Sri Lanka

Location 2 weeks 3 weeks 4 weeks
  • Volunteer Program: Sri Lanka
$1,890 AUD $2,290 AUD $2,690 AUD


Ceylon, Teardrop of India and the Pearl of the Orient – As a small island these are just some of its nicknames. Sri Lanka reveals its richness and beauty, with an intensity of affection it evokes in its visitors. Cool off amidst the rolling tea plantations in its centre, to national parks home to exotic wildlife, even the occasional elephant or leopard. Explore Sri Lanka’s cultural side with a visit to the Temple of the Tooth, and ancient sites such as the imposing rock fortress at Sigiriya.

This is a country that is moving on after the shock and tragedy of the tsunami, but which nonetheless offers smiling faces, and to top it all off, the people are friendly, the food is delicious and costs are low.

We are based in the southern province, about one hour south of Colombo, in the area around Galle. Placement locations include hospitals, schools, orphanages and even temples.

Volunteer Placements – Medical & Healthcare

The placements are based at a large teaching hospital with over 1500 beds and departments include surgery, 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 and so some patients may be lying on the floor without a mattress as they prefer not to turn sick people away.

One entire wing of the hospital is allocated to treatment of patients with cancer. The placements are ideal for medical students and electives and can be tailored to reflect your preferences, skills and experience however please be flexible and take into account the needs of the hospital at the time of your visit. Please advise your preferences on your Application Form.

The hospital welcomes qualified doctors, nurses and physiotherapists who could assist and/or teach. Medical teams who can undertake specific clinics or procedures such as plastic surgery, cleft palates or bypass surgery are particularly welcome. Doctors require specific approvals from the local ministry of health prior to practicing in Sri Lanka.

Medical students are able to join for their medical elective (after 2nd year) and can shadow the consultants and senior doctors and observe ward rounds, OPD clinics, theatre and surgical operations. Available areas are oncology, neuro surgical and emergency trauma unit. Less experienced students can observe and shadow in the emergency unit. More experienced students and young doctors and nurses may be able to assist with blood tests, vaccines and gain valuable medical work experience looking after patients, helping in the pharmacy or lab, taking vital measurements such as blood pressure and temperature, dispensing medication and assisting with nursing duties.

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. The range of activities includes:


We offer placements in a number of local primary schools where the demand for English teachers in Sri Lanka 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.


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 old.


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.


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.  Assist with their physio treatments, exercises and games to help improve the lives of these people.


Arrival & Orientation

On arrival at Colombo Airport you will be driven to your accommodation, where you will be based for the duration of your stay. Your accommodation will be within a local homestay, the perfect way for you to learn about the Sri Lankan culture, improve your language skills and experience the Sri Lankan way of life. Your air-conditioned accommodation will be 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 Sri Lankan cuisine, mainly consisting of steamed rice served with curry made with fish or vegetables 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 Go 

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.


Cost (per person)

2 week Volunteer Program = A$1,890
3 week Volunteer Program = A$2,290
4 week Volunteer Program = A$2,690

Inclusions Exclusions
Transfers: Airport – Accommodation – Airport Drinks
Arrival induction and orientation Items of a personal nature (ie. laundry, telephone etc)
Accommodation in clean and comfortable home stay with air-conditioning and WiFi Travel insurance
All meals with bottled water, tea and coffee Travel to/from work daily via tuk tuk or local bus
24/7 Local in-country ground support Passport and visa fees
On-site Supervisor and Hospital Registration Fees

DocTours T-Shirt and Personalised Luggage Label

International flights and taxes to Colombo



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:   Phone:  1300 675 435   Flights to Colombo include Air Lanka, Singapore Airlines, Thai and Malaysian Airlines.


Volunteers are required to submit a recent Working with Children Check or a police report – we can advise on how to arrange this.


Terms & Conditions


Your medical voluntary work may be eligible for CPD points from your relevant college.  We will forward the guiding notes with your travel documents.

We recommend that you advise your professional indemnity provider of your volunteer work in advance of travel.

Processing of your Application can be initiated once we have received your deposit of $495.00 per person with your completed Application Form and CV (one for each volunteer).

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 and American Express 3.0%.

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 website. Please let us know if you need any advice or assistance with your visa.

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.

Please refer to 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.