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Volunteer in Sri Lanka

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11 Best Cheap Volunteer Programs & Organizations of Sri Lanka for 2018-2019

volunteer in sri lanka
Photo Credit: Projects Abroad

Sri Lanka! This small country in the Indian Ocean is one of the popular volunteer destinations around.It's tropical, warm weather is just one reason why thousands of volunteers go to Sri Lanka every year to work in orphanages, as teachers, or with sea turtle and elephant conservation programs.

Unfortunately, volunteering in Sri Lanka can be expensive. A quick Internet search will bring up many companies offering cheap volunteer opportunities Sri Lanka programs costing from300 to 3000 USD for a two week placement, (not including additional costs such as aifare, vaccinations, insurance and a visa. If you go ahead and choose a program without doing enough research you risk wasting money on an overpriced project, or risking your safety and ruining the entire volunteer experience of a lifetime.For this article our research team has examined hundreds of organizations offering inexpensive volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka. After considering fees, the history, reputation and professionalism of the company and online reviews of their services and projects we 've selected some of the best (i.e. inexpensive and highly rated) organizations.  We sincerely believe that selecting any of these companies will lead to a safe, life changing and affordable volunteer abroad experience in Sri Lanka.

Are You Interested to Volunteer in Sri Lanka?
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RCDP Volunteer Abroad (Nepal)

volunteer in sri lanka

Possibly one of the most affordable set of volunteer programs around is offered by RCDP Volunteer Abroad. Established in 1998, this highly reputed company is based in Nepal, but runs successful programs all over the world. RCDP Volunteer Abroad is a non-political, non-profit, and non-religious organization which primarily focuses on poor children, orphans, and under-resourced communities  in countries such as Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Tanzania, India, Uganda, Tibet, Ghana, Kenya, Peru and Ecuador. RCDP has a large database of around 12,000 volunteer alumni, an impressive figure which grows by about a 1000 each year.

RCDP Volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

Every year hundreds of volunteers join RCDP's  , to help deprived people acquire the necessary skills to change their lives. Volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka are located in GalleKegalle, and Pinnawala, and run from one to twelve weeks.

With fees as low as $105 per week RCDP offers all potential volunteers the opportunity to join an affordable program in Sri Lanka, along with safe and secure accommodation, three full meals a day and to the chance to be truly immersed in Sri Lankan culture.

RCDP's primary projects in Sri Lanka are:

Work in an orphanage (Galle)

Volunteers in this project are expected to work with children for about 3 hours every day; helping with cleaning or cooking activities inside the orphanage, teaching the children,  (mainly English), assisting with personal hygiene tasks, running art, music or dance activities, working with children in the garden, undertaking  administrative tasks, as well as fundraising.

Teaching English in rural schools (Galle)

Volunteers in this project will work with children aged between 6-16 years and teach them English. Volunteers can follow the official curriculum or use their own methods in order to make the class more interactive and fun. Volunteers can also organize debates or discussions between students to encourage them to speak, and gain confidence when using English.

Teaching English to Buddhist monks (Galle)

The volunteers teach English to the young monks, whose ages range from 6-14 years old. The teaching focus is on developing the monks' conversational skills, and volunteer teachers are encouraged to share their own life stories and experiences, and have the students do the same. 

Elephant Conservation project in Sri Lanka (Kegalle)

This project is divided into 3 parts, elephant conservation, eco-farming, and teaching, and the volunteer's responsibilities may vary in each section. The volunteers may assist mahouts (handlers) to care for and feed the elephants; grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs, or teach English to children in small, under resourced schools.

Elephant Orphanage project in Sri Lanka (Pinnawala)

Volunteers in this project live close to the elephant orphanage, where they help mahouts to clean the enclosures, bottle feed baby elephants, prepare milk and food for the older elephants, and participate in the elephant bathing ritual in a local river. 

RCDP Volunteer Abroad Volunteers Reviews

As RCDP is a well established organization in the volunteering market, they have hundreds of reviews from volunteers all over the world. It’s the highest rated volunteer organization in the market, which indicates that it’s a trusted, safe, and affordable, choice when booking a volunteer program in Sri Lanka.

Read more online reviews at Abroad Reviews and RCDP.

RCDP Volunteer Abroad Fees

RCDP work hard to keep the fees low on the very affordable Sri Lanka programs they offer. Project costs depend on length of stay and destination, and are made up of three separate fees.

The application fee of 269 USD - divided as follows:

  • $120: administrative costs, including staff salaries, property rental costs, communication and office expenses.
  • $149: advertising costs on Google, Goabroad, Yahoo, and any extra advertising costs in the USA.

The nominal weekly program fee:

  • from $105 for projects in Galle, $180 for projects in Kegalle, and $250 for projects in Pinnawala. Prices vary based on the length of the stay (As shown in the fees table).

