Affordable Volunteer Programs in Sri Lanka from $315

Video and Photos

lovely Sri Lankan children
lovely Sri Lankan children
preshcool teachers, pretty
preshcool teachers, pretty
these lovely children kissed me
these lovely children kissed me
Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya Rock
Elephant Experience
Elephant Experience
Ella Rock
Ella Rock
Wonderful new volunteers and friends to be!
Wonderful new volunteers and friends to be!
Delicious food
Delicious food

About

Volunteer with IVHQ in Sri Lanka! Highly affordable volunteer projects are available for anywhere from 1 week to 12 weeks. The Sri Lanka volunteer program is based in the sacred city of Kandy, with placements located in and around the city and further afield. The Rural Community Development project is based in Hanguranketha and Dambulla, the Cultural Immersion project is based in Dambana and the Wild Elephant Conservation project is based in the Wasgamuwa area.

Volunteers can assist on a range of community-driven projects and will be accommodated in volunteer houses and homestays.

IVHQ Volunteer Programs available in Sri Lanka:

  • Teaching
  • Medical
  • Elderly Care
  • Special Needs
  • Childcare
  • Rural Community Development
  • Temple Renovation
  • Wild Elephant Conservation

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $285 for 1 week Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 10 and 40 volunteers start in Sri Lanka each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Sri Lanka with fellow volunteers - such as Colombo, Galle or Mirissa.
Highlights
  • 9 meaningful project options including Teaching, Cultural Immersion, Temple Renovation and Wild Elephant Conservation
  • Programs are available year-round in Sri Lanka at an affordable price of US$285 for 1 week
  • The IVHQ Sri Lanka program begins every Monday. You can choose to volunteer for durations ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.
  • Sri Lanka program fees include 24/7 in-country support, airport pick-up, program orientation, volunteer placement, accommodation and meals.
  • A special Introduction Week is available

Questions & Answers

Hi, I stayed in a volunteer house during my 3 week stay in Sri Lanka. It was the best experience as you make new friends whereby you go out on the weekends, play board games and go on walks after work each day. It's truly amazing meeting and being together with so many people from different countries. The girls who did home stay tended to come to the volunteer house after volunteer work as they...

Reviews

94%
based on 37 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 37
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Dženita
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The right way to help the community

“Thank you maam
I love you
Please come back
Signed,
[x]”
Those were the words written by a 6 year old girl on a glitter umbrella card she made for me. It’s something that gave me a sense of purpose, it’s something I’ll hold very dear for the rest of my life, and it’s something I owe to this wonderful programme.
The programme was very flexible letting you experience as much as you can, so I spent my time volunteering as an English teacher to the village children and monks and renovating temples and it was such a unique, and, most importantly for me , very real opportunity to contribute something to the global community.
Obviously, being on a volunteer mission in a 3rd world country isn’t the same as being in a Hilton hotel, but it’s all a part of the experience and immersion in the culture, which on itself is something wonderful.
So even if you think the food too spicy, are bothered by the flies and gekkos, or feel like the climate is unbearable, it takes one playful child, a kind elderly woman, or even the generousness of your own fellow volunteers, and you’ll know why you’re there.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
One thing I wish I was more aware of is the amount of teamwork you have to deal with, specifically in teaching. You might have your perfect Dead Poet’s Society lesson planned out, but you need to learn how to cooperate with your colleague first since most probably you will be working in pairs.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Dženita, thanks for your comment around your time in Sri Lanka! Volunteering abroad can have a big impact on your life and clearly this has been case for you and your experience. We hope to have you join us again soon! ^Aydan - IVHQ Sri Lanka Program Manager

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Kami
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing trip in Sri Lanka!

My time in Sri Lanka was an amazing experience. I spent two weeks there working on the Wild Elephant Conservation Project. The project itself was really eye opening. We learned about the human elephant conflict in the area and how we can help. For example, we helped plant orange trees around the villiger’s houses to prevent the elephants breaking them trying to get the rice stored inside. We also worked on some smaller projects that revolved around other wildlife in the area such as the big cats and endangered butterflies. We didn’t have contact with the elephants, but we did get to see them frequently and super close up! I will never forgot what a surreal experience it was. The staff were nice and we ate lots of traditional Sri Lanken food.

What would you improve about this program?
Not much I would change about the program. Just go into it with an open mind and heart!
Default avatar
Yijie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable volunteer experience

Hi I would like to share this unforgettable volunteer experience with IVHQ. Although only for two weeks in Sri Lanka cannot make a great change to local people, but it has already impacted me a lot.

