Map of the Volunteer Workplaces

Description of the Volunteer Workplaces

This page contains descriptions of the Volunteer Workplaces that the Project supports. In addition to this information you may wish to click here to download a document which contains additional information about the Volunteer Workplaces.

You may wish to download a map showing the various workplaces, as well as a chart that shows the approximate travel times and costs for each location.

Yasodora Community Centre

This is about 400 yards from the volunteer accommodation and is used by the community and the project for all sorts of activities:

The Nursery School, children’s and adults’ spoken and written English language classes, art classes for adults and children, sports activities ......

A proud grandmother with her painting

Adult photography class

The ‘playing field’ next to the centre is used for volunteers to run activities such as cricket, soft tennis, football, tunnel ball, catching and badminton. Equipment for all this is available from the volunteer’s resource store and if it isn’t there – please ask and Janaka will provide it.

If you wish to augment the equipment with other items for different sports, this is always welcomed.

Some of the older boys have heard of baseball and would welcome the opportunity to learn to play this. It should be fun teaching them how to pitch American style!

At present the project doesn't have baseball or basketball equipment. Neither are there any netball posts or nets.

Ananda School    ages 5 - 17

Kitulampitiya Road near Hirimbura Cross Road

The school's volunteer coordinator teacher is Mr Bandula. In any school, volunteers should not teach classes without a teacher present unless they are extremely confident. Children are children everywhere and they may take advantage of your lack of Sinhala!

Some of the school buildings and the playground

Ananda School's Sports Day Parade

Thotagoda School   ages 11 – 17

This is a semi rural school a short bus or tuk tuk ride from the accommodation, just past Karapitiya. At this school , generally two volunteers work together usually in Grades 5 and 6.

The Vice Principal is Mr Priyan.
Mr Pryantha is the volunteer coordinator.

Volunteers mainly teach spoken English. Help was recently sought by the staff who asked volunteers to design mathematical murals for the walls of the school

These are the lowest levels of the school which is built up a hillside on 4 levels. Previous volunteers have recently donated and built them a pit latrine.

The Sacred Heart Girls School  ages 6 - 18

Kandaywattha Road, Galle

This is not a private school as some volunteers have mistakenly thought. It is a very large Government school which has a small amount of church funding as the school's Principal is a nun. Pupil intake is restricted in as much as the school tries to take pupils whose parents are committed to providing the supportive environment children need to make the most of their education.

We are very keen to continue supporting this school because the staff is very motivated. They take on board all worthwhile input from foreign/volunteer teachers, incorporating it into their methodology and curriculum. Thus volunteer input is retained for the future – far more so than in any other schools.

The Head of the Primary School is Mrs Vanoja. She is also responsible for the 12 girls at the school who have learning disabilites or other special needs.

Special needs children working with learning materials donated by a volunteer.

The deaf girls with some of their work

Four girls are deaf and mute, but very intellectually capable. It’s so good for these girls if you will work with them, teaching them using spoken English and Sinhalese and American sign language. Deaf children can be very marginalised so by working with them (and playing – please give them some fun!) you will do wonders for their self esteem and morale. They are lovely girls who inspire everyone who works with them.

Volunteers can also teach other subjects within the mainstream – English, maths, science, drama & dance etc.

Sulaimanya Muslim School

Acting Principal – Mr Salam.

This school is at Galagediya Junction about 500 yards from the accommodation.

This is a new venture and one that has been initiated to try to build bridges between the local communities of Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. Volunteers will work with Grades 1 and 2 teaching spoken English.

A TESL programme is available in ring binders in the volunteer resource area. The plan is for volunteers to use this, record what has been covered with which class in which school, to ensure continuity and consistency. Please seek out these records and the TESL programme before you commence teaching.

Haliwala Muslim Primary School English Teaching Project

Volunteer Sri Lanka is pleased to have formed a partnership with Haliwala Muslim Primary School to teach English Language to children in Grades 1 – 4 & Grade 6 & 7.