The weekly prices are divided also as follows:

  • 80%: accommodation and three meals a day (traditional food) and more
  • 20%: donation to the project you are on

(These prices don't include airfare, visa fees, airport taxes, airport drop, extra expenses on food, mineral water or soft drinks, laundry, gifts, daily transportation, telephone, and immunization fees.) Volunteers pay fees directly to the host families and projects to make sure that the money goes directly to people who deserve it. 

IFRE Volunteers (USA)

volunteer in sri lanka

IFRE Volunteers is a Non-profit 501 C 3 organization founded in 2005 in Texas, USA. IFRE offers an inexpensive and highly rated sri lanka volunteer programs amongst those offering volunteer programs in Sri Lanka. The company ethos is about supporting underprivileged children, local community development and grassroots organizations worldwide, via the help of their volunteer abroad program.

With 200 projects, and more than 17000 previous volunteers who have worked on placements in 18 countries around the world IFRE have so much great experience to offer anyone interested in joining their cheap volunteer in Sri Lanka programs. 

The primary focus of IFRE is on the people-to-people approach that is able to unite volunteers and local citizens, and have them share ideas as well as work side-by-side on the projects. IFRE offers meaningful and multifaceted programs which include amazing travel experiences, cultural immersion, language courses, and volunteer opportunities.

IFRE Volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

IFRE volunteer programs give volunteers the chance to completely change their life while enjoying Sri Lanka's including tropical forestsgolden beachesmagnificent mountains, and popular tourist destinations.

Their programs are primarily focused on teaching English in local schools, elephant orphanages, and turtle conservation projects, supporting local orphanages for children, as well as teaching Buddhist monks.

IFRE programs usually start on a Monday, but they allow some flexibility if this is not convenient. All projects last a minimum of 1 week up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

IFRE primary projects in Sri Lanka are:

Work in an orphanage (Galle):

Volunteers are expected to teach English for 3-4 hours a day in a local school or orphanage, help with teaching physical and dental hygiene care, assist children with their homework, and also help monitor their academic progress.

Teach Buddhist monks (Galle):

On this program volunteers teach monks and nuns aged between 8-21 years old, assist with various extra-curricular activities such as sports, arts and music, and teach English at a Piriven (religious college) Volunteers will have a great opportunity learn a lot about enlightening Buddhist philosophies, culture, and teachings.

Teach English (Galle):

Volunteers work in rural schools teaching spoken and written English, assisting with extra-curricular activities like arts, sports, or music and also helping the school administration staff.

Work in an elephant orphanage (Kegalle):

This elephant orphanage project focuses on four main themes: caring for elephants, an eco-farm project, an after-school English program, and a mobile veterinary unit.

Work in elephant orphanage (Pinnawala):

Volunteers will help the mahouts (elephant handlers) with many tasks, including cleaning the sheds, mucking out the elephant enclosures, preparing milk for bottle feeding, working with the private elephants in Pinnawala Elephant Safari Center, and brushing the elephants.

IFRE Volunteers reviews

IFRE volunteers offer more than just more affordable programs than their competitors; they also give their volunteers the best experience and safest experience. This is very clear from volunteers’ reviews, which show how happy they are, and how supportive and kind their team was. You can read volunteers’ reviews and stories on the IFRE website.

Read more online reviews at Abroad ReviewsGooverseas and IFRE.

IFRE fees

IFRE offers low cost but highly respected and positively reviewed volunteer programs in Sri Lanka, and being a 501 C 3 organization all their programs fees are tax-deductible. They make every effort to maintain the low prices of their affordable programs so volunteers are able to offer their time and skills without concerns about raising huge sums of cash.

IFRE Volunteer's program fees differ depending on the length of the project and the country you choose, but all program fees are divided into two clear strands.

The application fee:

this is 299 USD and covers staff/office expenses, advertising, and so on.

The nominal weekly program fee:

which covers field support, board/room, airport pickup and transfer to project, a culture and language class and much more. (As shown in the fees table).

Volunteers pay the program fee directly to their host family and project, ensuring the money provides direct support rather than profit for middlemen.

Do you want to volunteer in Sri Lanka, home to many disadvantaged people? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of needy people?

Steep mountains, mysterious jungles, and crystal rivers, Sri Lanka has it all. Sri Lanka has beautiful scenery, friendly people, and colorful culture. It is a must-see experience!

Unfortunately, they are suffering in poverty and desperately need your help! Volunteer in Sri Lanka teaching English, working with environmental projects, or assist with health programs.

This is the perfect opportunity to help the needy while visiting a gorgeous country.

Sri Lanka Volunteer Opportunities

We have an abundance of meaningful volunteer opportunities available in Sri Lanka. You can choose from helping in an orphanage for children, working with elephants, and conservation projects.

