About Rustic Volunteers Sri Lanka

Volunteer in
Sri Lanka

A Life-changing, Rewarding and Affordable Sri Lankan Experience!

Travel to a tropical paradise and volunteer in Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for an unforgettable volunteer experience. Your time in Sri Lanka will not only forever change your life, but also the lives of others. Sri Lanka has charmed travelers with palm-fringed beaches, diverse landscapes and spectacular monuments. Known as the center of Buddhism and "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean," volunteers can lose themselves in lush tropical forests. Volunteers can wander through diverse natural habitats, enjoy the flora and fauna, relax on pristine beaches, engage in Sri Lankan culture, learn about Buddhism and ultimately enhance the lives of local islanders. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka with Rustic Volunteer, you can experience this beautiful island nation and contribute to projects benefiting orphanages, monasteries, schools and elephants. Rustic Volunteer assures that regardless of the project you choose, you'll have an enriching experience.

Email us now for more information! Rustic Volunteer assures you that your time in Sri Lanka will be meaningful, memorable and exciting, both for you and for those you help!

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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

Duration Projects in Galle Medical Project Millennium Elephant Pinnewala Elephant
  1 Week   $110    $260   $300   $275
  2 Weeks   $220    $430   $565   $550
  3 Weeks   $330    $590   $815   $825
  4 Weeks   $440    $750   $1,040   $1,100
  5 Weeks   $550    $970        -   $1,375
  6 Weeks   $660    $1,180        -   $1,650
  7 Weeks   $770    $1,390        -   $1,925
  8 Weeks   $880    $1,600        -   $2,200
  9 Weeks   $990    $1,810        -   $2,475
  10 Weeks   $1,100    $1,980        -   $2,750
  11 Weeks   $1,210    $2,150        -   $3,025
  12 Weeks   $1,320    $2,320        -   $3,300

Airport Pickup and Transfer to Galle (2 hours) $85

Airport Pickup and Transfer to Kegalle (80 KM) $70

Airport pick up & transfer to Pinnawala (80 km) $70

Transfer from Galle to Kegalle & vice-versa (3 hours) $125

Language and Culture $250

Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day

  • Program fee covers
    • Accommodation
    • 3 meals a day
    • Donation to project
    • In-country office expenses
    • Field support
    • Project coordination
    • Emergency support
    • Airport welcome
  • Program fee does not cover
    • International flights
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Immunizations
    • Personal food and beverages
    • Entertainment
    • Local transportation
    • Laundry
    • Communication (telephone, internet)
    • Personal items
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Volunteer Programs in Srilanka

Work in Orphanage (Galle)

As a volunteer in Sri Lanka working in an orphanage, you will undoubtedly enrich the lives of orphans and brighten their futures. Conflict and poverty have left many children as orphans, struggling to survive without their parents and basic necessities. There is no government help for orphaned children and they rely on orphanages to provide them with a home and security. Unfortunately, many orphanages are under funded and lack staff and resources. Many solely rely on donations from abroad and the help of volunteers. Rustic Volunteer is attempting to help the orphanages by inviting you to volunteer in the orphanage program in Sri Lanka. Through your time and dedication, orphanages can stay afloat and provide children with the love, friendship, care and education they need and deserve.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer in Sri Lanka working for orphanage, you’ll be involved in many activities that will raise the moral of the children, boost their confidence and open doors to better futures. Responsibilities will vary depending on individual skills and interests and the needs of the orphanage, but may include:

  • Teaching English
  • Teaching other subjects such as math, science, health, etc.
  • Helping home-schooled children in the orphanage
  • Assisting/educating children in areas of personal hygiene (i.e. brushing, flossing their teeth)
  • In the afternoons/evenings, organizing activities, games, sing-a-longs and dances as well as other creative activities to teach the children
  • Helping children with homework
  • Observing academic progress
  • Playing with children
  • Helping orphanage staff with administrative tasks
  • Cleaning and helping children with daily chores
  • Helping to maintain orphanage garden
  • Cooking and helping local staff during meal times
  • Assisting local staff with general maintenance of the orphanage
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific skills and qualifications required to volunteer in the orphanage project in Sri Lanka. Regardless, you should be passionate about uplifting the lives of poor children and working hard during the volunteer project. You should also be flexible and open-minded during the program as the daily life and culture in Sri Lanka will be new to you.