The local team there were very supportive and they answered my queries as soon as I asked them. At first I felt quite nervous and actually I am not very outgoing, so it was a hard time at first. However, I was settled after the orientation day, which allow me to communicate with other volunteers, which was really a new step for me. I got to know different cultures during my program, and improved my fluency in speaking English. The local people are generally very nice and welcoming, and the lady who provided us food gave each one an egg per day to keep us healthy.

As my first time volunteer and teaching English, I felt a little difficult to start at first, but I gradually improved my plan and managed many great lessons, which exercised my presentational and interactive skills. I really felt I was needed whenever I saw their sweet smile and shining eyes. Overall, it was a great experience, and during the meeting I was given the opportunity to speak to the public which I basically had never done before, which was a great challenge but promoted me a lot. Finally, I appreciate for this amazing volunteer experience with IVHQ.

What would you improve about this program?
Wish food be better, I hate curry. The course outline was not provided for my program because children and adults came to the class randomly, so it is understandable, but hope this can be improved. Anyhow I taught them good things.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ, sounds like you had a great experience and we would love to have you volunteer with us again! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Connor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka

Truely was a phenomenal trip, I decided to volunteer through IVHQ in Sri Lanka because I had always heard about the beauty that was the country and also the people were wonderful and by golly it was all true. The culture over there was brilliant every single person were so genuine they always were up for a conversation and never ceased to help out myself or fellow other travellers. The country is beautiful from the mountains to the sea beauty was everywhere, Ella was the place to go if you wanted to unwind in the mountains and enjoy the serenity and the peace while if you wanted more of a lively atmosphere you head down to the beaches such as hikkaduwa and mirrissa. All these places you had to take a train and though it was long it was throughly worth every single bit could tell you all how beautiful it was. The volunteering was the best part knowing that you are making a difference to a community is hands down one of the best feelings. The organisation from IVHQ was brilliant answered all my questions along with with explaining to me what to expect over there. Cant wait to return!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Connor, thanks for your review! Sounds like you had an incredible time on the program and we would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Roland
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

The week I spent in Sri Lanka was surely not enough, the only regret I have is not staying longer. From mountains to beaches Sri Lanka is the perfect country to satisfy any adventurous soul. Traveling with IVHQ made my trip more enjoyable, I was well prepared, the staff helped us familiars with our new environment and local culture, they were always available for any inquiries and made sure we were comfortable throughout the trip. The accommodation was decent, clean and well equipped and the other volunteers I met were all amazing. At the childcare program, I got the chance to help and assist kids in a pre-school, it was fun and satisfying as nothing is more rewarding than the smile on their faces at the end of the day.
Looking forward to my next adventure!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Roland, thanks for sharing your feedback about the Sri Lanka Program! Sounds like you had an incredible experience. I couldn't agree more and wish I stayed longer too, so much to experience! We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Maleeha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka with IVHQ

I did three weeks in Kandy, Sri Lanka which was such an amazing first experience of volunteering abroad. Both the local team that looks after you once you arrive in Sri Lanka and the IVHQ team are so incredibly helpful, reply to emails very fast and are very supportive. The IVHQ team was really accomodating with me changing around my program dates to start earlier and were helpful in preparing to go to Sri Lanka as well. Whilst in country the IVHQ coordinator stayed in touch with me to make sure everything was going well, and also checked in on me once I got home. The local NGO that you volunteer with in Sri Lanka is so warm and helpful, they truly go above and beyond to make sure you're comfortable and having a good experience. Once you arrive in country you learn more about the local NGO, they have so many projects available - more than those explained on the IVHQ website, for example there are several different types of teaching projects on offer. The volunteer accomodation is also very nice and has a really nice shady backyard which opens onto the Mahweli river (the longest river in Sri Lanka) .

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Maleeha, thanks for your review! It sounds like you had an incredible experience in Sri Lanka and thanks for sharing your experience! Thanks for being a great volunteer and we would love to you have volunteer with IVHQ again in the future. Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Emma
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Would recommend

I think the program was good value for money, the accommodation was basic but clean and there were fans in all the rooms. The food was good and the cooks were always very keen to hear feedback to cater specifically to us. The co-ordinators were lovely and very accommodating, and it was very easy to swap between programs- which isn't something I've found with other programs I've been on. I volunteered on the temple renovation project and enjoyed getting to see some of the local temples and preschools. Everywhere we went the local people were very friendly and fed us lots! Kandy is a really nice town too- very busy and full of nice cafes. The orientation week was also a nice bonus and gave us an insight into the local area/country, it also helped us all get to know one another and find our way around. I would definitely recommend IVHQ

What would you improve about this program?
Wifi at the accommodation would be a nice, i think that's all though!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, thanks for taking the time to write a review about your time on the program! We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Siaw Fong
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2-week volunteer in Sri Lanka

I signed up for a 2-week project with IVHQ doing rural community development work in Sri Lanka.