Find out more about:

Available Volunteer Opportunities in Srilanka

We have an abundance of meaningful volunteer opportunities available in Sri Lanka. You can choose from helping in an orphanage for children, working with elephants, and conservation projects.

Volunteer in a Sri Lanka Orphanage

We work with the local orphanages in Galle to help provide a safe home for these disadvantaged abandoned children. Volunteering in the Sri Lanka orphanage will change your life and create rewarding memories for you and the children.

You can spend your time showing these orphans love and compassion and making a positive impact on their lives. The orphanages in Sri Lanka are desperately in need of eager, caring volunteers.

Required Skills : Prior skills are not needed to volunteer in Sri Lanka’s orphanage. We need volunteers to be patient and compassionate with the children is all.

Responsibilities for Volunteers: Sri Lanka orphanage volunteers will teach English a few hours each day, help with homework, and monitor their school progress. You can also help teach the children hygiene and other life skills, play fun games, and help with cooking and serving the meals.

Elephant Conservation(Kegalle)

Sri Lanka elephant volunteers will work on the elephant conservation that is over 15 acres of land for the elephants to roam. These elephants have been rescued from abusive owners.

You will work directly with the elephant trainers learning all about these gigantic loving animals. This is a wonderful hands-on project for those wanting to work with elephants and conservation efforts.

Requirements: Experience is not needed to volunteer with elephants in Sri Lanka. You should know the project is mainly outdoors. We request our volunteers to be eager and compassionate about working with animals. You must also respect the staff and locals at all times.

Volunteer Responsibilities: Elephant orphanage volunteers in Sri Lanka will help with a variety of chores. You will work directly with mahouts, they are the elephant trainers, and also help the staff and volunteer in the local schools.

Elephant Care: Elephant volunteers will take care of the them each day with a variety of tasks. You will help feed, bathe, and play with your very own elephant. You will also assist with administrative tasks, fundraising activities, and basic maintenance of the facilities.

Eco-farm Project: Volunteers will work on the eco farm located on the elephant orphanage. You will help plant and harvest the fruits and vegetables used to feed the elephants. You will also participate in educating the community on the importance of healthy and organic foods.

Mobile Veterinary Unit (MVU): Elephant volunteers in Sri Lanka will have the rare opportunity to work with the mobile veterinary unit. Many elephant owners cannot afford the vet costs, so the elephant conservation strives to provide free medical care to those who need it.

You will travel far across the countryside helping the MVU gaining valuable vet experience and seeing the sights of Sri Lanka.

After-school English Program: As a volunteer on the elephant orphanage, you will assist with English lessons for after school programs. Students come in all ages for you to provide fun and interactive lessons.

Work in elephant orphanage (Pinnawala )

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka is a well-traveled destination for tourists. The rescue center takes care of rescued, injured, and abused elephants. It also serves as a breeding sanctuary for these endangered elephants.

As an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will have the dazzling experience of working with these gentle giants and their loving care takers.

Required Skills: Specific skills are not required to volunteer with the elephant orphanage. All we want is for you to be compassionate with the animals and eager to jump in and get your hands dirty where ever you are needed.

Volunteer Tasks: As a volunteer, you will work at the elephant orphanage a few hours each morning then head to the house for lunch with all the volunteers. After lunch, you will have free time. You can work again in the evenings if you wish. You will help cleaning the elephant shelters, caring for the elephants, and preparing bottles for the baby elephants.

Arrangement of Room/Food/Supervision

During you Sri Lanka volunteer program we will handle all your needs. You will stay with a host family who will provide you with sleeping arrangements and three cooked meals a day. If you stay at the onsite hotel at our Kegalle location, you will eat your three meals a day in the local restaurant.

Our local staff will be in touch with you throughout your entire volunteer program. You can contact them anytime day or night with questions or concerns. We are here to serve you.

Are You Interested to Volunteer in Sri Lanka?
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Global Crossroad (USA)

volunteer in sri lanka

About the company

Global Crossroad was established in 2003, in Dallas, Texas, USA and is a fast growing international volunteer abroad company.  Global Crossroad was featured in many international medias when it launched “tsumani reconstruction project” in 2005 in sri lanka building 26 hours and donating more than $200,000 for the tsumani victims.

They offer affordable volunteer abroad programs in 18 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and have successfully organized 18,000 volunteers to work on them.

Global Crossroads support grassroots projects largely based in rural areas and focused on children in orphanages and women. They aim to offer their volunteers a unique opportunity for a true culturally immersive experience via their cultural tours and a uniquely designed language program.

They have been specializing in volunteer abroad programs for the last four years, offering seven amazing programs including: internship abroad, volunteer abroad, summer escapes, mini-venture, paid teaching, humanitarian trips, and scientific research expeditions. Volunteers can choose from this wide range of choices according to their interests and needs.

