Sri Lanka is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia.
Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. It is sometimes known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ because of its natural beauty, but is also referred to as ‘the teardrop of India’ due to its shape and geographical location. It stretches approximately 400 kilometres from North to South and for 220 kilometres from East to West.
Sri Lanka is a tropical island full of temples, tea plantations, golden beaches and festivals. Despite its size being similar to that of Ireland’s, the country hosts areas of wet zone, dry zone, hill-country and rainforest, with a myriad of flora and fauna from exotic orange ‘King’ coconuts to the Sri Lankan elephant.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful and fascinating country with so much to offer. Beautiful beaches, tea plantations, ancient temples, and unspoilt wildlife –for an island the size of Ireland there is has plenty to explore. Living in this predominantly Buddhist country, you will never be far from the influences of the temples and saffron robed monks, but as a country it is home to significant number of Hindus, Muslim and Christians, and prides itself in celebrating all the religious festivals. The colourful Perehara parades and the monthly Poya days (Full moon) will become part of your daily life.
Sri Lankan are extremely welcoming, and very hospitable, keen to practice their English, to offer you sweet tea and feed you delicious curries. As a country that is still recovering from the recently ended long civil war, it still has significant development challenges in the North but the Colombo and South is has a vibrant economy and fast growing tourist trade.
Currently we only have one project near the Southern town of Galle, however we are close to securing two other placements. one in the Jaffna and another east of Colombo.
Education is highly valued in Sri Lanka, and has high literacy rate. The Volunteer teach English in a number of schools in the local area, but also have the opportunity to engage the children in after school activities.
You will be living and working in a school in the village of Unawatuna, and will be catering for yourselves. Your house on the compound , it is small but quite comfortable. Most Volunteers will buy a data package to access wifi.
English is widely spoken in this tri lingual nation, and you will find road signs and bill boards in Singhala, Tamil and English. As a native speaker you can share your knowledge and enthusiasm for learning with your young pupils.
If you have any additional skills (such as sports or music) there is usually an opportunity to set up clubs, teams and extra-curricular activities.
Sri Lanka Volunteers need to be mature independent and responsible.
You will be living with your project partners, initially you have the opportunity to stay with a host family who are great at teaching you how to cook, how to wear a sari and will give you an insight into the local culture. You will be given opportunity to share your skills and interest ,as well as learn about Sri Lankan way of life.
You will be staying close to a beautiful beach, and have amazing travel opportunities in your holidays. Public transport is easy and cheap in Sri Lanka and its people are very hospitable.
Fra Macintyre | Sri Lanka 93/94Country Coordinator for Sri Lanka
Fra is a Returned Volunteer from Sri Lanka (93/94) – Despite the length of time since Fra lived in Sri Lanka, she was still remembers few key phrases of Singhala. Fra has been back to Sri Lanka a number of times to visit Volunteers and to see new projects, and was delighted to go to Jaffna for the first time this year.