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Volunteer in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka, a small island nation off the coast of Southern India, is a beautiful, greatly under-visited nation -- often described as "India light". With ancient temples, rainforests, and beaches, there is never a shortage of things to explore in Sri Lanka, while delicious tropical curries and warm and inviting locals will make you feel right at home.

Nonetheless, Sri Lanka is still a developing nation and only recently ended its civil war. Volunteers are needed throughout Sri Lanka to work in wildlife conservation, orphanages, and education.

Elephant Volunteering

One of the biggest highlights of Sri Lanka is its wildlife, especially its population of wild elephants.

Unfortunately, elephant deaths from farmers killing elephants to protect their homes and farms (the Human Elephant Conflict) -- and likewise, human deaths from elephants entering populated areas that were once solely theirs to explore in search of food -- is an issue. In the past, volunteers were able to make an impact by volunteering at elephant orphanages taking care of young elephants orphaned by these deaths. This is no longer a viable or responsible option for volunteers, as the popularity in elephant orphanages has turned the most famous of them into a tourist trap where elephants are unnecessarily kept in captivity.

Instead, volunteers can help with alleviating the Human Elephant Conflict by volunteering with organizations that work with wild elephants and the communities that surround them. Educate locals, help find solutions for keeping elephants out of populated areas, and assist with field research.

Sea Turtle Conservation

Like many island destinations, Sri Lanka is home to a significant population of sea turtles. Help organizations that are working towards conserving these sea turtles.

Orphanage Work

Due to poverty and the recently ended civil war, Sri Lanka has a number of orphans, and thus many orphanages to care for them. As a volunteer in a Sri Lankan orphanage, you will help in administrative work, taking care of the children, and planning and conducting activities for the children.

Volunteering Tips

Sri Lanka has seen civil war from 1985 to 2008, so ethnic situations are somewhat tense in the nation. Know that the three ethnic groups (Sinhalese, Moors and Tamil) are very different from each other and will take offense if you mix them up.

For more advice, read this list of tips on volunteering in South Asia and India.

Best Places To Volunteer

Although Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka, most volunteers with pass through only as a landing base. Volunteer programs exist throughout the country -- especially in or near national parks if you're working with wildlife.

Another excellent destination for volunteers is Kandy, a pleasant mid-sized city in the tea growing region of Sri Lanka.

Health and Safety of Volunteers in Sri Lanka

As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you are recommended, but not required, to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A & B, and Typhoid. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, get vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis and Rabies. For more information, visit MD Travel Health.

Sri Lanka has no to low risk of malaria.

Sri Lanka is a relatively safe nation for tourists and volunteers, but remember to be vigilant in crowded areas and tourist spots for pickpockets.

Showing 56 Programs

Sri Lanka
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Volunteer with IVHQ in Sri Lanka! Highly affordable volunteer projects are available for anywhere from 1 week to 12 weeks. Th

16 reviews
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Sri Lanka
Volunteering Solutions

Join a volunteer project with Volunteering Solutions on the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka! By partnering with local or

5 reviews
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Colombo
Greenheart Travel

Volunteer alongside scientists and conservationists to help with ecological research on elephants in North Central Sri Lanka.

4 reviews
Sri Lanka
Projects Abroad

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with many wonderful volunteer projects and internships available for volunteers interested i

2 reviews
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Sri Lanka
Plan My Gap Year

PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely coastal town of Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka. Volunteers g

37 reviews
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Sri Lanka
GoEco

GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and

2 reviews
Galle
Love Volunteers

Volunteer in beautiful Sri Lanka with Love Volunteers! We offer a range of amazing programs, with a choice of three distinct

1 reviews
Pinnawala
BVOL - Budget Volunteering

BVOL - Budget Volunteering, specialize in affordable, exciting and worthwhile volunteering opportunities.

Sri Lanka, "the na

2 reviews
Sri Lanka
Travellers Worldwide

Participating in a Work Experience Internship is a unique way to observe experts in your field and learn how they work in SRI

0 reviews
Sri Lanka
The Great Projects

This project has been hugely successful in shaping and influencing turtle conservation efforts in Sri Lanka since its incepti

0 reviews
Sri Lanka
Developing World Connections

The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 killed more than 40,000 Sri Lankans and changed the lives of many more by wiping out their liv

2 reviews
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Sri Lanka
Ananda Elephant Sanctuary

We are a small Project situated in Kegalle, Sri Lanka where our mission is to help elephants from places where they don’t ca

1 reviews
Sri Lanka
Oyster Worldwide

Assist with helping endangered elephants and local communities live together in harmony. You will be working with an award wi

0 reviews
Colombo
Travellers Worldwide

Help conserve the Elephants and other wildlife of Sri Lanka in Wasgamuwa National Park. The aim of this project is to save el

1 reviews
Sri Lanka
The Great Projects

This elephant conservation project is based on the outskirts of the wild and diverse Wasgamuwa National Park and it is one of

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