Global Crossroad volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

Global Crossroad offers highly flexible programs which are open to some customization if a volunteer has a special request, for example to take part in two different projects in one country.

Global Crossroads offers inexpensive volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka starting at $155. Placements range from two to twelve weeks in length, and can be extended further in some countries.

Programs in Sri Lanka are:

Volunteer in an orphanage (Galle):

The volunteers teach life-skills and basic conversational English, develop creative programs such as arts, dance and music, help children manage their health or personal hygiene needs, and assist with food preparation and cooking.

Teach English (Galle):

The volunteers on this program will teach conversational English, science, math or physical education to students aged between 6-16 years old, and generally interact with students to engage them in conversation using English. Language teaching volunteers are encouaged to use active lerning methods in the classroom.

Teach English to Buddhist monks (Galle):

On this program volunteers teach English to monks between 8-21 years old, and help out on the extra-curricular activities program by offering classes based on their own skills and interests. These could be based around art, sports, music for example.

Elephant conservation project (Kegalle):

For this program volunteers join projects such as the eco-farm, English teaching, the mobile veterinary unit, as well as helping with fundraising, admin work and general maintenance.

Elephant conservation project (Pinnawala):

Volunteers are expected to help mahouts (elephant handlers) clean the elephant enclosures and sheds, as well as prepare the milk bottles for feeding elephants.

Global Crossroad reviews

Global Crossroads offers best volunteer programs in Sri Lanka, and all programs are flexible and safe. The positive experience they offer is reflected by their volunteers’ reviews about the exotic vacation in Sri Lanka with endless smiles. Take a look at their online website to read hundreds of volunteer reviews and stories.

More online reviews at Abroad Review and Globalcrossroad

Global Crossroads fees

Global Crossroads offers cheapest volunteer opporutnities in srilanka and they are always striving to keep the cost down for their volunteers. Their program costs vary depending on how long you choose to stay and where you plan to go, but fees are always broken down into two parts, as shown below.

The application fee:

  • of 299 USD, which covers staff salaries in the USA office, advertising, program promotion and so on.

The weekly program fee:

  •  which will be paid directly to host families and projects. (As shown in the fees table).
  • the weekly fee cover meals, accommodation, the cost of your in-country coordinator, pre-departure information, certificate of completion, and fundraising ideas.

Love Volunteers (New Zealand)

volunteer in sri lanka

About the company

Love Volunteers was established in 2009 in New Zealand. They offer volunteering abroad programs in more than 34 developing countries worldwide. They also provide one of the most cost-effective ways for volunteering as well as helping local communities in the 3rd world countries around the world!

They have very cheap programs, with fees starting from $200 per week, and these low prices reflect how this company is fundamentally different to similar organizations. The staff are passionate people who are totally dedicated to helping volunteers and local communities worldwide, and choose to operate without overheads such as company cars or a downtown office.

Love Volunteers always works closely with local organizations to feed as much money and skills into the local communities as they can, and to keep the administration costs to the bare minimum.

This popular volunteer organization places thousands of volunteers a year into short-term and long-term voluntary service positions in the Americas, Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Europe.

Love Volunteers volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

Love Volunteers offers an outstanding volunteer program in Sri Lanka for English speaking volunteers over 18 years old. Volunteers will have the chance to develop a unique insight into the people and culture of this amazing country during their program, which may run from 1 – 24 weeks.

Volunteers will help on one of the following projects in Sri Lanka:

Working with children with disabilities (Badulla):

This project is available only in Badulla, a scenic area located in the north of Sri Lanka. The project focus is on improving the skills of children with disabilities, and volunteers with valuable skills in any area, whether they are technical, artistic, or anything else can participate.

Education program (Badulla):

This project is also available in Badulla, offering volunteers a chance to work alongside local teachers, supporting children as they learn English and IT skills. This project provides key foundation skills, and volunteers are free to work on one or both topics – depending on their personal experience and strengths.

Pre-School Education (Badulla, Galle and Wattala):

The volunteers on this program will teach the alphabet, teach children in kindergarten about personal hygiene, assist at meal times, help with cleaning duties, monitor attendance, play games, and help develop the children’s physical health through activities.

Healthcare and Medical (Badulla):

This program is designed for volunteers who have medical or nursing backgrounds to assist with daily activities at a health center. Duties will include helping the resident doctor, educating the community about the effects of alcohol, smoking etc., and working with pregnant mothers at the medical clinic.

Working With Children (Badulla, Galle, and Wattala):

Volunteers on this project are expected to assist the orphanage staff with some of the daily routine tasks such as: cleaning, bathing, feeding, assisting with nursing care, dressing, organizing exercise activities and games, laundry, and personal/environmental hygiene education. Volunteers in this program are required to wear conservative clothing, such as modest tops and knee length pants.

