3 Month Teaching & Conservation Volunteer Placement in Sri Lanka
A 12 week long volunteer placement working in animal conservation and teaching whilst touring Sri Lanka! This experience gave me the opportunity to give something back to communities and wildlife in need whilst immersing myself in the captivating Sri Lankan culture! My 3 month volunteering experience passed in the blink of an eye. Although apprehensive at first having never visited the country before and equipped with no prior teaching and conservation experience, I soon grew confident once I familiarised myself with the area and introduced myself to the other volunteers. From the moment I left the airport, I was greeted and escorted to my accommodation where I had time to settle in and unpack.
“The pupils were charming and became very fond of the volunteers in such a short space of time. Delivering vital education to children below the poverty line was an honour and it made me immensely proud knowing I was helping develop their future prospects”
12 weeks of volunteering and travelling Sri Lanka
I started my journey with the cultural induction week in Kandy. Choosing to participate in this optional week was without a doubt the greatest decision of my trip! It was the perfect opportunity for me to learn about and immerse myself in the vibrant Sri Lankan culture and explore the enchanting sights, sounds, smells and tastes this wonderful country has to offer. The city of Kandy is famed for its tranquil beaches, tea plantations, colourful markets and shopping.
The residents were warm and welcoming and made us feel right at home. AJ, the coordinator, showed us all the tourist hotspots as well as the nestled away locations which were unbeknown to many tourists. We had a lot of fun in the spice garden and enjoyed a traditional Sri Lankan massage as well took a boat trip along the Kandy Lake.
After the induction week, my volunteer work started in the preschool. I was allowed to utilise my inner creative flair and help with lesson plans which were sure to engage and stimulate the children. The pupils were charming and became very fond of the volunteers in such a short space of time. Delivering vital education to children below the poverty line was an honour and it made me immensely proud knowing I was helping develop their future prospects. Teaching children was a new experience and it was incredibly rewarding seeing children enjoy the lessons I had designed and seeing them build their skillsets.
My next station was the Elephant Care Relief Project for three weeks. I stayed with a host family who were warm and welcoming and ensured I settled into the area at once. I really felt blessed to be assigned to such a great family. During my time at the project, I mainly worked with Mali, a rescue elephant in need of personalised one to one care.
She truly was a gentle giant; everyday I would clean and tend to her and make her comfortable and at ease. Seeing her lying in the river so happy and peaceful filled me with immense joy. The people at the project are true heroes, they dedicate their lives to the protection and conservation of elephants and are never phased by the daily challenges they are faced with.
Ambalangoda was the third and last stop in Sri Lanka. Here I stayed in clean and comfortable accommodation along with likeminded individuals who I formed great friendships with throughout my time there. I completed the turtle conservation volunteer project for 5 weeks. Climate change has resulted in disruption of turtle nesting sites and natural underwater habitats. The damaging effects the human footprint has on turtles has always troubled me deeply and therefore it was an honour to help with the conservation and care of these beautiful sea creatures.
My final week I resided to the beach, it was a carefree and relaxing end to my travels around Sri Lanka and left me feeling rejuvenated and ready for the journey home. The white sandy beaches and tranquil sea water was utterly breathtaking and everyday I went for an exhilarating swim along the shore. It was nice to see a little bit more of Sri Lanka and the beautiful natural surroundings. I think it was the perfect ending to my trip. There were still activities every day but they would only include short excursions so you could mainly enjoy a week of relaxation.
Finally, I would like to give thanks to the project co-ordinators for the greatest experience of my life. I have developed enormously as a person and am now brimming with confidence and compassion. The team responsible for the volunteers are super helpful and it was reassuring knowing that they were only a phone call away if you were experiencing any problems or had any queries. Everywhere I went, I felt so welcome and blessed to stay with your organisation.
Meeting new people, helping communities and caring for animals was an honour and a wonderful experience. I would do it over and over again. At first, people from all over the world were strangers to me, now I call some of them my friends.