Volunteer Teaching Physical Education in Sri Lanka
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Kalutara, Negombo, and Panadura
- ROLE: To work alongside local teachers coaching children in a variety of sports with the goal of improving their fitness
- AGE OF STUDENTS: 16-21
- CLASS SIZE: 15-20
- REQUIREMENTS: None
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 4 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
By volunteering on a Physical Education project in Sri Lanka you can help children develop physically and socially in a country that is truly passionate about sports. Whether you are a student on a gap year or summer vacation who is enthusiastic about fitness, a professional on a career break, or an retired coach or teacher, you can make a positive impact on the lives of Sri Lankan children as a volunteer whatever your skill level.
Sports are an important part of Sri Lankan culture. While Sri Lanka is known for cricket, some people are surprised to learn that volleyball is the country’s national sport. However, cricket is still the most widely played sport in Sri Lanka. The national cricket team rose from being the underdogs in the 1980s to winning the Cricket World Cup in 1996. They were also runners-up in 2007 and 2011.
As well as cricket and volleyball, other popular sports include track and field, soccer, and basketball. Women’s netball is also significant and the national team has won four out of the last seven Asian Netball Championships.
Physical Education Volunteer Projects in Sri Lanka
Despite the popularity of sports in Sri Lanka many schools still have limited sports facilities and equipment. Projects Abroad Sports volunteers help by teaching sports in schools to students who are enthusiastic, but currently do not have access to a developed physical education program. Volunteers can help out with a variety of sports, including volleyball, soccer, and track and field.
Volunteers work at schools in Panadura, Kalutara, or Negombo, each within an hour's travel from Colombo. The schools have not put much emphasis on physical education in the past. The goal of the School Sports project is to develop productive and sustainable physical education programs at these schools.
Volunteering on Physical Education Projects in Sri Lanka
The school in Panadura has about 800 children. It does have a PE teacher, but the children currently only receive classroom-based theory lessons. Volunteers at this school help by taking the lessons outside. Using the existing school field, volunteers help run activities to develop skills in a variety of sports. This could be team sports such as soccer, cricket, volleyball, and badminton, as well as training for more individualized activities, like track and field. You can be creative here about the activities you run.
The school in Kalutara has over 3000 students, spanning primary to secondary school ages. While there are currently several sports teachers, lessons do not happen on a regular basis without Projects Abroad volunteers providing additional support. As a volunteer here you have the opportunity to support the existing teachers, or you can set up your own lessons. Lessons focus on the under 11, under 13, under 16, and under 19 age groups. The school would like help with soccer, cricket, volleyball, netball, and track and field. Though sports equipment available is basic, you can get a long way with creativity and enthusiasm! At lunchtime the children sometimes organize their own sports sessions, which you can also help organize.
If you are placed in Negombo, you will work at a technical center, teaching physical education classes. There are 400 students at the center who are between the ages 16 and 21. You will work with classes of about 15 students at a time. Most of the students at the center come from difficult backgrounds. Many are orphans, come from broken families, have been affected by war, or are former child soldiers. Other than your main role to teach physical education, you can also get involved with teaching skills and academic subjects to improve your students' future prospects. Subjects you could teach include mechanics, carpentry, English, mathematics, and science.
Physical Education volunteers in Sri Lanka start early in the morning, teaching from about 6.30-9am, and teach again in the afternoons from about 2-5pm. During the school day you can rest, or you can help teach some English or Health and Fitness lessons in the classroom.
Throughout your time volunteering in Sri Lanka we hope you will watch the children's confidence grow through your efforts. As you work with them to develop their talents, you can witness how their increased self-esteem impacts their personal relationships and education as a whole.