Ceylon, Teardrop of India and the Pearl of the Orient – Sri Lanka has immense beauty. Explore the rolling tea plantations and national parks with exotic wildlife.
This is a country that is moving on after the tragedy of the tsunami, but nonetheless offers many smiling faces, friendly people and delicious food. We are based in the southern province, about one hour south of Colombo, in the area around Galle.
The medical and healthcare volunteer placements are based at a large public, teaching hospital with 400 doctors, 750 nursing staff and over 1600 beds. It is the largest tertiary care centre in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Departments include surgery, ophthalmology, paediatric, psychiatric, cardiology, oncology, orthopaedic, neurology, ENT, dermatology, physiotherapy, radiology, and Emergency. Hospital conditions are relatively good for a developing country however there is frequently a shortage of beds. One entire wing of the hospital is allocated to treatment of patients with cancer.
(Forward your completed Volunteer Application Form so that we can hold your place)
The volunteer placements are ideal for all medical and healthcare students and electives can be tailored to reflect your preferences, skills and experience. Medical students (in their 3rd year) are able to join for their elective and can shadow the consultants and senior doctors and join in the ward rounds, OPD clinics, theatre and surgical procedures. Available areas include neuro surgical and surgical oncology. Less experienced students can observe and shadow in the busy emergency unit. We ask volunteers to remain proactive and flexible.
The hospital is open 24 /7 however students are expected to work from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with a one hour lunch break (usually 12 noon to 1:00 pm). As with any rotation, attendance at morning rounds, conferences, and clinics is recommended. Conservative dress, appearing neat, clean and professional is always appreciated. Please take a stethoscope and a copy of your CV for the staff in Sri Lanka.
The students may also volunteer to performing health check-ups on students at the local school, orphanages, disabled community centre and senior citizens at an aged care facility. Local nursing students also appreciate your assistance with their English lessons – particularly with medical terminology! Volunteers are asked to remain flexible and use their initiative in order to get the most out of this placement.
Other Volunteer Programs
Your specific work program will vary depending on the time of your visit and any personal interest or experience, but with a little flexibility and enthusiasm you are sure to have a wonderful experience. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka your local coordinator will discuss the projects with you and prepare your weekly schedule. The range of activities includes:
Placements are located in local primary schools where demand for English teachers is overwhelming. The majority of schoolchildren speak Sinhalese and, despite English being regularly heard through music and films, Sri Lankan children have very little opportunity to practise speaking the language. Help is needed to develop their confidence, increase their fluency and practise their pronunciation as well as help with their reading, writing, maths, science, art, crafts and/or sports. Make a difference to the lives of the children by helping them gain an education. No formal qualifications are required and we can provide some suggested activities for the classroom.
Orphanages and Elderly People’s Homes
At both of these projects, there are a growing number of people who need extra care and appreciate some attention. The children may be from an underprivileged background and need support and stability. Involve yourself in teaching, games, workshops and reading with both the young and the elderly.
Women’s Shelter work
The women’s shelter option is for female volunteers only and has been established to provide support and guidance to women who have suffered from domestic violence, as well as being a safe refuge where women can share experiences and rebuild their confidence. Working for this very worthwhile cause can be incredibly rewarding and encourages you to use your creative side to build bonds and engage with the women.
Disabled Community Centre
The Centre provides support for children with disabilities to help them develop their educational, social and life skills. Vocational training is also provided to assist the vulnerable and marginalised members of the community to make handicrafts and sell them through various outlets. Get involved with a range of activities including art, crafts, singing and taking care of the children. Help with their physio treatments, exercises and games to help improve the lives of these people.
On arrival at Colombo Airport you will be met and transferred to your accommodation, where you will be based for the duration of your stay. Your accommodation will be in a local homestay, the perfect way for you to learn about the Sri Lankan culture and experience the Sri Lankan way of life. Your air-conditioned accommodation is clean, secure and comfortable. You may be sharing a room with fellow volunteers and will have an ensuite bathroom.
Three meals a day are included as well as bottled water, tea and coffee. Meals will be typical of Sri Lanka’s cuisine, mainly consisting of steamed rice served with curry made with meat, fish or vegetable, and even fruit, often using coconut milk. A typical meal consists of a ‘main curry’, as well as several other curries made with vegetables, lentils and side dishes such as pickles and chutneys. Vegetarians are well catered for. Free WiFi is available.
WHEN TO VISIT:
Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 29°C. January is the driest month and the highlands are generally cooler than the flatter areas. May and October/November are the wettest months with a regular tropical downpour.
Other durations are available.
INCLUSIONS: Airport transfers, Arrival induction and orientation, Accommodation in clean and comfortable home stay with fans, air-conditioning and WiFi, all meals with bottled water, tea and coffee, 24/7 Local in country ground support, Hospital registration fee and Medical Supervisor. DocTours t-shirt and personalised luggage label.
EXCLUSIONS: Drinks, Items of a personal nature (ie laundry, telephone etc.), Travel Insurance, Passport, Visa fees, Vaccinations and International Flights (and taxes).
DEPOSIT: Processing of your Volunteer Application Form can be initiated once we have received your deposit. Due with your Application Form is $ 495.00 per person. This deposit is non-refundable once your placement is confirmed.
FINAL PAYMENT: Final payment is due two months prior to departure or on receipt of invoice if travelling in less than two months. Apologies but payments by Visa and Master Card will incur a 1.5% fee.
FLIGHTS: Contact STA Travel if you would like assistance with your flights, optional tours or travel insurance. STA Travel provides special offers and benefits for volunteers and therefore please call direct: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1300 675 435 Flights to Colombo include Air Lanka, Singapore Airlines, Thai, Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines.
VISAS & PASSPORT: All foreign nationals travelling to Sri Lanka are required to apply for online Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before departure to Sri Lanka by logging on to www.eta.gov.lk website. Please let us know if you need any advice or assistance with your visa. Passports must be valid for six (6) months after you return home.
INSURANCE: It is a condition of your travel arrangements that you have current travel insurance to cover against cancellation fees, medical expenses, lost luggage and evacuation. We recommend that volunteers advise their student or professional indemnity provider of their volunteer work in advance of travel.
CANCELLATION FEES: Please refer our Terms & Conditions. Deposits are non-refundable once your arrangements have been confirmed. Please note that all costs are subject to change due to airline increases, taxes, hotel and volunteer price increases, as well as currency adjustments.