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Volunteer OverseasVolunteer Overseas

Volunteer and Intern in Sri Lanka

Map of the Projects Abroad volunteer office in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Volunteer Sri Lanka Group of volunteers and locals after a medical awareness in Sri lanka, Asia Japanese volunteer busy in a medical awareness project in Sri lanka Volunteer busy in a dirty day project in Sri Lanka Female volunteers drinking local juice in Sri Lanka
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  • Location: Coastal towns within 2 hours of Colombo
  • Accommodation: Host families
  • Local languages: Sinhalese
Country Info

Sri Lanka, a country emerging from decades of civil conflict, is a country where you can make a significant impact as an international volunteer or intern with Projects Abroad. Our projects in Sri Lanka are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, including those on a college summer break, gap year, career break, or volunteer vacation.

A Sri Lankan monk has a health check at a Projects Abroad medical outreach.

Sri Lanka has been run by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, gaining independence in 1948. It is now a democracy that continues to make economic progress, moving on from the devastation of the 2004 Tsunami and past political tensions. It is now a peaceful, welcoming destination for travelers and becoming a “must visit” country.

Although the gap in income equality has shrunk in recent years and many families now have access to electricity and clean water, there is still a need for volunteers to contribute to the communities that remain disadvantaged. Children are especially vulnerable and volunteers can have a hugely positive impact on the lives of children living in orphanages and special needs centers, as well as teaching disadvantaged children in schools or monasteries.

Staff Profile Gishan Perera, Country Director
Gishan Perera
Country Director
“Welcome to the lovely island of Sri Lanka, known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. In addition to the work experience our volunteers gain from the various projects, they get to experience our very rich, diverse culture. Whatever your placement, there will always be the Sri Lankan team around ready to support you through this challenging and most satisfying experience. From the busy sprawling city of Colombo, to the much more relaxed pace of life in the small coastal villages, one thing remains the same throughout Sri Lanka- the warm smiles of the locals who will welcome you into their homes.”

Where You Will Live in Sri Lanka with Projects Abroad

A Sri Lankan host family pose for a photograph outside their home.

Projects Abroad’s office in Sri Lanka is based in the capital city of Colombo. Most of our volunteers work in towns located along the coast within a couple hours of Colombo, between Negombo and Kalutara. As with most of the international volunteer programs with Projects Abroad, you will normally stay with a local host family, which will give you a rounded insight into Sri Lankan culture and lifestyle.

Sri Lanka’s population is multi-religious and multi-ethnic, and its cultural heritage is equally as rich and diverse. Its countryside is lovely and teeming with varied and exotic wildlife species. There are more than ten national parks in Sri Lanka, and the Sinharaja Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Did you know? Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon before 1972 and was the first country to make tea famous in the 19th and 20th centuries, with its “Ceylon” tea cultivated throughout Sri Lanka.

The food in Sri Lanka is a real pleasure. Enjoy the delights of sampling a jackfruit curry accompanied by the sweetest mango juice you have ever tasted. You will be amazed at the range of fresh fruit and vegetables available and don't forget to try some of the fresh fish, straight out of the boat.

Another Sri Lankan passion is cricket. Whether you are talking to an orange-robed Buddhist monk or a young school student they will want to find out what you think of their favorite players and which team you support.

Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan monks in Asia.

Sri Lanka provides many opportunities in a small space. Like most capitals, Colombo can be hectic, but it’s full of heritage. You may want to visit the mass of Hindu temples across the city, but equally you’ll get a taste of Sri Lankan life simply by strolling through its modern avenues and narrow, crooked streets. You can people-watch in the Pettah bazaar, or take in the sunset from Galle Face Green.

The town of Galle is a sea port with a strong Dutch heritage and plenty of old colonial buildings to explore. Venture inland to hike in the hills, refresh yourself in the cool waterfalls, and stop off at quaint little hill towns.

Sri Lanka’s national parks include safari parks where you can spot leopards and elephants and wetland sanctuaries that are particularly good for bird-watching. There are also rainforest reserves crammed full of tropical biodiversity.

The beach resorts stretching along the south coast offer the opportunity to dive, snorkel, and relax at reasonable prices. In all areas you will find the Sri Lankan people extremely friendly to tourists.

Projects for All Ages in Sri Lanka

High School Specials for Teens in Sri Lanka

19+ Specials for Ages 19 and Up in Sri Lanka


Projects for professionals available in Sri Lanka

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