mainly be during the morning, so you will have the opportunity to teach English and support in our afternoon childcare program if you wish.

 

Volunteer Placement Examples

 

Balapitiya Primary School – At one of the village schools within Ambalangoda, the Sri Lanka renovation volunteers have created a new playground area for the children. This included renovating an entire area of abandoned land. After clearing the debris and weeds, they assisted with digging the base and creating the infrastructure for the new playground. This included replacing the broken, rusty equipment for new swings, slides and climbing frame.

 

The volunteers made the playground fun, safe and exciting, with colourful paintings and enough space for all the children to play. Next to the playground, a vegetable patch was planted to teach the students about the different plants and how to take care of them. This brought an educational and sustainable aspect to the new area. The children and staff have loved their new addition to the school, bringing a brighter and safer playtime to their day!

 

The Sri Lanka renovation volunteers have also helped re-plastering and re-painting the old, crumbling classrooms in the school. As a result, the students have a better environment to work and study. The volunteers have relieved this task from the staff and teachers, who can now focus their time and limited budget on teaching and essential resources for the school.

 

Balapitiya Hospital Eye Clinic – Through our medical program and Sri Lanka renovation volunteers, the team have funded a new community eye clinic within the local government hospital.

 

Previously, people in the community would have to travel long journeys outside of Ambalangoda to receive free eye treatment and eye tests. Through building this eye clinic, the hospital can now provide free, easily accessible eye care services to the local community.

 

Buddhist Temples – Our Sri Lanka renovation volunteers regularly support three Buddhist temples in the local area with much-needed renovation and maintenance work. You may be helping to construct offering tables, where worshippers will offer flowers, incense or oil lamps to Lord Buddha. This acts as a symbol of their gratitude, virtue and inspiration, deepening one’s commitment to the philosophy of Buddhism.

 

It is of the deepest importance to Buddhists to keep the temple areas clean and respected, with constant upkeep and maintenance. When you volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will notice that you must remove your shoes when you enter the temple area, even outside. In addition, Buddhists will also always ensure that they are freshly bathed to enter the temples, often wearing white. These are signs of respect and tradition for their beliefs and the monks who reside there.

 

Sri Lanka renovation volunteers have helped to redecorate an entire temple within a small local village, in preparation for a special full moon celebration. The local community were extremely grateful for their contribution, which they also believe brings merit to your “karma”.

 

During their volunteer work in Sri Lanka, the renovation volunteers were able to see everyday life in the temple. In particular, the intriguing life of a Buddhist monk. The monks will often share their stories and philosophies with you, as well as introducing you to the exotic fruits they grow in the temple gardens!

 

Sun Rise Preschool & Day Care Centre – Our renovation volunteers have also helped to create the preschool at our childcare project. This day centre now provides a fun and educational space for the younger children who don’t have access to school to learn at the children’s home.

 

The volunteers have provided much-needed help to the local community and working parents, who otherwise would not be able to afford quality care for their young children. Subsequently, this allows parents to work and earn an income, generally in local cinnamon or garment factories, in order to provide for their families.

 

Our PMGY Sri Lanka renovation volunteers supported local builders with the main construction, as well as digging pits for the plumbing. After that, they painted all the classroom walls with inspiring artwork, bright colours and educational alphabets to aid their learning. This preschool is now in full swing, with thanks to the help of our renovation and childcare volunteers.

 

Polwatta Village Hospital – At this local village hospital, the Sri Lanka renovation volunteers have helped to spruce up the aged hospital wards. As you can imagine, funding is low and will be directed towards medicines and equipment for the hospital, which has very basic facilities and limited resources.

 

Each renovation volunteer in Sri Lanka helped to scrub, clean and brighten the wards, creating a more pleasant environment for the patients and staff. As a result, the newly painted walls and clean areas boosted the hospital atmosphere. The in-patient wards are very basic and cramped. Therefore people from all over the hospital were intrigued and thankful for the international volunteers who gave their time to improve the living and working conditions in this village hospital.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Our PMGY Sri Lanka renovation volunteers are usually placed at local establishments that have expressed a great need for volunteers and request help in renovation or restoration work. Your project runs from Monday-Friday, usually starting from 9am-12pm. Your placement will probably be a 5-10 minute tuk-tuk journey away, depending on the current project and location.

 

Each renovation volunteer in Sri Lanka will spend their mornings helping out with the required tasks for your designated project. For example, you may be busy mixing paint, digging holes, assisting builders, scrubbing walls, moving blocks, decorating a room, whatever is required for your local community. In the afternoons, you’ll have the chance to help out at one of our community volunteer projects teaching English in Sri Lanka.

