UK: +44 (0)1903 502595 | USA: 1-603-574-4935



Make a difference in an Orphanage, Children’s Home and Elderly Persons Care Home. This is a small Home with around 12 boys and 15 elderly ladies. You'll help by playing with the children and caring for them. Your love and care is the most important contribution you can make to their well-being.

The types of activities you can also get involved in with the children include sewing & handicrafts, English lessons, Maths classes ... and lots of games!


Price: £795 for 1 week
£150 for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates.
Requirements: Minimum age 17. No qualifications needed, just a big heart and lots of enthusiasm.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Return transfer to the airport
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, teaching projects abroad, or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in Sri Lanka or South East Asia, short breaks or for those wanting to do TEFL teaching.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten overseas volunteering holiday into Asia and the fascinating culture of Sri Lanka.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and seeing how your efforts are making a difference to them.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of different cultures, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!


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Thank you for the experience you gave me, it was stunning and a memory that always always always brings me warmth. Tim Hancock

Volunteer with disadvantaged children and elders on this varied project. The Care Centre is home to children who have been removed by government agencies from their family situations for a number of reasons, such as abuse, being orphaned, etc. The aim is to give the children a safe home. The children live in the Home and attend the local schools.

The Care Centre is also home to elderly women who need a safe place to live.

Some of the time you'll work with the children, some of the live you'll care for the elders, and some of the time you may teach in the local school.

You'll assist at the Centre from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm, on Monday to Friday. In the morning you will assist with the old ladies while the chldren attend the local school.

When the children arrive back from school, usually around 12.00 noon, your attention will be given to them. You'll help by playing with the children and teaching them various skills. Love and care is the most important job required. The types of activities the children do include sewing & handicraft, music, English lessons, Math's classes, and so on. Each day has a different programme.

If you have specific experience or interests that you'd like to incorporate into your programme, such as in teaching, counselling, care work, handicrafts - you will be most welcome to put them to good use here!

The orphanage/home is based just near the town of Gampaha, the house itself is in quiet shady grounds. The orphanage currently houses around 12 young boys aged between 6 and 11, each with their own background story. The orphanage aims to offer them a caring and safe environment to grow up, develop and learn in.

Due to the small nature of the orphanage, you will be able to work with the children on a very personal basis and really give them the care and attention they deserve. You will work along side the small network of staff that are based there. There is a very important focus on them learning English, so you will be able to do this with the children on a daily basis as well as taking part in other activities such as handicrafts.

The orphanage is made up of separate houses, one of which acts as a dormitory where the boys sleep. All the buildings are based in beautiful shady grounds, giving the boys a great area to run around and play in.

In addition there is an old people’s home within the same grounds. This is a great set-up as it means the boys are constantly under the watchful eye of the old ladies, whilst the old ladies get to be surrounded by the energy of the young boys. The old ladies love the attention from our volunteers as much as the boys do, so even if you've chosen not to work with the, do take a moment to go over and say hi! You'll be greeted by huge grins!!


You'll live in a quaint bungalow in a residential area surrounded by lush Sri Lankan landscape in the Gampaha region. The bungalow is airy and is typical of the modern styling of Sri Lankan houses. The bungalow can comfortably accommodate more than 6 volunteers, whilst still allowing you to keep a sense of having your own space. The bungalow has living and dining area and plenty of outdoor areas, including a garden, making it the perfect setting for sociable evenings with the other volunteers or reading a book in peace in tropical surroundings.

Travellers' Volunteer Coordinator, Niranjala, lives in a separate close by, with her family. Many of our past volunteers who have stayed there have commented that the place offer the opportunity to get fully immersed in the wonders of Sri Lankan culture. Niranjala is a very chatty and extremely friendly and always gets the volunteers involved in her lively community activities.

You will have all necessary facilities such a comfortably furnished living area with TV and DVD player in the lounge area. Sri Lanka is a great place to buy DVD’s.

You will likely share your room with one or more other volunteers. The bedrooms are basic but comfortable. Bedrooms normally have single beds, mosquito nets, a clothes rack, and a ceiling fan (some rooms have standing ‘pedestal’ fans only). Bedding in Sri Lanka is very basic and for some reason sheets never seem to be large enough to tuck in, so you may want to consider bringing your own bed linen with you (sheet/pillowcase).