Love Volunteers reviews

Volunteers' reviews show how friendly the Love Volunteers team is, how delicious their food is, and how helpful their coordinators are, which made their experiences safe and unforgettable.

More online reviews at Volunteer ForeverGo AbroadGo Overseas and Trip Advisor

Love Volunteers fees

Love Volunteers have a low cost registration fee - only $249 which is valid for 12 months -because they keep their overheads down to make sure volunteers pay the lowest possible fees. Their affordable volunteer program fees in Sri Lanka start from $200 per week, which covers food, accommodation, transport, orientation, and in-country support staff during the placement.

Are You Interested to Volunteer in Sri Lanka?
Get fast, FREE quotes and Info from multiple providers so you can compare and save!

International Volunteer HQ (New Zealand)

International Volunteer HQ was originally established in 2007 in New Zealand and is known as IVHQ. Their primary focus is on providing an affordable volunteer travel experience which is safe, high quality and responsible. They operate in more than 30 countries worldwide, and have successfully placed around thousands of volunteers on a project so far.

IVHQ help their volunteers develop realistic expectations about what they will achieve on their programs, and they are committed to high standards of risk management and safety. Their amazing programs are designed to deliver sustainable value to communities, their partners, and the environment.

IVHQ provides cultural immersion experiences, achieved by having volunteers both live and work with local people, organizations, communities, and families.

IVHQ volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

IVHQ has a wide variety of cheap volunteering abroad projects in Sri Lanka, in areas such as; rural community development, childcare, teaching, wild elephant conservation, elderly care, special needs, temple renovation, medical, and turtle conservation.

Their programs usually begin on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, and volunteers can usually choose to stay for between 1 – 12 weeks. (Some projects, such as the wild elephant conservation placement requires a minimum stay of 2 weeks.)

IVHQ require volunteers to be 18 years or over, unless they are with a parent or guardian. Adequate volunteer travel insurance and a criminal background check are both compulsory, and evidence of these must be shown to the local IVHQ team on arrival.

Every month, between 10 to 30 volunteers start on an IVHQ program, so you will always have plenty of people to meet and make friends with, from various cultures. These high numbers also allow the company to provide lower priced projects and a solid supportive infrastructure to their volunteers.

IVHQ primary projects in Sri Lanka are:


Volunteers offer English classes to locals who can’t afford private language lessons. Volunteers will be placed in pre-schools, local temples, and villages, where they will run 2-3 classes per day, with students ranging in age from 3-15 years old.


On this project volunteers will be placed in a hospital in Kandy, where they will be able to work alongside local hospital staff as well as learn how to perform medical procedures with basic resources. Volunteers for this project must be a student in medical School to be eligible.

Elderly care

Volunteers will be placed in an elderly care home which provides free accommodation and care for about 75 adults, who might otherwise have little or no support in their old ages. The volunteer is expected to spend some time working on activities such as assisting with cleaning and bathing, helping the sick elders take medication, talking with them, as well as helping to clean the home and prepare food for meals.

Special needs

This is a sensitive program which is primarily suited to volunteers who are really passionate about looking after children or adults with mental or physical disabilities. Volunteers who join this program will be placed in special needs schools, care centers, or homes. Facilities in this field are under-resourced and really benefit from the time and skills volunteers offer.

Rural community development

Volunteers assist with the long-term development of local communities through childcare, teaching, and renovation activities, in high-schools, pre-schools, monasteries, and also temples. This is a unique opportunity to experience traditional village life in Hanguranketha’s rural community.

Temple renovation

This project helps volunteers to learn about Sri Lankan construction methods, where things are built without any help from modern machinery. The volunteer work will be mainly focused on cleaning and repainting the temples, and assisting with the restoration of the paintings and sculptures inside them.

Wild Elephant conservation

Volunteers on this project will observe and monitor the wild elephants’ behavior, as well as carrying out research-related tasks in Wasgamuwa. The main focus of this project is developing effective measures to resolve the human-elephant conflict. Volunteers map biodiversity using surveying techniques, assess conflicts, and develop sustainable rural livelihood initiatives.

IVHQ volunteers reviews

IVHQ offer readers a simple and effective way to check reviews on their website according to destination and project making it really easy to find the information you need. Take the time to check out the reviews from thousands of happy volunteers, offering positive feedback about IVHG's coordinators, food, program flexibility, support, and safety.

More online reviews at Volunteer foreverGo AbroadAbroad ReviewGo Overseas and Alumni Testimonials.  


IVHQ offer an affordable but highly rated volunteering program in Sri Lanka. Program fees are set based on the destination and the length of stay, and divided as follows:

The application registration fee:

  • which is279 USD, and fully refundable if the volunteer decides to not go

The nominal weekly fee:

  • for all volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka (except the wild elephant conservation project), starts from $260 per week. (As shown in the fees table).
  • the nominal weekly fee for the wild elephant conservation project is $960 for 2 weeks, which is the minimum length of stay for this project
  • the weekly fees include meals, airport pick-up, accommodation, in-country 24/7 volunteer support, program supervision, orientation, and in-country administration costs.