Haliwala Muslim Primary School is based in Galle, Sri Lanka and was established in 2006. The Headmaster is Mr Mohammed and there are a total of 147 children in the school across grades 1 – 9 with one teacher for each grade. Currently they do not have a permanent English teacher therefore your support is much valued.

Children in the school work towards (qualifications) and English language will support their studies and provide them with a third language in addition to Sinhala and Tamil.

Volunteers from VSL attend the school thrice per week, providing the children in each grade with two sessions of English per week following the school curriculum and also doing after school English mainly conversational english for students in higher grades from grade 6-8.

The school has a healthy culture including play and fun and this comes across in the faces of these delightful children.

The Nurses Training School

Principal: Mrs Gunawardene, Student Coordinator: Mr Sujeewa Ariyananda

The NTS is on the main road about 500 yards from the accommodation.

There are roughly 130 young women and 2 young men in years 1 – 3 of their Nurses Training. Most of the girls live in cramped dormitories. The boys travel in each day. Their needs are for spoken language experience and fun/sports activities to bring interest to their lives. They are deeply appreciative of anything volunteers do for them.

Volunteers who are qualified nurses and doctors may also be involved in delivering training to the nursing students subject to approval by the Principal and it fitting in with their curriculum. A copy of this is available to download from the Volunteer Documents page.

They also badly need help with any medical text books and physiology models and skeletons you can provide to add to their non existent resources. The text book they use is Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness by Anne Waugh and Allison Grant 9th Edition or later. They have only 3 copies between 130 students.

Nursing Students Dormitory

Mr Sujeewa Ariyananda with student nurses

In lectures

Third year student nurses with their Nursing Tutor

The Teaching Hospital at Karapitiya

A short tuk tuk or bus ride from the accommodation.

Volunteers who are qualified doctors, nurses or physiotherapists may assist and/or possibly teach, at this hospital subject to their qualifications being ratified by the governing staff of the hospital. Volunteers will find conditions very different to those in European and American hospitals. Medical students may find this hospital is a good choice for their elective term. As this is a teaching hospital, volunteers may also be involved in training. Dr. Cryshanta will help prospective volunteers achieve a worthwhile placement by corresponding with them prior to their flight to Sri Lanka and meeting with them after they arrive.

This hospital has 1591 beds and 900 staff nurses. Every aspect of medical treatment is available at this hospital from birth to death. There are 56 wards and units. There is one whole wing which is devoted to the treatment of patients with cancer. An Accident and Emergency Wing/Trauma Hospital was completed in 2011.

For a hospital in the developing world, conditions in the hospital are very good although to those unfamiliar with Third World medical care, some facilities may look grim. Some of the wards, such as the children’s cancer wards, isolation unit etc are of a high standard. In other wards, general conditions may be good, but there may not be enough beds so some patients will be lying on the floor without a mattress. They prefer to resort to this rather than turn sick people away.

They are desperately short of chemotherapy drugs. If anyone is able to help by channeling donations of such drugs to the hospital, it would be wonderful. If you are able to help or wish to discuss any other such matter, please contact Janaka and he will put you in touch with Dr. Cryshanta.

In the first instance anyone wishing to be a medical volunteer should email Janaka through the website.

Mr Sujeewa Ariyananda with student nurses

In lectures

Two Elders' Homes
Samarasinghe (Piyadigama) Elders’ Home

Bope Road, in the Piyadigama area not far from the mosque.

12 elderly men  Caretaker: Mr Senarathna

There is a need for groups of volunteers to make up a working party every 2 – 4 weeks to help them by cleaning their home and washing their sheets. In the volunteer’s store, equipment is available for use for this task. The elders would also benefit from volunteers being prepared to play darts, carom and cards with them. These have been provided at their home via a volunteer’s donation. Cleaning and washing may seem menial tasks, but showing these old men that someone cares enough to do this for them is a great gift to give them.