Sri Lanka - Teaching Buddhist Monks

This is the perfect project for those curious about Buddhism, as you can teach monks and in return, learn about their ways of life. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka teaching Buddhist to monks, you will have the chance to work in a Pirivena, a monastic college educating young monks ages 8-21. Sri Lankan monks typically learn only Buddhist scriptures in their native language or in Pali, the language most Buddhist text are written in. However, today the interaction between monks and the global society are increasing daily. More and more people are showing greater interest in learning about Buddhism and are coming to Sri Lanka to learn, but find a language barrier. Unfortunately many Pirivenas are lack the resources to teach their monks English. Rustic Volunteer is now collaborating with Pirivenas and offers volunteers a wonderful opportunity to teach monks at the monastery. In return, you’ll experience Buddhist rituals and meditations carried out inside the monastery.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer teaching English in a Buddhist temple school in Sri Lanka, your responsibilities and tasks will vary depending on your skills and interests. Daily activities may include:

  • Teaching English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation
  • Planning lessons and curriculum development
  • Leading classes to teach basic conversational English
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as dancing, games, music, sports, art, etc.
  • Helping monks with their homework
  • Assisting Pirivena administrations
  • Fundraising for the monastery
  • Helping around the monastery
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications or skills required to join this project besides a fluency in English (not necessarily a native English speaker). You should also respect the monks at all times and the respect the culture and values of the monastery. If you’re open minded and flexible during the project, you’ll enjoy your stay and achieve more.

Sri Lanka - Elephant Conservation (Pinnawala)

Volunteer in the elephant conservation project in Sri Lanka and befriend elephants! This is the perfect project for animal lovers. Volunteers care for elephants throughout the project to care for not only the project’s elephants, but also elephants throughout Sri Lanka. This is a unique project that combines elephant care and conservation with local grassroots projects. As a volunteer, you will work with elephants to provide daily care and if necessary, medical treatment. Volunteers will work under the direct supervision of elephant handlers (known locally as mahouts). As you get to know your elephant, you will also learn to recognize its sounds, movements, moods and feelings. Volunteers directly interact with elephants by providing them with friendship, love, attention and basic maintenance. In addition, volunteers teach locals English and help to work at an eco-farm to grow healthy and fresh fruit, vegetables and medical herbs used for the elephants and for the onsite restaurant. Volunteer in the elephant conservation project in Sri Lanka now and immerse yourself into Sri Lankan culture, make new friends, explore a beautiful country, have an unforgettable experience and play with elephants!

Project/Volunteer's Life

Volunteers will start work at 8:30 in the morning and end roughly at 11:30 a.m. Your main responsibilities will include helping the mahouts, or elephant handlers, clean the sheds, mucking out the elephant enclosures, and preparing milk for bottle feeding. That being said, however, you will also enjoy plenty of free time to sightsee and explore. Around 11:30 a.m., they will head to your accommodations a few meters from the orphanage to enjoy a locally prepared lunch.

In the afternoon, volunteers will have the opportunity to relax by the river enjoying the scenic nature surrounding them while getting to see the elephants playing and bathing in the river from 2-4 p.m. They can also help the mahouts wash the elephants with brushes made of coconut husks. If you want to spend even more time with the elephants, you can wash and work with the private elephants in the Pinnawala Elephant Safari Center from 4 p.m. on.

Skills and Qualification

No skills or qualifications are needed to volunteer in this project. We just ask that you have a passion for working with animals and are willing to devote your time and energy to treating these animals humanely, making sure they are always well-taken care of.

Teaching English (Galle)

Travel, volunteer and teach English in Sri Lanka and open doors for others while exploring a tropical paradise! Due to international trade, tourism and the use of English as one of the official government languages, English has achieved a great prominence in Sri Lanka. If Sri Lankan people have strong English skills, their personal and professional opportunities are tenfold. Unfortunately, English lessons are often under funded and there is often a shortage of qualified teachers. This often results in students not developing a good grasp of English. Rustic Volunteer is collaborating with local schools and helping young students develop proper English skills by asking volunteers to work in the project. You’ll teach eager students and develop their ability to comprehend, write and speak well in English. With your time, dedication and passion, your students will have more prosperous futures.

Sri Lanka has school breaks for 2 weeks in April, 2 last weeks in August and whole of December. Volunteers can teach in orphanage during this time.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Each volunteer/traveler teaching English in Sri Lanka will work with teachers and school administrations to help students ages 6-16. Daily activities will vary, but may include:

  • Teaching basic English to the children
  • Teaching other subjects such as math or science
  • Playing with the children
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as music, dancing, sports, art, games, etc.
  • Teaching life skills such as painting, sewing, cooking, etc
  • Promoting nutrition and health
  • Helping to fundraise for schools
  • Working with local teachers on curriculum development
  • Assisting school administrations with daily tasks
  • Helping with basic maintenance of schools
  • Aiding local school staff in any way possible
Skills and Qualification

You must possess good English. Teachers do not need to be native English speakers as long as they have good grasp of English and be able to teach grammar rules. Volunteers should be flexible and open minded while working in a new culture.