Volunteers cover costs relating to visas, criminal background check, travel insurance, in-country trips and tours, vaccinations, flights, transfer back to the airport, souvenirs, and any additional spending money, (about $30 per week in Sri Lanka).

Plan My Gap Year (United Kingdom)

volunteer in sri lanka

Plan My Gap Year was established by in 2011 in the United Kingdom. This award-winning organization has low cost volunteer programs all over the world, which have been developed as an alternative to the very expensive programs offered by many corporate companies.

PMGY currently place more than 2000 volunteers on projects located in 11 countries throughout the world, and they are still growing. Their structured volunteer programs offer affordable and 100% transparent fees, safety, training and support, financial security, as well as responsible travel, the personal touch, and a fun overall experience.

Plan My Gap Year volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

PMGY offers their projects in Ambalangoda, which is located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s considered to be one of the perfect places to volunteer as it has a safe, peaceful, and traditional community, as well as an incredible coastline. Their programs range in length from 2-24 weeks, depending on the project and destination, and the weekly fees are less than $200. (Note all prices are listed in British pounds on their website).

Volunteers can join one of the following projects in Sri Lanka:

PMGY real Sri Lanka experience

The minimum duration on this project is 4 weeks, (2 weeks exploring the island and 2 weeks volunteering), the minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $265. The two weeks of exploring include chilling by the beach in Mirissa, spotting leopards in Yala national park, stick fishing in Weligama, taking a cycle tour through ancient Ceylon ruins, and a visit to Kandy and the cultural triangle.

During the second two weeks the volunteer will spend time in the community and learn more about how life for the Sri Lankan people really is.

Sri Lanka building & community work volunteers

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 24 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $198. The volunteers will need to make a $114 donation to cover the costs of the materials and skilled labor which are required to support the initiative.

Sri Lanka elephant experience

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 4 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is about $300. Volunteers are expected to work alongside mahouts and help with daily activities such as washing, feeding, and walking the elephants. Volunteers are advised to select a travel insurance policy which covers working with elephants.

Sri Lanka English teaching volunteers

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 24 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $198. Volunteers are expected to teach English in two different types of placement: Tsunami Villages - an after-school education program which works in communities displaced by the Tsunami of 2004, and Temple schools where volunteers have the amazing opportunity to teach English to Buddhist monks!

Sri Lanka medical experience

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 12 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $213. Volunteers with limited or no experience can help in  private hospitals, while those with a verified medical background can help in government hospitals. The company is currently working on developing a program called The Community Eye Clinic, to provide free eye care services to the local community.

Sri Lanka orphanage volunteers

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 24 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $198. PMGY supports 3 orphanage placements, one for girls funded by an international NGO, and two for boys, one funded by the government and the other run by Buddhist monks.

Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteers

The minimum duration is 2 weeks and the maximum is 24 weeks, minimum age is 17 years old, and the minimum weekly fee is $289. Volunteers are expected to clean and refill the turtle tanks, take care of the nesting area, take the turtles out of their tanks and spend some time with them on the beach, feed them, clean the project premises and the relevant beach area, collect turtle eggs and move them to safe locations for them to hatch, and finally to release the baby turtles into the sea.

Plan My Gap Year volunteer reviews

PMGY showcase their reviews on Facebook. Volunteers are happy with their experiences on a PMGY cheap volunteer abroad programs in Sri Lanka, and often share their stories and photos on social networks. Most reviews mention the high quality of the coordinator teams, the friendly environment, and the desire to repeat the experience.

Read more online reviews at Go Overseas and Review Center.

Plan My Gap Year fees

PMGY offers very affordable volunteer opportunities in sri lanka. Their program fees are set according to the destination and the length of stay. Their program fees are divided as follows:

The application registration fee:

  • of226 USD, which includes a volunteer handbook, 24 hours support, and 100% financial protection

The nominal weekly fee:

  • which starts from $198 and varies between projects.
  • includes accommodation, 3 daily meals, airport pickup, entrance fees, transportation, in-country coordinator support and a T-shirt.

Their prices don’t include flights ($680-$1060), insurance ($21 per week), return airport transfer ($72), visa ($30), and criminal background checks ($38).

Are You Interested to Volunteer in Sri Lanka?
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GapXperience Asia

volunteer in sri lanka

GapXperience Asia (WLS International) was established in 2004 in the United Kingdom, and is considered to be a leading gap year provider, offering over 80 gap and volunteer projects all over Asia.