Van Reeth Elders’ Home

Kandaywattha Road, Galle

This home has up to 75 residents – both male and female. Van Reeth Elders' Home is provided and run by Catholic nuns. Sister Felicitas is the Sister in Charge and her Deputy in Charge is Sister Nadeesha – both sisters are nurses. The home takes elderly people of all faiths.

The need here is for volunteers to play Carrom, cards, bingo, snakes and ladders and ludo with the elderly people. These have been provided for the home by a project volunteer. The old people also like to do art work so please encourage them in this (materials in the Van Reeth box in the volunteers’ resource store), and be given hand and limb massage (baby oil in store), nail clipping, hair cutting, assistance with shaving (mirrors in store), chiropody, physiotherapy, sore treatment, physiotherapy, etc. Generally showing them kindness and attention will improve the quality of their lives.

Adult spoken English Language and Literacy Class

There are a number of families living near the accommodation who want to improve their English. These sessions are informal and take place in family homes with parents and older children who every much appreciate the opportunity to converse and play games using spoken English. This will undoubtedly have benefits for the families involved but also for the local community as a whole.

Teenagers’ spoken Language and Literacy Class

Also in a home near the Temple

This group needs re-establishing and is particularly important as teenagers everywhere can be a vulnerable group, so anything positive that engages them and furthers their learning, thereby enhancing the results of their mainstream education is beneficial.

The best shot possible of the front of the orphanage!

This is the nursery class room for children aged 2.5+

Ruhuna Children’s Home (orphanage)

Kitulampitiya Road near Hirimbura Cross Road

There is a group of nursery children, aged 2.5 plus, with whom our volunteers have worked and which is still available for volunteers who wish to help with the usual learning activities associated with this age group.

Our volunteers also work with the younger group who are aged between 1 and 2.5 years, termed the 'Baby Group'. The emphasis with these children is play and experiential activities rather than the more academic pre school learning tasks. Previously, this younger group of children was in an enclosed area of the orphanage without activities or stimulus of any sort. We are very pleased to be able to offer these babies the chance to play in the open air with water, sand, balls, ropes, toys etc. so that they are not just sitting or standing on a tiled floor without stimulus, doing nothing all day, every day.

Volunteers who are considering working at the Ruhuna Children's Home should download the Word document that describes the Organisation of the Baby Class at the orphanage which contains information that volunteers need to know before prior to commencing this work.

The Project has had an outside area cleaned up for the Baby Class and there is an undercover area for when it rains. We plan to improve the play surface and paint murals and floor games to make the space safer and more attractive.

Photos of the children are unavailable as it is orphanage policy not to allow children to be photographed. There are also strict procedures via child welfare for ensuring that volunteers are sound. These are similar to those that would be implemented in developed countries. Orphans are a particularly vulnerable group. Please note that we do not take people to view the orphanage just 'out of interest'. Only volunteers who wish to work here may visit the orphanage after Child Welfare clearance procedures have been followed.

The Street Children's Nursery and Day Care Centre

Teacher - Mrs Vagira

Located off Lower Wakwalla Road in central Galle.

This nursery takes children who live and sleep on the streets and also from the very poor area in which it was situated - a former shanty town. Many of these children have parents who are in prison and/or work as prostitutes. Volunteers generally work here in pairs assisting the teacher, although some volunteers have worked alone. Watch your personal possessions whilst working here. These children are delightful and innocent in the true sense that they do not know any better and are a product of their sad histories and living conditions on the street. You will discover that the children are lovely and very rewarding to work with. They are helpless victims of their dire circumstances.

Miss Kamala's Nursery

Teacher Miss Kamala

A small, well organised nursery school in Dangedara, a short bus or tuk tuk ride from Yasodora where the volunteers are accommodated.

This is particularly suitable to volunteers who would enjoy the experience of working with young children in an atmosphere that is well organised and where they will have the security of receiving sound direction.