Facilities include shower, sink and western toilet. The showers are cold water showers here I’m afraid – it can be quite refreshing first thing in the morning before the water tank has been warmed by the sun - although with the climate being predominantly hot and humid for most of the year, taking a shower can be great way to cool off after a day spent in the Sri Lankan sun.

Food is provided and consists of typical Sri Lankan dishes. Most meals will be prepared for you, but there weill be occasions when you'll need to prepare your own.


Got any questions? Please email us:

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Your Arrival: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our Sri Lankan staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

TRAVELLERS' SUPPORT AND BACKUP: Read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme.



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Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Meditation at a Buddhist Retreat in Sri Lanka

Price: £245 for 1 week
£395 for 2 weeks
includes food and accommodation, plus transfer to and from the Retreat.

After experiencing the meditation centre ourselves first-hand, we recommend this 1-week or 2-week course the Centre while on your placement .. you'll have a truly remarkable experience enjoying or discovering meditation.

The meditation centre is situated in a town called Gampaha. This is about 1.5 hours north of Colombo and 50 minutes from the main volunteer house in Ja-Ela. The centre is separated into different areas, with lots of small cabana’s splayed out in extremely peaceful surroundings which will assist you in setting your mind free.

The centre is in a beautiful setting in a small and secluded area. It is very peaceful and relaxed, with sunny and shady parts and areas to sit and relax in. The retreat is split into two sections for males and females and the centre does not allow any interaction between the sexes. The retreat is a silent retreat, allowing you to focus on your own thoughts.


  • 4.00am Wake up
  • 4.15 Pay homage
  • 5.00 Porridge/ gruel called Conglee
  • 5.15-6.00 Meditation
  • 6.15 Breakfast
  • 7.15-8.15 Meditation
  • 8.15 Drink of King Coconut
  • 8.30-9.30 Cleaning rooms and centre e.g. sweeping
  • 9.30-11.00 Bathing and washing of clothes
  • 11.15 Lunch
  • 12.30-1.30pm Meditation
  • 1.30 Drink of tea
  • 2.00 Mediation advice usually by head monk
  • 5.00-6.00 Cleaning outside areas
  • 6.00 Pay homage
  • 6.30 Evening drink
  • 7.00-8.00 Meditation
  • 10.00 Lights out

LUNCH: Your lunch is the main meal of the day, and this is provided by local people. Most Sri Lankan’s choose a day to take food to a Buddhist monastery and take one dish on that day every year. It is often a meaningful day to the person who prepares and brings the food – such as the anniversary of the death of a loved one. It means that you will be treated to a wide range of wonderful, tasty dishes each lunch time. It is always rice and curry with lots of variety and endless portions. The food is mostly vegetarian, with some fish. Usually there is also pudding of fruit, yogurt and something very sweet. Some people save their pudding snacks. This is wise as you do not get to eat again for the remainder of the day (unless you have taken some snacks)!

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An Elephant Experience at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Price: £695 for 1 week
includes food and accommodation, plus transfer to and from the Elephant Orphanage.

The Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for over 80 retired, abused or orphaned elephants. Visitors from all over the world come to see these magnificent animals. At times, there are also some small babies who have been born into the herd. The daily highlight is the walk from the Orphanage to take the herd down to the river to bathe the elephants. It's amazing to watch an entire herd splashing around and rolling in the river, just a few feet in front of you!

This project is an elephant experience, rather than elephant conservation ... and it is an awesome experience! You'll have about 3 to 4 hours manual work each day and you'll also get to wash and hose down several Elephants. In the late morning or afternoon, you'll usually go down to the river and spend about 3 hours amongst the Elephants. You can watch them relaxing, play with them and sometimes help to bathe them. Your main duties will include:

  • Mucking out the elephant enclosures in the morning (this is hard, muddy work!)
  • Participating in bathing some of the smaller elephants.
  • While the mahouts are bathing the larger elephants, you will be able to relax by the river, chat to the mahouts and watch the elephants play and interact with humans and each other. This is an absolutely beautiful sight and being around these serene animals in such a beautiful setting can have a very calming effect!
  • You'll also have up to two opportunities per week to feed the beautiful baby elephants.
  • There may also be the opportunity to do other things around the orphanage, however this is subject the amount of work available at the orphanage at the time of your project.