They offer affordable volunteer, gap year, cultural and adventure experiences to students, gap year travelers, career break explorers and participants looking for a meaningful trip. WLS International are a responsible company who has supported many projects in Asia for more than 10 years, including sponsoring poor children in the Philippines, building toilets for citizens in poor areas of Thailand, and building water tanks around Cambodia.

GapXperience Asia Volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

Their projects in Sri Lanka start from $250 per week, with a minimum 3 weeks stay and deep discounts for any additional weeks. Their volunteer program is based in the sacred city of Kandy, and the first week of their program focuses on introducing the culture of Sri Lanka to the volunteers, to help them feel comfortable in a new country.

The minimum age for participating in their program is 18, but volunteers who are 16 or 17 years old can join with the written permission of their parents. All volunteers are required to bring a criminal background check with them in order to join the program.

Primary projects in Sri Lanka are:

Teaching project

This project aims to help children in the villages to improve their language skills via volunteer run classes in English, drama, music and other foreign languages. Volunteers may also assist local teachers and staff to create teaching plans. Volunteers will be placed in local temples, pre-schools, and villages and teach 2-3 classes per day with students between 3-15 years old.

Building and renovation project

On this project volunteers help in the rebuilding and renovation of Buddhist temples, or in some cases, community centers, around Kandy. The main work includes interacting with children and villagers, repainting temples, construction, cleaning in and around the temples and community centers, as well as helping organize programs for the temples to become community centers for the village’s youth.

Volunteers reviews

Volunteers consider GapXperience Asia to be a trustworthy company who offer a cheap volunteer program in Sri Lanka. Volunteers tend to praise the initial culture week, which set them up well for the volunteering aspect of the program.

Find more online reviews and testimonials at Abroad ReviewsGo OverseasGo Abroad.

GapXperience Asia fees

This company does not charge either administration, registration, and credit card fees or a fee to cover maintaining an office. Instead volunteers pay only fixed price of their program.

fees start from $750 for 3 weeks (the minimum period to stay)

the fee includes the volunteer program, airport pickup, accommodation, meals,

support, and pre-departure information. (Note that the construction project requires a surcharge of $50 weekly.)


volunteer in sri lanka

The GoEco volunteer organization was established in 2005 in the United States, and ran its first volunteer project at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Centre, directly on the Mediterranean Sea, in 2006. They business has grown substantially since that time, and now has projects in more than 33 countries, and a thousand volunteers who participate every year in their programs.

Their primary focus is to offer an affordable volunteer program, enable volunteers to experience more different rewarding kinds of tourism, encourage ecological and volunteer tourism which promotes sustainable development, establish an up-to-date in-depth database of volunteering projects worldwide and encourage volunteers to not work only for themselves, but also to work for the benefit of others.

GoEco volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

GoEco offers two projects in Sri Lanka:  one has an humanitarian focus (childcare and community work) and is based in Kandy, and the other involving wildlife, (sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation), which is in Ambalangoda. Both projects are 2-8 weeks long but have different fee scales.  

GoEco primary projects in Sri Lanka are:

Childcare and community work

The minimum stay on this program is 2 weeks and the maximum is 8 weeks. The first week is all about orientation, to let people discover the country and get experience on how to deal with everything there. Volunteers are then assigned to specific projects, which vary depending on the current openings and a volunteer's personal preferences.

The projects include: a teaching program, a child care project, and temple construction, all of which involve a five day work week. For an additional fee volunteers can add extras on to their programs, including a tropical beach week, yoga and meditation week, and trekking week.

This program requires a high level of English, police clearance, as well as immunizations.

Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation

The minimum stay on this program is also 2 weeks and the maximum is 8 weeks. On this project volunteers are expected to work closely with locals to rescue and rehabilitate the injured sea turtles.

The volunteer will usually spend their days on the beach, caring for the sea turtles and their environment, as well s educating tourists about the nature of the program. Volunteers can add fun activity experiences to their program, for an additional cost.

This program requires police clearance, immunizations, good physical fitness, and the ability to work in teams.

GoEco volunteers reviews

GoEco has both good volunteer reviews and recommendations from major media sources such as The Guardian, MSN, Huffington Post, US News & World Report and Journeys For Good on their volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka.

More online reviews at Go AbroadGo Overseas and Abroad Review

GoEco fees

The volunteer pays only the fixed price of their program. The childcare and community work projects start from $770 for 2 weeks, and the wildlife programs run from $1050, again for 2 weeks.

GoEco offers a low cost volunteer program in Sri Lanka compared to competitors who are offering the same programs. All prices include local in-country support, accommodation, food, pre-departure kit, orientation, airport transfers, as well as insurance. The weekly price doesn't include any fees related to visa, personal expenses, local transportation, flights, or transportation back to the airport.

