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 61 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...
Sri Lanka
Volunteering Solutions
This is an opportunity to spend time with differently-able children put up at different day care and childcare centers across...
Sri Lanka
Volunteering Solutions
Join a volunteer project with Volunteering Solutions on the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka! By partnering with local or...
Sri Lanka
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...
Sri Lanka
Projects Abroad
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with many wonderful volunteer projects and internships available for volunteers interested i...
Sri Lanka
Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely coastal town of Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka. Volunteers g...
Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offer a wide range of safe, meaningful, affordable community volunteer projects from 2-weeks to 6-months in Ghana, India...
Sri Lanka
Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offer some of the most amazing wildlife conservation volunteer projects in gorgeous, exotic locations abroad from 1-week...
Sri Lanka
Give a Fig Volunteering
Experience a culture from within, get to know a people, when you coach and teach through English with us, the education partn...
Sri Lanka
Love Volunteers
Volunteer in beautiful Sri Lanka with Love Volunteers! We offer a range of amazing programs, with a choice of three distinct...
Sri Lanka
Work the World
We do not offer paid internships or cater for volunteering experiences. To be eligible for a Work the World nursing internshi...
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 car...
Sri Lanka
Greenheart Travel
Elephants, while majestic and beautiful, are seen by many Sri Lankans as a nuisance because of their destructive effects on f...
Sri Lanka
Outreach International
Many developing countries commit limited resources to supporting children & adults with special needs, due to cultural precon...
Outreach International
We support a number of projects in the healthcare environment, suitable for those who are either studying, or are part/newly...