The importance of learning English is significant in Sri Lanka as it provides the best possible chance of obtaining higher paid future employment. The two main sources of income in Sri Lanka are from tourism and migrant workers travelling to the Middle East, where being able to speak fluent English is essential.
Public education is available from the ages of 6 through to 18 and for a developing country, Sri Lanka’s education system is very impressive and quite advanced.
However, many government schools, especially in the more remote and rural areas receive minimal funding and are expected to look after large communities. With average class sizes of 40 to 60 children, classrooms are often cramped and under resourced. The level of teaching English is also very limited.
The aim of our volunteer programme is to help teach and engage with early childhood development. Conversing with fluent, native English speakers greatly improves their language skills and will help get the children set for their future education and on reaching their true potential. Providing fun and exciting lessons will not only revolve around teaching English but also music, dancing, maths, art and lots of other activities such as origami.
We encourage volunteers to make lessons as engaging and interactive as possible by being creative and proactive when preparing lessons. Your presence will give the children an insight into different cultures and they will love to get to know everything about you!
You will liaise with the teacher and discuss the best ways of making the most of your time and ability while on the project. You will find that all students are very enthusiastic and eager to learn, so be prepared to challenge them!
Our local coordinator will be on hand to support you in anyway they can and to overcome any language barriers there may be. We always try to ensure that there are basic resources for the children at the project site and for volunteers so they can plan their activities. This includes stationery, exercise books, plain paper and more. Volunteers are more than welcome to purchase additional resources from the local shops, which we are sure the children would love and appreciate.
Although an advantage, no previous teaching experience is required to join this programme. As long as you have lots of positive energy and are enthusiastic, then your efforts will contribute massively to the local school.
Due to Sri Lankan school holidays, we cannot offer this programme in April, August or December as the schools are closed. If you were planning to spend all or at least some of your time with us in Sri Lanka during this time then please let us know. We would be more than happy to split programmes into different weeks or to organise a trip.
Badulla is one of the oldest towns in Sri Lanka and is located on the edge of the hill country. Offering many amazing views across mountain ranges, beautiful tea plantations and with an abundance of waterfalls there are many picturesque moments. There are a lot more programmes available here that you can choose throughout the week, where you will be able to make a true difference to many lifes.
Kindergarten – You will be involved in teaching within the local school that runs Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 11:30am.
Blind and Deaf School – You will get the chance to help in this specialised government school that has over 200 students. You will get to help students complete their homework, assist with computer lessons, draw and paint together and much more. Any kind of sign knowledge would be an advantage but not essential. Monday to Friday between 2:30pm and 5:00pm.
Special Educational Needs School – Make a difference to these amazing children by helping to teach at the local school. You will need to help them complete any homework they may have, further their English skills and of course have fun lessons through music, dance, art and much more! Monday to Friday between 2:30pm and 5:00pm
Elder Home – Help assist in the local care home where you will get to play cards and interact with the fascinating residents. You will play a vital role in the day to day running of the home and will help to prepare meals, clean the house, wash clothes and arrange performance sessions. Monday to Friday 8:30am to 11:30am
Weekends are free days across both locations where we actively encourage you to go and explore this beautiful country. We can help arrange all kinds of trips to national parks, to sandy beaches where you can party or to famous religious landmarks. If you prefer, you are more than welcome to stay on-site and relax.
You can really make a difference to the lives of children by volunteering on this amazing programme.
During your time on this programme you will be staying within the volunteer house located close to Galle. With the beach only a stones throw away, you can be sure there will be plenty of time spent sunbathing or swimming in the beautiful Indian Ocean. There are plenty of restaurants and beach bars just a short drive away as well as more stunning coastline where you can participate in water sports.
The accommodation is basic, but clean and comfortable. You will be sleeping in single sex bedrooms with up to 6 other volunteers where bedding, celling fans and mosquito nets are provided. There are western style bathrooms that provide hot water.
You can sit back and relax in one of the communal areas where you can socialise with the other volunteers and play some board games, card games and even darts. There is plenty of room outside where you can sunbath, or you can choose to take a 2-minute walk over to the beach!
Wifi is available throughout the accommodation, although it is intermittent.
Wifi – Yes
People per room – Up to 6
Single sex rooms – Yes
Nearest ATM & shops – 5 minute walk
Airport Transfers – 2 hours
All meals are provided at the volunteer house and are included within the programme fee. Meals are aimed to be as varied as possible across the week and include many traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Toast, string hoppers, fresh fruits, tea, milk
Lunch – Rice, vegetables, chicken, fish
Dinner – Noodles, pasta, hoppers
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it dose not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive at Colombo Airport (CMB) on your selected start date, being any Saturday. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will take you to the accommodation to settle in.
After your selected duration has come to an end, you will need to vacate the volunteer house. The local team can arrange return airport transfers for an additional fee.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 16 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 – 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
What is the minimum age for travelling with my family?
If you are travelling with family and at least one member is aged 18 years old or over, then we welcome anyone from 5 years and up.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise all volunteers to apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates.
Generally speaking, you need to book at least 60 days before your programme start date, although if you are wanting to apply after this, please contact us and we will do our best.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback, we believe 2 – 4 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved in the placement. This also allows you to make the most of free time and explore the local areas and participate in any activities.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are.
The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
You can travel and volunteer with friends, family and / or your partner.
If you are wanting to request to stay in the same accommodation please outline this in the special requirements section within the application form.
Is it safe to travel to these destinations?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application was successful.
How do I arrange my travel insurance?
We have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy that is suitable for all of the programmes we offer. You will receive information about this policy along with your volunteer handbook.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try are best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 – £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week..
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.
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