Book Now

Meditation at a Buddhist Retreat in Sri Lanka
Warsini the elephant raiding the bins in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

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We cannot BEGIN to tell you how beautiful this paradise island is! Nor how cheap to live and get around. It is almost too good to be true! But it is true.

Towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains. The local people are very welcoming and friendly, especially in the rural areas. The tea plantations are a must, the lace making, monuments and architectural splendours, etc., but the most appealing is the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. Not to be missed! It's an emotive sight that you'll never forget!

Sri Lanka has miles and miles of amazing beaches. Some of our favourites are:

MIRISSA: Perhaps a contender for the most beautiful beach in the world. Long, deserted and hot. You know you have got away from it all as you sit and watch the sunset over this horizon…The snorkelling is also incredible here.

NEGOMBO: To the north of Colombo lies Negombo, a busting fishing town with golden beaches and a pallet of colour provided by sails and boats against the deep blue of the ocean.

UNAWATUNA: A sleepy peaceful cove with deep still water and a temple overlooking the bay from the protecting cliffs.

HIKKADUWA: A long stretch of beach with plenty of hostels, restaurants and some nice bars, not forgetting the impromptu beach parties held on the beach front bars blaring Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Led Zeplin and many other classics! Sri Lanka is a conservative island brimming with culture and Hikkaduwa offers an exciting opportunity to holiday for the odd celebratory weekend! Many a volunteer birthday has been seen in over Hikkaduwa cocktails. You can also body board and even surf on this beach.

ARUGAM BAY: This tiny fishing village is Sri Lanka’s newest hot spot and hosts the best surfing and an easy going happy party atmosphere. With its wide sweeping beach in front of the village and year round gorgeous swimming it is no surprise that this bay has developed into a low budget travellers haunt.

White Water Rafting:
Sri Lanka’s boulder stream rivers are the ideal setting for white water rafting. This is the best way to see the stunning environment what this region has to offer. Many tours are available and many begin with days of action, rafting the white waters. This high adventure is suitable for fish time ‘go for it’ rafters and experts alike. Rafting has become a very popular exciting yet safe adventure sport option.

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering:
Mountaineering is an adventure sport that requires skills and levels of fitness that few other adventure sports can match. The mountain ranges in Sri Lanka offer breath taking, enthralling, climbing routes. Climbing is all about discovering the natural world around and with you.

Hiking and Trekking:
There’s no better way to explore the natural scenic beauty of this island with diverse climatic zones. Trekking is an excellent way to explore a country, people, their traditions and beliefs. Paths and campsites have been set up to give nature lovers the experience of a lifetime. All possible steps are taken to ensure local community benefit and nature conservation in keeping with all international camping guidelines.

Canoeing & Kayaking:
This relatively new sport is rated as the most adventurous of all adventure sports. It involves descending a stream as it drops over waterfalls and boulders. In Sri Lanka they have low waterfalls for beginners and some as high as 700 feet for the very experienced - all surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

The driest and best seasons are from December to March on the west and south coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September on the east coast. December to March is also the time when most foreign tourists come, the majority of them escaping the European winter.

The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. The Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Then there are the ruins, ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy any archaeologist.


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.


Care for Children in an Orphanage in Sri Lanka

My Typical Day:
Leave home at 8.00am. Arrive at 9.40am. I normally played with toddler group outside in the first hour, then had tea break before going in to play with and look after the babies. Often changed nappies, helped feed babies on occasion, some volunteers helped with showers on the appropriate days.

Babies /toddlers were fed at 12 o'clock, and then put to bed. Volunteers leave and travel back to Ja Ela, otherwise stay until 3pm (find own entertainment for a few hours) and play when babies wake up until 4pm, when we leave and travel home.

Back at Ja Ela, volunteers find entertainment - watching films, doing washing, shopping in the village, going to Browns hotel to use swimming pool. Tea time approx 6.30pm. Evening - sit round, watch DVDs, read etc.

Ja Ela house was brilliant - the staff there was absolutely fantastic - Niranjela and Sujeet were so helpful ... Niranjela couldn't do enough for us and we all thought of her as our mum!

I have loved my time in Sri Lanka - I wish I had planned my trip earlier so that I could have done a month’s placement! I am so pleased that I have done this and will miss the people I met and the children I worked with a lot.