 

A coordinator will be at hand to help you with your tasks. Make the most of your placement location too. For instance, learn about the Buddhist culture from the monks living at the temple, teach the children English songs during your breaks at the school, or learn more about the Sri Lankan healthcare system at the hospital.

 

All Sri Lanka renovation volunteers are welcome to join us as an individual or a larger group. If you sign up as an individual then we are only able to organise renovation work for you. This usually involves stripping walls, plastering, painting and light building activities. However, bigger construction and renovation projects can be arranged for group applications of 6 or more people.

 

In short, the size of the project is really dependent on the duration that volunteers stay as well as the number of volunteers on the renovation and community project at the time. The need in the community is our main focus. This is a great project for those looking to get a bit more hands-on. By the end of your time with us, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve contributed towards. Your placement is likely to be outside, make sure to bring plenty of suncream, a water bottle, and old clothes too!

 

Working outside with your fellow volunteers in the gorgeous sunshine whilst making a tangible impact on the local community – sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

 
 

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 disable 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 upon 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 volunteering abroad 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 turtle conservation 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.

 

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.

 

Community Conservation Awareness – You can lead sea turtle conservation sessions at the community village school projects, as part of the English teaching program. Increase awareness in the next generation by educating them about the issues and solutions surrounding turtle conservation and plastic pollution.

 

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. Your project will run from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. You will get your project usually by tuk-tuk, which takes about 10 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
• 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
• Painting and drawing for information and animal welfare education
• 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. In addition, our local team regularly arrange a day for the volunteers to engage in a mass beach clean across the Ambalangoda area.

 

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!

 

As a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer, may also wish to get involved with community awareness education. The purpose of these sessions is to educate young Sri Lankans in the local communities about the importance of protecting these endangered species.

 

From factual presentations on sea turtles to information on what the community can do to aid conservation, we aim to introduce the concept of conservation on a community level and so bring about long term change. Please note these sessions run on an ad hoc basis. If it is something you are interested in then please speak with our local team, who can help to make the appropriate arrangements.

 
 

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN WASGAMUWA

 

 

SRI LANKA ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERS

Join us as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to play a key role in education, research and conservation of Asian elephants. Based in the central province, the Wasgamuwa region and National Park is famous for hosting a large number of wild elephant herds. Volunteers will engage in a wide range of research and conservation to see how these elephants live and move in their natural habitat. Help provide solutions and education to the conflicts that exist between the elephant population and multiple villages located within the area.

 

Background to the Elephant Program

 

Over the past 50 years, the elephant population in Sri Lanka has reduced substantially. Firstly, not only are there persisting issues of keeping captive elephants, elephant riding and labour, but nearly 5,000 elephant deaths in this period are believed to be a direct result of the conflict that exists between humans and elephants. In the present day, human-elephant conflict is said to be responsible for around 250 elephant deaths and 80 human deaths annually in Sri Lanka.

 

So what is human-elephant conflict? The simplest explanation would be the elephant and human populations not getting along. One of the main reasons is the competition for land. On one side of the coin, it is humans encroaching onto the territory of elephants and habitats shrinking daily. On the other hand, rising populations and urbanisation challenges see elephants having nowhere else to go and end up in fields searching for food. This is much to the dismay of many poor farmers who haven’t changed their daily lives and routines for generations. However, they see their crops, villages and ultimately livelihoods being destroyed.

 

To expand on this, the destruction of forests through logging, encroachment and shifting cultivation are some examples of major threats to the survival of elephants. Conflicts occur when elephants raid crops of subsistence farmers, which are scattered over a large area fragmenting elephant habitat. Devastation and destruction in human settlements is another major area of human-elephant conflict occurring in small forest pockets, encroachments into elephant habitat, and on elephant migration routes. Subsequently, thousands of homes are destroyed by elephants and millions of dollars worth of crop damage arise, wrecking livelihoods and incomes of rural farming communities.

 

Elephant Volunteer Placement

 

Wasgamuwa is the core base of your work as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, representing an area where human-elephant conflict is the highest prevalent issue and concern. Wasgamuwa National Park is adjacent to the villages and forest reserves where most of the volunteer work is conducted. Moreover, this is the only national park in the whole of the central province where you will encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitats. Established originally by a team of biologists in 1995, the wildlife volunteer program aimed to distinguish root causes to the conflict, as well as work with the local people to educate and establish mitigation systems. It was vital that these measures protect the villagers’ livelihoods, as well as help minimize elephant casualties. Meanwhile, allowing wild elephants to live in their natural habitat.