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Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field supervision for the duration of projects and optional travel packages. In China, volunteers in Xi'an stay in our home base, a permanent home established for our international volunteers. Our home base in China is located in a safe and clean neighborhood. There are internet cafés, restaurants, local bus stations, a police station and supermarkets near our home base. The home base provides a comfortable place to relax after a long day. There are several bedrooms (which may be shared with a same-gender volunteer) and community areas. There is a shared kitchen, television and shared bathrooms, which have running water and "western-style" toilets. Volunteers joining panda conservation project will stay in economy hotel.

Volunteers receive three local meals (Chinese food) per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We can provide vegetarian meal options, but needs must be detailed in a volunteer's application. Snacks and beverages outside of mealtimes are not provided; however, there are local restaurants and grocery stores near the residences in which we place volunteers.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. There are many layers of support for you. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff and members of the home base staff. Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. Volunteers are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Project Locations:

Orphanage Project Sri LankaThe orphanage project in Sri Lanka is available in Galle, a small but significant town on the south of the Island. Galle is known for 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and the largest remaining fortress in Asia. The town has shops, banks & internet cafes nearby. There also many local villages nearby to explore and enjoy. Volunteers in Sri Lanka can also enjoy other attractions like beaches, forests, go on elephant rides in the central highlands and immerse in fascinating local Buddhist culture and enjoy tours to famous Buddhist religious sites. You can also enjoy Buddhist festivals, parks, wildlife sanctuaries, bazaars, markets, restaurants, temples, museums, palaces, hotels and much more.

Major FAQs - Srilanka

  • Application Process
  • Please read Rustic Volunteer's 5-step application

    • You can either apply online or download the application and mail it to us after filling out the form. To complete your application process, we'll need an application fee of $200. Without the fee, you're application won't be complete and we will not process it.
    • Your application will then be forwarded to the country coordinator of Sri Lanka for processing. The coordinator will thoroughly check your application and search for the project you mentioned. The coordinator will also fix the details regarding your accommodations and meals. Your accommodation will either be fixed in a home stay, where you'll stay with a Sri Lankan family and enjoy local food or you'll be accommodated in a project hostel.
    • After the country coordinator finalizes the details of your program, the information is then passed on to us. We then forward the details to you, along with the final invoice. You will have to make your final payment six weeks before the start of your program. If your application has been expedited, the payment has to be settled as soon as possible. The placement details have local contact information, which you can use while applying for Sri Lankan visa or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.
    • You'll then start to prepare for your trip to Sri Lanka. You'll have to immunize against diseases found in Sri Lanka, get a visa to enter the country (for details on this, check the Visa section of FAQ) and book air tickets. If you want to contact us any time during your preparation, we're only a phone call away and eagerly waiting to help and advise you.
    • Once you have confirmed your tickets and arrival details please pass on the information to us (US Office). We'll inform your flight timing to the Sri Lankan country coordinator and you will be picked up at the airport, upon arrival. You can also email the country coordinator directly.
  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon the receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet the volunteers in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact hotel will be given before departure just in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to e-mail your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo

    Airport Drop:

    Rarely, a few do request an escort back to the airport; this is an extra expense of about $75. Most are very familiar and comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    Rustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from host family/hotel to the project. Our program is designed to save you the volunteer as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Monday of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to Sri Lanka are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    30- 40 hours per week

  • Visa
  • Rustic strongly suggest that all volunteers apply for a tourist visa in a timely manner before departing for India. Please call our office or contact the local India embassy to learn more about visas, visa fees, and visa extensions. Getting your tourist visa is your responsibility.

  • Health & Safety
  • Volunteers should be aware of all health and safety information before traveling to Sri Lanka. We suggest you visit some of the websites listed below.

    WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int/csr/ihr/en/ )

    General Health Tips for volunteer/travel in Sri Lanka

    • Avoid drinking tap water directly. Do not drink fountain drinks and ice cubes. Always drink bottled or boiled water or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles.
    • There have been cases of many fake bottled waters being sold in Sri Lanka. They don't stand up to the standards. Make sure the seal of the bottle isn't tampered with.
    • Do not eat hot or very spicy food. They can create stomach upset. Stay away from salads also as leaves not cleaned properly can contain bugs also. Eat for good, clean restaurants and don't try your luck with roadside vendors.
    • Always use an insect repellent if you find yourself in a mosquito-prone area. But remember, not every place is mosquito-infested and low temperatures in winters (when most tourists come to Sri Lanka) kill most bugs in the northern plains and hills.
    • If traveling in scorching heat, remember to drink enough water, use hats, sunglasses & UV lotions. Beware of the health effects that the mid day sun may cause, most importantly SUN BURN or DEHYDRATION.

    If you need doctor, ask your host family, hotel or in-country coordinator. You'll find plenty of helping hands. Most of the towns and villages in Sri Lanka have pharmacies and chemists if you want to purchase any medical supplies. The medication and the fees for the doctors are usually low.

  • Vaccination
  • Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications by CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/seasia.htm#vaccines)

    Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications

    The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to South Asia . Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

    • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact, through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water, or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
    • Hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population or are exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
    • Japanese encephalitis, if you plan to visit rural farming areas under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
    • Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in some of the countries in this region. See your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see Malaria Information for Travelers to Southeast Asia.
    • Rabies, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling or engaging in certain occupational activities.
    • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors.
    • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles and a one-time dose of polio for adults.

    Required Vaccinations

    • none
  • Money Matter
  • What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my dollar? Can I use debit card and/or credit card? Should I bring traveler's check?

    Find the Exchange Rate of Sri Lankan Rupee : http://www.xe.com/ucc/

    The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee. You can change your money upon arrival to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. There are many bank counters at the airport. We suggest you change $400 in the beginning as you can change money in any bank (some banks are near to our office).

    Most major international credit cards, including Visa and MasterCard, are accepted in the main establishments, although outside the cities facilities may be limited. Traveler's checks may also be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages, and travelers are advised to have cash on hand. ATMs are available in the main cities.

    Carrying extra money depends on your personal spending habits and you may want some extra money for personal expenses, sightseeing, souvenirs, etc. Generally speaking, we recommend bringing about $100/week (USD), or an emergency credit card as a back-up resort.

    Carrying cash is not safe; therefore don't carry a large surplus of cash with you. Important Reminder: retain your receipts whenever you exchange any currency or traveler's checks to Rupees. You may be asked to show proof of the exchange. Without receipts, you will not be able to exchange The Sri Lankan currency back to any other currency upon your departure.

  • Field Support and Supervision
  • How does Rustic Volunteer help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Does Rustic Volunteer visit volunteers?

    Our local staff will stay in touch with you once your volunteer program starts. Our staff will visit you every 2 weeks (in Galle). If the season is busy and your placement a long distance away from our office, we'll call you to inquire about how you're doing. You'll have access to your country coordinator's mobile phone so that in case of an emergency, you can call anytime. Your host family will also be happy to help you. They'll have experience hosting international volunteers.

  • Communication
  • How do I communicate with my family? Rustic Volunteer staffs? Is there internet?

    Bring your mobile phone with you. Insert local sim-card once in Sri Lanka and you can receive phone calls from your home country. This is the perfect way to stay in touch with your family and Rustic Volunteer office in Sri Lanka.

  • Climate of Lanka
  • Take advantage of the Web which can bring you current weather and forecasts for your destination:

    The weather in Sri Lanka is tropical: hot and humid. There are summer monsoons, which can be refreshing, and the hottest month, May, precedes these rains. In the cooler months it can get to be a bit chilly, though never winter-like.

  • Materials to Bring
  • Most of daily use items are available in India at a cheaper price. However, we suggest volunteers pack the following things.

    • Camera
    • Mobile phone (you can use mobile phone after changing sim card)
    • Sleeping bag
    • Mosquito repellents
    • Insect repellents
    • Sun-block
    • Some books about Sri Lanka
    • Map of Sri Lanka
    • Toiletries
    • First aid kit
    • Flash light
    • Electricity adopter/converter
    • Sun glasses
    • Footwear (for work and travel)
    • Towel
  • Gift for Host Family and Project
  • Before you fly to Sri Lanka, you'll be given details about your host family. These details will usually contain information like how many members there in the host family and what age they are. If you feel like bring something for the kids, you're most welcomed to do so. In fact, many volunteers bring small gifts, as it's a common courtesy. Some of the things you can bring are: box of chocolate, t-shirt, pens and post cards. You can also bring gifts for your project.

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