Swimming Instruction

Next to the Lighthouse Hotel, Galle.

Volunteers can help provide swimming instruction at the municipal swimming pool which is overseen by the Lighthouse Hotel. There are various swimming classes for both adults and children.

Many Sri Lankans, especially women, cannot swim.
This meant that more people died during the Tsunami than would have had this not been the case.

Some volunteers enjoy helping with swimming instruction for children and/or adults.

There are also classes for women only as this is a particularly vulnerable group.

VSL Project
Custodial Home for girls

Senehasa House is a Government Custodial Home for young girls between the ages of 11-18. It is located very close to the ‘VSL’ Volunteer house in Galle. The young girls placed in this residential home by the courts have been violently or sexually abused, and are housed there for their own protection and safety. They are from many different areas of Sri Lanka, various religious backgrounds and a wide range of educational abilities.

On a daily basis, they are taught a range of both academic and vocational subjects by Teachers’ employed by the Government.

"Volunteer Sri Lanka" supports this particular project through placing volunteers within the project. These volunteers teach the girls written and spoken English and also Mathematics. The volunteers who works there is female as male volunteers are not allowed. It is the responsibility of the volunteers to produce a structure that will engage and encourage the youngsters to learn and make progress and achieve personal goals whilst working together. Resources have to be provided by the volunteers and taken to the home and brought back each day. Volunteers need to be at the home for 9.00 am each morning, and the three hour working period needs to be flexible, adaptable and creative, according to the needs and capabilities of the students. It is helpful for the volunteers to work together to plan and pool their resources, their ideas and expertise before presenting them to the girls.

The structure of the morning should be divided into three "strands", with group work Initially focusing on spoken English, leading to individual written tasks. The second part may focus on either English or Mathematics with spoken language and supporting written work. The final hour of the morning could be creative design work, games or role play. This is certainly a project whereby the more you "put into it", the more you "get out of it".

Overall, working at Girls Home is highly rewarding for the volunteers, and means so much to the girls who are detained there. In order to establish a bond between the young detainees and the volunteers, it is recommended that volunteers remain for at least a month within this House. These young girls need support to regain self-worth and individual respect which in many cases has been removed and left them feeling powerless.

These vulnerable youngsters are an extremely needy group whose trust and loyalty once gained, leaves a lasting imprint on one’s mind and heart. They are so deserving of an opportunity to succeed and be successful, because many of them have high aspirations.

Sambodhi – Home for the homeless disable people

Sambodhi is a home for physical and or intellectual disabled homeless people. Sambodhi has been founded in 1964 and takes care of 47 individuals between 7 and 75 years old.

The residents’ stories in Sambodhi Home are varied; some are abandoned by their family because of their disability others were put aside due to a lack of money of their family. With limited staff and resources, residents have to take care of each other in their daily tasks. For the youngest children there is school in the morning, the other residents don’t really have a day structure except the moments they eat together and the tea times twice a day. As a volunteer you can help the residents by contributing to their daily life and let them have something to get through the day, like helping them with creative activities, and playing games. There are also possibilities for physiotherapists to practice with the disabled people. The residents in Sambodhi Home take care of themselves and each other, as a volunteer you should not try to change this you can only try to teach them a way they can do it better. It is important to let the responsibility with the residents, because when you, as a volunteer, leave they have to do it on their own again.

‘VSL’ Sea Turtle Conservation Project

The Sea turtle conservation volunteering, as the name suggests, is dedicated for the preservation and development of Sea turtles. Volunteers who are found of wildlife especially marine animals and spending time on beaches are highly recommended to join this project. This is an amazing volunteer abroad opportunity as well as a thrilling experience and a challenging environment.