 

As an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will be working directly with 12 of the villages based in the Wasgamuwa area where human-elephant conflict is an ongoing issue. Your role on this wildlife volunteering abroad program will be aiding the research and conservation techniques to halt the decline of this wonderful endangered species. This includes monitoring elephant behaviour and movements. Meanwhile, your role is in tandem with helping the communities and villages learn to live side by side with these amazing creatures.

 

Working alongside local biologists, research assistants and conservationists to help conduct research, you will get involved in a number of activities as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka. You’ll be focusing in the fields of conservation and research on this wildlife volunteer program, all with the ultimate aim of reducing human-elephant conflict and promoting sustainable land-use practices.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Based in the wild Wasgamuwa region, each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will be working in one of the most spectacular and tranquil places across the globe. Your day will be split into morning and afternoon activities, often working in subgroups depending on how many people volunteer in Sri Lanka. Usually, you’ll be up early to start after breakfast around 8:30am, breaking for lunch and finishing around 6pm from Monday-Friday. You will get around the project by jeep from the accommodation into the heart of the reserve and jungle. Journey times will usually be up to 45 minutes. The schedule is designed around the activity patterns of elephants.

 

Consequently, this ensures conservation techniques and research can be maximised and your role is varied and meaningful. The timings of each activity are set in a routine to minimise the impacts on the daily cycle of an elephant. There are two main goals of the project; reducing the human-elephant conflict to protect elephants and help the local community as well as protecting elephants through applied conservation methods. Here are a variety of tasks that you will get involved with to achieve these goals:

 

Reducing Human-Elephant Conflict – Throughout your time as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will work closely with the local villages to help them live compatibly with elephants. The main goal is to naturally decrease the conflict and repercussions that follow between humans and elephants. Your role in this includes:

 

Observing Interactions – Most importantly, between wild elephants and also human-elephant interactions.

 

Conducting Human-Elephant Conflict Surveys – An elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will visit village homes that had been raided by elephants to collect information about the conflict.

 

Monitoring Electric Fences – These fences were erected to stop elephants from raiding village homes. Walking the length of solar-powered electric fences erected to protect villages and their fields, identifying the need for maintenance and repair along the way.

 

Meeting with Community Leaders – Monitoring human-elephant conflict resolution projects and to understand the cultural perceptions and attitudes of local people.

 

Riding the Elefriendly Community Bus – You can travel on the bus early in the morning when school children are transported to school and home through the elephant corridor. The bus was established in 2016 and educates the children on living alongside the elephants. The maintenance of the bus and its operation is fully funded directly through the elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka project. Before the bus, many children would not go to school or turn back home should they encounter an elephant while walking to school.

 

Promoting Project Orange Campaigns – Research by the team has found elephants dislike citrus. As an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, your role is working alongside the team to educate and promote citrus-based crops as natural deterrents and to provide farmers with an alternative income in the village communities of Wasgamuwa. Consequently, this will protect and conserve their crops, property and livelihoods. At the same time, it provides them with a sustainable additional income. Help farmers to take care of their orange groves, check for diseases and pests, dig holes to plant new orange plants. During the fruiting season, help count fruits, harvest and sort them for sale. The Sri Lanka elephant volunteer program will provide transport costs for the farmers to take them to the markets for sale with the long-term aim to get into supply with Sri Lanka’s largest supermarket supply chain.

 

Protecting Elephants Through Conservation Techniques – An elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will monitor elephants closely in order to help develop strategies to conserve and protect the local wildlife. Here you will use an array of field methods, conduct observations and help to implement conservation measures:

 

Monitoring Tracks – Setting up sand traps across the jungle and elephant corridors to study tracks, building research, analysing findings and understanding the diversity that exists in the forest. This will require physical energy as you will dig up and rake fresh new 2 x 2-metre sand traps each week to check for new footprints. Expect to find more wildlife prints than just elephants as you look for signs of leopard, sloth bears, wild buffalos and of course elephant activity.

 

Setting up Camera Traps – As an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may be responsible for setting these up in hotspot locations across the forest. You’ll be replacing these each week with new SD cards. After a busy morning in the depths of the Sri Lankan forest, it’s time to return to the office to download data from the SD cards you collected and check the computer for what the camera traps have picked up in the last week. Be ready to make conclusions on the findings as you learn what different wildlife exists in the forests, what times of day elephants and other wildlife pass through the corridor and more.