It was truly a rewarding experience where I got to:
1) learn about the local culture (via the comprehensive orientation week) and
2) give back to the local community (via volunteering at the local pre-school)

From the get go, the volunteers were treated very well. Transportation was arranged accordingly to get me to Kandy from Colombo Airport. Accommodation and meals were provided and a Project Liaison Officer was assigned to each volunteer to ensure our utmost safety.

Depending on the duration of your volunteer, you may find yourself wanting to achieve more but unable to due to limited time. And this may cause you to feel dissatisfied. My urge to volunteers is to ensure you go through the programme guide thoroughly and to take the recommended online courses as it will help you better manage your expectations to avoid any dissatisfaction or disappointments.

Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to IVHQ, Green Lion & the people of Sri Lanka for making my experience such a rewarding one!

What would you improve about this program?
One suggestion for improvement that I do have for IVHQ's partner Green Lion in Sri Lanka is to offer transportation options. I noticed that the long travelling time via public buses (cheaper option) may not be conducive to older volunteers (one of the volunteers in my group was in her 70s) and it can be rather exhausting spending approx. 3 hrs per day on travelling. There should be an option for volunteer to select direct transport (instead of via multiple buses) to travel from Point A to Point B with additional costs of transport choices incorporated. Some volunteers would pay for the additional costs for the convenience rather than spend endless hours travelling. As long as the transport costs & charges are made transparent, volunteers should be given that opportunity to decide on their own behalf how much costs they are willing to bear.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thank you for your review, sounds like you had a great time in Sri Lanka! Thank you for your thoughts about where the program can be improved, we are constantly working with our local team to improve the program and volunteer feedback is very valuable. Your advice will also be very valuable for other volunteers and we would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Rahima
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great

I loved it so much. If you want some friends for life and make a difference, go here. I ended up getting a few new best friends (volunteers ánd coordinators) while doing my projects. They gave the option to do more then one project once you arrive so I did the thing I wanted to do anyway, which was temple renovation, and taught some village kids some english. The teaching was quite a challenge since you have to prepare your own lessons, but it was fun as well.

What would you improve about this program?
Shorter orientation week
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rahima, it is awesome to hear that you had a great time on the project and were well looked after by the local team. Thanks for being a great volunteer! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Imaad
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful Experience

Through volunteering with IVHQ, I was able to understand Sri Lanka as a country, rather than just a tourist attraction. From playing volleyball with locals, to leading a class of English to young monks; these were experiences I would never have come across as a traditional tourist. Travelling in general helps a person change their outlook on life but volunteering while travelling does so much more. More than just gaining new experiences for yourself, the impact you have on the locals through sharing knowledge and goodwill really does come through and the love they give back is what volunteering is all about. Beyond the project itself, the friendly and like-minded volunteers I came across made the whole experience worthwhile. After arriving in Sri Lanka on my own, I left having made friends with some of the nicest people around from all over the world. It’s amazing how far a little kindness and love can go, because after all everyone smiles in the same language :)

What would you improve about this program?
Volunteering hours could be extended - this is because we often ended the day with the sun still out and it would be nice to stay busy with something else after our project
Default avatar
MENGFEI
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

feedback

The volunteer experience in Sir Lanka is really a precious treasure in life. The program i attend is called "Teaching", including different forms. What I have tried is Special Needs, we came to a place which is similar to church, managed by nun. we offered the help to these disabled children and adults, including teaching and nursing. every morning, all volunteers will stay together to pray, we learned the sentences from Bible with the background of soft music, it is really amazing. We have learned a lot, such as the right attitude towards our own life and these people who in trouble. I have attended the 'hope' and 'peace' group and I really gain a lot of meaningful things. These people rely on me and I am so pleasured to be with them. Also, all volunteers here are good, we worked like a group. help each other. i am so appreciate to have a such a wonderful volunteer opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
it is very nice
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for sharing your experience and favorite moments on the program, it sounds like you had an incredible time in Sri Lanka! We would love to have you back in the future to volunteer with IVHQ! Samantha - IVHQ Program Manager

Victoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rural Community Development

I had absolutely no idea what to expect as I was stepping off the airplane Sri Lanka. I had done a lot of research as it was my first time traveling alone and I am really happy that I choose to go via IVHQ. From the airport pickup to my taxi ride back to the airport three weeks later I feel like I was constantly supported by the local staff. Everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful, always willing to answer any questions I had.

