We tested it ourselves: volunteering in Sri Lanka can be a rewarding experience, especially with the well organized programme of Janaka de Silva called Volunteer Sri Lanka …
Volunteer Sri Lanka supports different projects/institutions to help underprivileged children and adults
Depending on your skills and preferences you can help out at many different projects: e.g. at schools, an orphanage, a physiotherapy rehabilitation centre, a home for people with disabilities and many more
Online/email application + around $280,-/week for accommodation, meals and project support
For all levels, surfing has to be organized by yourself
Galle, South Sri Lanka
THE ORGANISATION & THEIR MISSION
Unlike many other volunteering projects in `developing´ countries Volunteer Sri Lanka was founded by a local, the Sri Lankan project manager Janaka de Silva. The devastating tsunami in 2004, where Janaka lost his parents, was one of the main reasons why he decided to support the communities and families who live around him in vulnerable situations. Volunteers are seen as a great help to support different local programmes and institutions with their skills, knowledge and time. Now with almost 10 years of experience running Volunteer Sri Lanka, Janaka knows how to best coordinate all kind of volunteers, bringing people & programmes together where they are needed the most.
VOLUNTEERING & INTERNSHIP
The range of programmes supported by Volunteer Sri Lanka is broad. There is an orphanage with more than 80 kids, a home for homeless disabled persons, a teaching hospital, various local schools (e.g. who need help with teaching English or supporting children with learning difficulties), a physiotherapy rehabilitation centre, an elderly home, a community center and some more. Get in contact with Janaka and tell him about your interests and skills – together you will find the right programme for you.
REQUIREMENTS & COSTS
First of all you need to get in contact with Janaka to exchange your interests und intentions, best way of doing this is via the application form, you can find on the website (link see below). Costs usually are around $280,- per week, which includes costs for your (very comfortable) accommodation, delicious meals and a support to fund supplies for the different programmes.
There are a couple of documents with information provided by Volunteer Sri Lanka that you should read before you start your travels – doing so you not only know what to expect but you will also enjoy your time more and minimize the risk of facing any inconvenient problems.
SURFING & OFFERS
When volunteering with Volunteer Sri Lanka you will have to arrange & pay your surf time yourself, which is easy to coordinate. If you want to learn surfing, you can take surf lessons at the Sehana or Unawatuna Beach, which you can reach in a 20-25min tuktuk-ride from the accommodation. If you are an intermediate surfer you might find good conditions there whenever bigger swells hit the area and there are a few other spots around the Galle area, also for advanced surfers – just speak to the locals surf schools/shops. If you have some more time and drive a little further down south, there are many good surf spots you can check out.
LOCATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
For general information about surfing in Sri Lanka, please visit our special blog entry for a Eco- & social friendly Surf Trip to Sri Lanka.
Volunteer Sri Lanka is located in/close to Galle, a nice middle-size colonial town in the South (Sout-West) of Sri Lanka. From the accommodation to Galle Center & the coast it takes like 15-20min if you go by tuktuk. From the capital city Colombo or the International Airport to Galle you can travel by train, bus or taxi (recommended when travelling with your surfboard). The taxi-ride is around 2 ½ – 3 hours and – as always – more ecological (and cheaper) if you share it with others.
Like always, volunteering requires various social competences – especially in a country where they have different infrastructure, traditions, ways of working and thinking. Please read more in our blog entry of Intercultural Competence or Volunteer Sri Lanka’s website. If you are open minded, flexibel, patient and empathic you will be fine – sounds trivial, but you can not imagine how many volunteers face difficulties with those qualities.
For more details, please visit the website of Volunteer Sri Lanka. And if you have any specific questions about this programme or if you want to share any other comment or tell us about your experience volunteering in Sri Lanka, we would be happy to read about it below!