 

Gaining GPS Experience – You’ll be polishing off your navigation skills on the Sri Lanka elephant volunteer program. For instance, in the use of GPS across your time in the forest.

 

Observing Movements – During the afternoons you might be located high up in the jungle treetop in tree huts. These are along the elephant corridor, which is the traditional popular route elephants use to move between the forest reserve and national park. Here you will observe passing elephants, collate data on their movements, behaviours and other variables.

 

Gathering Data – For example, on elephant foraging transects, plants elephants eat and their impact on various habitats and plant species.

 

Inspecting Elephant Dung – Taking measurements to assess the size and sex of elephants. After that, analysing the dung to find out what the elephants have been eating, any foreign objects inside and their movement patterns. An elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka can also learn about the elephant’s sex and age through the size of the dung!

 

Trekking Through Dense Jungles and Wetlands – As you walk along typical elephant trails to record findings, you’ll assess any seasonal variations in behaviours, habitat preferences and better understand elephants that live outside the national park.

 

Updating Records – You will get to spend a session at the Weheragala Tank looking for Sri Lankan elephants to observe and photograph for ID purposes. You will also have to fill in an elephant identification datasheet to build up a catalogue of elephant numbers, movement behaviours and any individually defining physical features.

 

Whatever the activity, being an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will incorporate you being based in the heart of their natural habitat as you trek through the jungles, wetlands and mountains of Wasgamuwa along the way. In your free time enjoy the incredible views offered by the volunteer accommodation, overlooking a large central reservoir surrounded by the Knuckles Mountain Range.

 

Each volunteer will receive an orientation session before heading into the field to better understand their role, impact and history of the Sri Lanka volunteer program. If you truly want to make a difference to wildlife conservation efforts by working closely with local communities, then volunteering in Sri Lanka with elephants is the project for you.

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 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. This means that we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. If you would therefore 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. However, individuals on the Elephant Conservation Program must arrive anytime from 9:30am onwards.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. It is therefore mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. Although most of our volunteers experience a smooth ride during their time overseas, occasionally things may go wrong. Having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh 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 (excluding the US and Canada).

 

If you’d like to purchase PMGY travel insurance, you can add this option on during your online application. You can also add this to any upcoming trips with us by getting in contact via telephone or email.

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 Vimeo 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

Ambalangoda

 

Our Sri Lanka volunteer program (excluding the elephant project) 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.

 

Wasgamuwa

 

The volunteer accommodation of the Sri Lanka elephant project is located on a scenic hill, overlooking the Knuckles Mountain Range in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The house is just 15 minutes from Wasgamuwa National Park, and around 5 hours away from Colombo. The Volunteer House is based in a very remote and rural area. This gives each volunteer in Sri Lanka the chance to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the Sri Lankan countryside.

 

Wasgamuwa is one of Sri Lanka’s many magnificent National Parks, famous for its large number of elephant herds. The park is home to over 20-species of mammals. It is also identified as one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The closest town to this Sri Lanka volunteer program is Hettipola, approximately a 30 minute drive from the Volunteer House. The town is not accessible from the Volunteer House by foot. The town has the basic amenities you could require, such as a bank, hospital, shops and a bus station. Its public transport links are ideal for getting you to the prime locations in Sri Lanka across your free time.

 

Our programs in Wasgamuwa run from 1-12 weeks beginning on the first and third Saturday of each month.

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

Ambalangoda

 

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.

 

Wasgamuwa

 

Your orientation will begin with the theoretical component on Monday. The local team will discuss the history and developments of the project, giving the chance for each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to learn and ask questions before heading into the field. This will include details on the aim of the program, such as working to resolve human-elephant conflict in the local community.

 

Our local team will outline what work you can expect to do as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. This will include information about health and safety and life in Sri Lanka. The orientation day provides a great opportunity to meet the local team and ask any questions you may have. Later in the week, the local team will take you into town to collect anything you may require.

ITINERARY

AMBALANGODA

 

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.

 

WASGAMUWA

 

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo on Saturday, after 9:30am.

 

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.

 

We will transfer each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to a guesthouse in Negombo – a town 10 miles from the airport to relax and recover from the jet lag! Saturday is simply a day in transit as we await any more arrivals who may join. After that, there is an early morning departure on Sunday from which the experience properly commences!