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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (Sri Lanka)

volunteer in sri lanka

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 in Sri Lanka. It was originally founded by theDepartment of Wildlife Conservation to protect and care for orphaned elephants found in jungles. It is now used as an orphanage for around 84 rescued, injured, or abused wild elephants. The main attraction there is the rewarding chance to observe the elephants as the herds are bathing, interacting socially, as well as playing.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is one of few companies who offer low cost elephant orphanage volunteer program in Sri Lanka. The minimum stay for this project is 1 week and the maximum is 12 weeks. They can also arrange a one or two day visit.

Their elephant volunteer project at Pinnawala elephant orphanage offers volunteers life changing, low cost, hands-on experience. The staff are really passionate about the idea of volunteering and are dedicated to provide well-supported programs to participants.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

Volunteers will learn everything from the anatomy of elephants to the complicated history which affected the elephant populations in Sri Lanka. They will also assist with the day-to-day running of the Pinnawala elephant orphanage.

Volunteers should bring a mobile phone, flashlight/torch, working boots, gloves, camera, mosquito repellent, towel, comfortable clothes, sunscreen, and shoes suitable for getting dirty or wet.

Volunteers will be expected to help mahouts (elephant handlers) to clean the sheds and elephant enclosures, prepare milk for bottle feeding young elephants, feed the elephants, help at bathing time, and carry out basic daily health checks on the elephants, harvest food for the elephants from the jungle, keep the project site clean and tidy, collect the elephants’ dung and food waste for composting and attend some lecture on Asian elephants.

During their free time volunteers can go camping, visit old temples and meet monks, try white water rafting, climb mountains, relax at the beach, visit local villages to attend a night party at the river bank.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage volunteers reviews

Volunteers generally enjoy their time working on this program, and mention how supportive the coordinators are, how safe the place is, and how flexible the booking process is.

More online reviews at Trip AdvisorGo Overseas and Travbuddy.  

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage fees

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage offers highly affordable and best-valued prices for their volunteer program in Sri Lanka as they charge$715 for1 week and a big reduction for additional weeks (which would be only $400!) 

The fee includes the Pinnawala Orphanage charges, arranging the program, meeting you at the nearest airport/station (airport pick up), accommodation, food, (3 full meals per day), transfer to the placement site, in-country team support and backup, 24 hours emergency support, 2 free T-shirts, Sri Lankan sim card, sightseeing activities, and a one hour Ayurveda body massage with herbal oils. Their prices don’t include flights, insurance, return airport transfer, and visa.

The Great Projects (UK)

The Great Project was established in the United Kingdom and has since expanded and added an office in Australia. They offer around 35 projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, all of which combine the hard work of passionate project facilitators, local authorities, and volunteers to create progressive, sustainable and effective programs.

The placements The Great Project offers focus on animal rescue and conservation, and the people whose lives are connected to them. While providing volunteers with a truly memorable volunteering experience, the company also offer generous financial support to the projects they are working on.

The Great Projects volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka

The Great Projects low cost program in Sri Lanka attracts hundreds of volunteers each year, all keen to help conserve iconic species of wildlife in this beautiful part of the world. There are two projects available – both offering safe and secure places to stay, (with a host family or in a hostel), and three full locally sourced meals a day.  

The Great Projects primary projects in Sri Lanka are:

The Great Turtle project (Kosgoda)

Volunteers can choose to stay from one week through to twelve. Volunteers in this project are expected to monitor sea turtle activities, conserve the local nesting sites, collect or rescue eggs to protect them from predators, and release them into the sea again at night.

The Great Elephant project (Wasgamuwa)

The minimum stay for this project is 2 weeks, with 12 weeks being the maximum time allowed. Volunteers on this project help with the researching and monitoring of the Sri Lankan elephant population and with general elephant conservation strategies.

The Great Projects volunteers reviews

Volunteer alumni consider them to be a very customer-centered organization, offering fun projects and supportive co-coordinators.

The Great Projects fees

The weekly fee varies according to the project and the length of stay. For example, The Great Turtle Project weekly fee is $670 per week, while seven days on The Great Elephant Project costs $1350. The comprehensive list of inclusions (see below) means this organization provides one of the most inexpensive volunteer programs in Sri Lanka.

The project fee covers the donation to your project, airport transfers, accommodation, tour activities, food, all trips and excursions outlined in the itinerary, 24-hour emergency support, marketing, administration, staff salaries, and insurance. They also donate 30% of the fee to the local community where the project is located..

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Some people reading this article have probably completed a volunteer placement in Sri Lanka, perhaps even with one of the organizations mentioned. If that is you it would be great to have your feedback on the experience. On the other hand, if you're reading this because you are interested in volunteering in Sri Lanka we hope the information has been helpful. We'd love to know which organization covered sounds good to you, and why.

If Sri Lanka is not in your list for now, you might be looking for best and affordable volunteer programs in  Nepal, Cambodia, India, and Thailand.

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