Sri Lanka is a quaint island country and it is at the advantage of the volunteers to work for the Sea turtle conservation program, as they get to enjoy and explore the pristine of beaches of the country. Volunteer will have the opportunity to learn much about turtle conservation during the program. Volunteers who plan to join this project must be ready for some hardcore on field tasks. This will, in return provide great learning and international work experience to the volunteers, which will help them in their future prospects as well.

This project it just sine 20 Minutes from the VSL Volunteer camp. The ‘Sea turtle hatchery’ is a non-profit organization which is maintained for the survival of Sea turtle for the next generation. It is situated southern part of Sri Lanka in Galle near to the beautiful beach. The center was started in 2007 and to date have protected and releases more than 125,000 sea turtles to the ocean and very popular project for volunteers wishing to make sea turtle conservation.

The turtles are one of the rare species found in the world. Their heritage could be traced to more than 200 million years. They have supposed to have lived during the Dinosaurs age. Of the seven species of marine turtles that exists worldwide five species live in the waters around Sri Lanka. If you have a bit of luck you can see the animal’s even swim near the beach.

Volunteer tasks and General activities under this project

  1. Collecting of Turtle eggs from the beach and buying from the fishermen help bury the sea turtle eggs in order to rescue them from the poachers.
  2. Conduct daily checks on the eggs to check their hatching time and help the emerging baby turtles.
  3. Take care of cleaning, feeding and helping the turtles in whatever way possible.
  4. Washing the sea turtle tanks and refill them with sea water and help prepare food and hand fed the turtles as the hatchery sometimes got several turtles with injuries.
  5. Collected and rescued eggs are hatched safely away from predators before being released into the sea at night-time. But some are kept back for a short period for 'headstarting' till they are stronger.
  6. Providing treatments for disabled turtles caught by fishing nets. When we got information on a disabled turtle we take our full effort to visit the turtle and start doing necessary treatments to recover it. We go anywhere for this service.
  7. Raise the awareness of marine turtle conservation needs at regional levels.
  8. Conducting continuous studies on post-nesting migrations and biology of marine turtles.
  9. Share tracking data and findings to relevant authorities and contribute to the development of a regional marine turtle conservation plan

Integrate these conservation initiatives with national programs.

This project is available year around from 08.00am to 11.00am

Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Centre for less privilege

A new project called ‘Fort VSL’ was initiated by the Volunteer Sri Lanka Project. The project was elaborated by Mr. Janaka de Silva the project Director of ‘VSL’ and Dr. Nishanta Gunasekera, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya.

The Vision of this project

Is to enable people with disabilities to improve their efficiency and achieve the best quality of life possible. This goal is to be achieved by establishing a therapy Centre.

Our mission

Is to establish a Centre for active rehabilitation that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychological therapy, social services and other professional support services of international standard

Back ground

Rehabilitation in its complete form is a relatively neglected concept in this region of the world. The comprehensive needs of patients who require rehabilitation are met incompletely by the existing centres in this region.

Rehabilitation of patients that require such intervention is a broad area of involvement that include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, osteopathy, speech therapy, psychological support, social support, etc until the patient is at best reintegrated back with his/her premorbid state, be it going back to regular work or at worst be stable in his functions.

To this end, this region of Sri Lanka provides some limited facilities to enable patients to avail themselves of such services. It is by far inadequate to cater for the very large number patients that have acute or chronic disabilities as a result of the following large group of problems.

  • Trauma – brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Degenerative conditions of the brain and spine
  • Tumour related disabilities
  • Haemorrhage related disabilities
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Stroke related disabilities

Each of these broad categories has many patients who have different degrees of disability be it physical, speech related, psychological, work related or social. It is envisaged that this Rehabilitation Centre will eventually cater for ALL of the above patients, starting from physiotherapy and expanding to its fullest in the years to come.

There will be direct collaboration with overseas therapists on a visiting basis to guide, support and expand the project.

In the future, volunteers will also be able to participate in skills training at the Temple to be started at a date as soon as possible. Training will start with IT using two donated secondhand laptops.