 

Day 2 (Sunday) Travel to Wasgamuwa and Orientation

 

Your orientation will begin with the theoretical component on Monday. However, first, it’s time for an early morning wake up call as we hit the road for Wasgamuwa, where our elephant conservation project is based. Expect to leave briskly after an early morning breakfast as we make the 5 hour drive to arrive at the project location in time for lunch.

 

The rest of the day is your time to settle in and acclimatise to the accommodation and surroundings which includes taking in the magnificent views you will now be calling home for the remainder of your time in the project.

 

In the afternoon/evening time, expect to receive your orientation to the program. This will be held in the office which is located adjacent to the accommodation and is the headquarters for where much of the research and data entry takes place.

 

Your orientation will begin with the theoretical component. The local team will discuss the history and developments of the project, giving the chance for each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to learn and ask questions before heading into the field. This will include details on the aim of the program, such as working to resolve human-elephant conflict in the local community.

 

Our local team will outline what work you can expect to do as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. This will include information about health and safety and life in Sri Lanka. The orientation day provides a great opportunity to meet the local team and ask any questions you may have. Later in the week, the local team will take you into town to collect anything you may require.

 

Days 3-7 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

You will start your elephant volunteer work on Monday morning. The volunteer schedule is usually laid out for the week in morning and afternoon activities. Tasks will be varied and conservation-focused. Therefore, your efforts will go a long way to achieving the ultimate project goals of saving elephants by helping people!

 

Days 6-7 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of Sri Lanka. Whether you travel to the cultural capital of Kandy or head further afield to the beach in Trincolmee – 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.

 

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.

 

Depending on your onward flight departure time and how you choose to get back to the airport, you may consider departing the program on Friday to ensure you are back to the airport in good time for your onward flight.

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

AMBALANGODA - ACCOMMODATION

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 a voucher-based Wi-Fi system 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. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our alternative 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:

 

WASGAMUWA - ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

When you volunteer in Sri Lanka with elephants, you’ll be staying in the central region of Sri Lanka. The Volunteer House, also known as the Pussellayaya Field House, is located on a scenic hill overlooking a lake and the Knuckles Mountain Range. The accommodation is just 15 minutes from the Wasgamuwa National Park and the local town is named Hettipola.

 

The project accommodation is very basic, but comfortable and clean, fitting up to 8 people per room. On your Sri Lanka volunteer program, you will be sure to meet volunteers from around the world, to mix with other cultures and countries in this fantastic setting, as well as having the security knowing that the local team also lives on-site.

 

The Volunteer House has same-sexed bedrooms, sectioned off for privacy situated around two communal social areas. There are shared bathrooms that have western style toilets and cold showers, which will prove refreshing after a hot, humid and energy-sapping day on the project!

 

All of the essentials are provided for you, such as mosquito nets, electric fans, pillows, plug sockets and clean bedsheets. A fridge is provided for volunteers should you want to store any cool items. The Volunteer House has a dining room and lounge area where volunteers gather and socialise during meals and evenings.

 

The accommodation is open and spacious with a high roof, which catches breezes off the lake to keep the house relatively cool during hot days and nights and ensures the house remains dry during the rainy season. You are awoken every morning by the gorgeous sunrise and the vibrant songs of the local birds around. If you wake up early enough, you will be lucky enough to catch the amazing sunrises from the open entrance of the accommodation!

 

There is a communal area where everyone comes together in free time. The accommodation is very simplistic with no entertainment or media such as television, giving a perfect opportunity to interact with fellow volunteers. The walls of the field house are covered in decorative paintings, murals and graffiti done by past volunteers and you are encouraged to pick up a paintbrush and contribute to brightening up the house surroundings! There are many board games and local games to get involved with to keep you occupied or simply choose to read a book on the veranda as the sunsets down in the evening!

 

You will be transported to the national park for your project, where your schedule of tasks may vary each day for your volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

MEALS

You will be served three freshly prepared meals per day at the Volunteer House. You will have some free time after lunch for your stomach to settle before the afternoon session! 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 and the meals tend to be mainly vegetarian anyway.

 

There are tea and coffee facilities provided for volunteers to refresh themselves whenever required as well as water filters, so remember to top up before you head into the jungle!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Ambalangoda

 

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.

 

Wasgamuwa

 

Your local transport to and from the project each day is included in your Program Fee. The local team will collect you every day from the Volunteer House. You will then be transferred via a private jeep for the day’s activities. The jeep will return to the accommodation at the end of the day.

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.

 

Your 1 USD deposit must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place. Your remaining fee will be due in full at least 60 days before the program start date.

 

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