Sri Lanka is one of those countries where Buddhism was spread in its earliest days. It's not just a prominent religion in the nation, but a way of life as well. Being a volunteer for the Teaching Monks Program, you'll be working at a Pirivena, an educational institution of Buddhist monks (a school, you may say).
In this institution, the monks get a holistic learning opportunity, studying different subjects like Pali (an Indo-Aryan language), Sanskrit, history, prosody, astrology, and logic, apart from the scriptures of Buddhism. The Pirivena is also the place where young monks are trained by their masters to follow the rules and regulations promulgated in the Vinaya Pitaka (a prominent Buddhist scripture) which is one of the three parts that make up the Tripitaka - a collection of Buddhist teachings that are the foundation of the Theravada Buddhist philosophy.
These young monks are highly enthusiastic to learn English, however, they do not have adequate resources to polish their skills. The Government has appointed local teachers who take a 40 minutes class every day, but even the teachers aren't well versed with the language. Hence, being a volunteer, you'll get to play an active role in the Pirivena and teach these bright monks.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Participants must be fit and healthy at the time of joining the program. Participants should have no criminal convictions and should provide a clean criminal background check report.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
As a volunteer for the Buddhist Monks Teaching Project, you'll have to do the following (apart from other minor works that may crop up as & when required) :
- Teaching English at a basic level to young monks in small to mid-sized groups.
- Prepare for each session focusing on the specific needs of the group.
- Help the staff for the lesson planning and also find out creative ways to teach.
- Focus on basic speaking, reading and writing English as well as some basic grammar sessions.
- Help the monks to know more about the outer world and satiate their thirst for knowledge.
Volunteer Work Schedule
- Saturday: Arrival +House Tour + Initial Training session (as long as the participants come by afternoon or else its done on Sunday).
- Sunday: Neighbourhood familiarization tour
- Mon to Fri: Volunteer work
- Breakfast - 06:30 am - 8:30am
- Monday to Friday 8-10.30am
- Lunch - between 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
- Lesson Planning 1-3 pm (There is an option to teach children at the teaching center from 3-5pm)
- Dinner - 06:30 pm -7:45 pm
Note: The schedule may vary depending on the particular project and local circumstances.
At Volunteering Solutions we ensure that all our international volunteers are provided the utmost comfort so that they can have a home away from home experience while working with us. We ensure that your stay, meals and other personal requirements are looked after well.
Volunteers are picked up from the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport Airport by a representative of the local coordinating team on the program start date during scheduled airport pickup hrs. Participants are also dropped off to the airport upon completion of the program during the scheduled airport drop hrs. For any participants requring the transfers at any other times, extra charges shall be applicable.
Volunteers joining the programs in Galle, Sri Lanka, will get to stay in the quaint Unawatuna neighborhood, overlooking the famous Unawatuna Beach and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The volunteer house has 11 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.Most of these rooms have ocean views! There's a private 40-foot outdoor swimming pool surrounded by tropical greenery. The house also has 3 kitchens as well as 3 living/common rooms (one each per floor), a prominent dining area, and a private outdoor garden with seating/lounging areas.
The office is located on the ground floor of the house near the main entrance – this is where the local team operate from every day. The house is located in a peaceful, nature-filled neighborhood adjacent to a small Buddhist temple (nestled away from the main tourist areas). To ensure the safety and security of the participants, there are CCTV cameras installed, and an in-house security guard for night-time surveillance. Hot water and high-speed Wi-Fi are there and you can opt for air-conditioning and laundry facilities at an additional charge.
Other than that, we'll also be glad to provide single/double/family private room upgrades. The beach is just about 5 minutes walk from the stay and you can reach the Galle Fort in about 15 minutes.
A detailed program Orientation will be provided before you start your volunteering program.All volunteers on arrival get a welcome presentation including health and safety training, culture presentation, project specific presentation and area orientation tour. Our staff will also assist you with the lessons and planning the curriculum, as and when required. You will also have access to our in-house teaching library consisting of manuals, books, and various teaching materials to help with lesson planning and providing general guidance.