There were a number of projects available in Sri Lanka, but I chose to spend my three weeks in Dambulla and loved every second. Despite feeling very nervous at first, the project coordinators helped me feel very comfortable and at home. The accommodation was very clean, the food was delicious, and the coordinators were some of the nicest people I’ve met. Auntie (who prepared our food) was also very sweet, she was always willing to teach us how to cook and plant. We were also able to partake in yoga lessons every morning.

Volunteering in the temple and in the pre-school was a very rewarding and I feel like I learned a lot. I was able to paint a classroom and parts of a temple, clean, teach some English, and lay bricks. I feel like I learned a lot about the role of religion in daily life and about different cultural traditions. Living with locals allowed me to try very authentic food and being in a non-touristy area allowed me to really immerse in local culture. IVHQ offers a great project for a very affordable price. It was a very humbling experience. I made very meaningful connections with both the locals and other volunteers and was able to challenge myself both physically and mentally in ways that I had never expected.

What would you improve about this program?
I think volunteers need to be given more information about the reasons behind their work so they understand what they are doing and why it is meaningful. I wish more specifics were given about the projects before arriving to the location so I could have brought donations or supplies that would have been useful to the particular project I was a part of.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your review Victoria! It was awesome to read about your incredible experience and it sounds like you really made the most of your time in Sri Lanka immersing yourself into the culture. Your work on the Rural Community Development was invaluable and we would love to have you volunteer with us again! ^Samantha - IVHQ Sri Lanka Program Manager

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Moto
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Place you will miss

Through IVHQ I was able to meet awesome volunteers from all over the world. Great support from IVHQ staffs since the enrollment and during the project period. IVHQ is a big volunteer organiztion so it is well organized and many interesting projects are available. I am intested in visiting another destination through IVHQ.

The city Kandy was cool place to stay where authentic Sri Lankan lifestyle and strong buddism culture remains. I did the teaching for pre school kids and monks. There were texts available but every lesson kids were different in terms of age and English level so it was challenging to decide what to teach while the class in going on. But I really enjoyed it and it was what I was expecting!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for sharing your experience of the program! It was great to read all about your time in Sri Lanka, sounds like you had an amazing experience and I'm glad to hear that you felt supported by the team! Your insight about your time on the project is very valuable for future IVHQ volunteers. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ and we would love to have you join us again! ^Samantha - IVHQ Sri Lanka Program Manager

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Elaine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer in Sri Lanka

I recently got back from a volunteer trip to Sri Lanka through IVHQ. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. As an older (than the average volunteer) person I was slightly anxious about safety, but I admit that from the moment I was met at the airport I felt well supported. The program was extensive and I was able to mix and match my projects. The people were great and I had an amazing experience while feeling that I had contributed to helping some vulnerable children.

What would you improve about this program?
perhaps there could be more information about the projects before deciding which one is right for you.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ! That is great to hear that you felt well looked after and supported while on the program, volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ. Your time on the Teaching project was invaluable and we would love to have you volunteer with us again! ^Samantha - IVHQ Sri Lanka Program Manager

Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Phenomenal Sri Lanka Trip

My time in Sri Lanka was second to none! Getting to help conserve wild elephants while seeing many other species of mammals, birds, and reptiles was incredible! The staff become good friends if you stay long enough and the food alone is worth staying for! Some of the best I’ve ever eaten! Weekend trips to Trincomalee and Dambulla are a must! I highly recommend this program to anyone who loves conservation or nature!

What would you improve about this program?
The orientation week was a bit boring. Too many temples and I hated seeing elephants in chains.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thank you for your review, sounds like you had an incredible experience in Sri Lanka! Thanks for your thoughts about where the program can be improved, we are constantly working with our local team to improve the experience for volunteers and have passed this feedback on. We completely understand your comment about elephants and know that this can be distressing. Please know this is not something IVHQ supports. I am glad to hear that you were well looked after by the team, we would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again! ^Samantha - IVHQ Sri Lanka Program Manager

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About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 50+ destinations. Over 100,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the past 12 years,...