We provide 3 freshly cooked meals per day all week long (Monday to Sunday): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Fresh ingredients are purchased from local markets to prepare these meals. We have two lady chefs (a head chef and an assistant) from our community who come daily to cook fresh, homely and tasty local meals for the volunteers. We can cater to a range of special diets including vegan, gluten free, nut free and lactose-intolerant diets. If there are any other allergy or food requirements mentioned to us beforehand, we always do our best to accommodate those needs.
During Free Time
There is plenty to do during the freetime and weekends for the volunteers.The following activities are provided free of charge and included in your program fee:
- Evening Rooftop Yoga Session (weekly)
- Movie nights on large screen projector at the house (weekly)
- Bike tour across paddy fields and local villages (monthly)
- BBQ for volunteers and staff in the garden (monthly)
- Night Fishing for anyone into fishing (on demand)
The following are popular weekend (or even daily) activities which our volunteers love to do around the area (at an additional charge):
- Surfing lessons
- Elephant safari
- Whale watching (during season)
- Rainforest hiking
- Beach hopping
- Local cooking class
- Galle Walking Tour
- Local spice market visit
- Galle Fort visit
Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment.
What are you Paying for?
- 24 hrs Assistance and support from Staff
- Comprehensive Pre- Departure Information
- Airport Transfers on Scheduled Days
- Dedicated volunteer housing with WiFi (shared rooms)
- Orientation and training on arrival
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner all days
- Guaranteed project placement
- Local transportation to projects in private AC van or tuk tuk
- Experienced bilingual operations team on the ground
- Dedicated staff support from 6 am to 8 pm every day
- 24/7 local emergency support
- Weekly yoga class on rooftop terrace
- Weekly movie nights on large screen projector
- Monthly bike tour around paddy fields and local villages
- Monthly special BBQ dinner
- Travel & Medical Insurance (Available at an extra cost)
- 100% Financial Protection
- UK Based Support
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Visa Fee
- International Airfare
- Any personal expenses
- Additional Local Excursions and Trips
FAQ's Application and Program Details
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we serve on first come first basis, it is recommended that potential volunteers book their programs well in advance to get confirmed placements. You can book your slot by filling the application form online and pay the application fee. You can pay your program fee later and also, in installments. However, the complete payment should be made 45 days prior to the starting of the program. If you are volunteering in a group, you can also fill a group application form.
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Sri Lankan volunteer projects:
The minimum age requirement for the programs in Sri Lanka is 17 years.
Volunteers participating in the Medical Program should be at least 18-year-old.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. They should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 12+ years, we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as groups of colleagues.
A short orientation is given after arrival about the city and placements. The volunteers are also taken for a short tour of Colombo before they start with their program. However, the tour depends on the arrival time of your flight.
For our returning volunteers, $50 discount is provided for the application fee for their next VolSol program.
Flights and Visa
Volunteers can apply for ETA online and the approval of the same will be communicated via email.
Volunteers can be provided with the supporting documents if needed. More information will be provided once you enroll for the program.
There are frequent in-country flights from Colombo to Galle and Kegalle as well.
Health and Safety
Hepatitis A and B
You can consult your doctor once, before traveling to Sri Lanka.
Accommodation and Living
Volunteers are accommodated at the volunteer house accomodation in Galle. The house is comfortable and clean and the rooms are provided on the same gender sharing basis.Volunteers working in Wasgamuwa National Park are given accommodation in a field house in close vicinity of the project location. Three meals are provided in a day including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The food is tasty, hygienic and nutritious, suitable for all volunteers.
Breakfast usually comprises of Bread, Butter, Jam, Bun or Rolls, Eggs and Fruits like Banana & Pineapple & Tea. The lunch includes Sri Lankan style rice and curry and the dinner includes noodles, spaghetti, pasta, chapati, hoppers or String Hoppers with curry.
If you have special dietary requirements, please mention the same in your application form.
We encourage our volunteers to travel. We have designed various weekend tours which can be booked under the ‘Add-on Tours’ section in your ‘My Account’. Your in-country coordinator will also help you book and organize the tours once you are in Sri Lanka.
Connect with Past Volunteers
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website