Education and Community Volunteering

Give a Fig Volunteering  »  Education and Community Volunteering

Education and Community Volunteering

from £759
Duration: from 2 weeks to 52 weeks
Countries: Sri Lanka
We specialise in education, and community development projects, offering life enriching opportunities that truly make a difference to the people and ecology of breathtaking Sri Lanka.

Education and Community Volunteering

Based at our HQ and accommodation set in wooded grounds on the fringes of the town and the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside, you could be working with schools, hospitals, orphanages, and rural communities to empower them through improving their quality of life, their incomes, preserve local traditions as well as the wildlife and forests they live alongside. Carry out vital professionally planned and fully supported volunteering projects that make a vital difference to our Sri Lankan communities, as well as to yourself, on this amazing island that encapsulates a continent. Its rich cultural heritage and staggering bio-diverse ecology make it one of the world’s most spectacular locations in which to satisfy your sense of adventure and work for positive social and ecological change. You will be partners with local communities and groups, improving their opportunities to take control of their futures in a fast changing world. Our projects cover education, work with orphanages, human / animal conflict with agriculture and conservation, sustainable development, health, infrastructure construction and youth empowerment. The English language is vital in Sri Lanka and there can be seen direct correlations between training, further education income, opportunities and English fluency. We work with communities who have little English fluency – although all the young are taught the language in schools. Teach and coach English as a language, as well as IT, Math’s, Science, sports, drama, and the Arts through English. Our work is led by experts in their field, and carried out in collaboration and at the request of Sri Lankan government agencies, international charities, community leaders and a non-profit education group. The projects offer short and long term opportunities for volunteers, interns and gap year opportunities, for individuals as well as groups. In order to maximise your contribution to the projects we provide excellent accommodation, good quality locally sourced food, transport to and from the projects and all the materials required for your work. We also offer professional life style and craft courses, island tours and trips that will allow you to experience the beauty of Sri Lanka in ways few tourists ever will.

Our Projects

Rural Villages Project: This project places you at the heart of the local community. Empower the villagers, community leaders and children through teaching English, building local infrastructure, taking part in conservation projects, and supporting the development of their rural businesses for the modern economy and to work with tourists.

Village Orphanage: This is a fantastic opportunity to work within one of the worlds leading orphanage charities and be a part of their inspirational work. We teach the children and staff English, support their vocational programmes as well as their outreach work to strengthen communities so that families can stay together.

Government Orphanages: work with the orphans and staff of government orphanages to improve the older children and young people’s futures, whilst working with the younger children to enable them to better benefit from the education they receive in school and build a long term foundation for their success. Support the maintenance and development of the infrastructure at the orphanages and the work of the staff.

Fishing Village and Turtle Sanctuary: This unique project has ecology and the community at its core. Set up by local fishermen, 10 years ago, the sanctuary allows you to directly contribute to the survival of 5 species of sea turtle that nest on local beaches. Guided by experts you can get hands on with the turtles in the hatchery and help develop the sites facilities.

Schools and Spoken English Projects: English is the language of business in Sri Lanka, many government and tourist jobs require it. Improve the prospects of your students and gain valuable teaching experience in a broad range of subjects, take your TEFL with us or teach subjects ranging from IT, Science, Sports and the Arts.

IT Education Projects: Sri Lanka is set to become the worlds first fully Wi-Fi enabled nation. Take this opportunity to contribute to the technological revolution. Whether you are technically astute or simply have good software knowledge you can help the people of Sri Lanka gain key IT skills, taught through English.

Pre-School Projects:  we are working with pre-schools in the area training teachers and assistants in bests practice, as well as teaching English to them. We run a model pre-school, requested of us by the provincial government, designed to support professionals to both come to the area and to stay in the area whilst their children are young.

Construction Projects: Join us in villages, hospitals and schools building toilets, as well as agro-wells, and water filtration plants.

Teaching Monks: the monks are the leaders of their communities, and teaching them English can support their work with the people. Teach child monks in their school in Anuradhapura, as well as adult monks and nuns in their temples and make a real difference to the effect these men and women can have on their communities.

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Give a Fig Volunteering should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £759

Rural Villages Project

This community we work with consists of 4 villages of 400 households. Its heart is a village temple housing 10 child monks and the chief priest who looks after them and leads the community. The people will give you a warm welcome and you’ll encounter a traditional Sri Lankan way of life where people cultivate rice during the day – sleeping in tree houses at night on elephants, deer and wild pig watch - or carry out traditional crafts. The men carve wood, make furniture, work with metal, and the women weave baskets, make clothes and teach traditional dancing. Due to the nature of rural incomes many men and women are forced to leave their families in search of a larger or more secure income, leaving the children with extended family. The men head to urban locations seeking more regular, but low paid work and the women leave for maid positions – often on little more money - in the middle-east.

Your work with these communities can give these people real choices in their lives; teaching English and coaching sports, arts and drama to improve their English, working with them to develop well managed rural tourism, as well as supporting them to maximize their business links and marketing of their products, develop infrastructure, and working with the ecology of the area will set them on securer paths of sustainable development and income. You can go a step further and study your TEFL with us, enabling you to formalise your own educational skills and those within the community.

If you wish to teach English, or coach children, you will need at least a 20 hour TEFL course certificate so that you will be aware of what is taught in their schools.

Children’s Village Orphanage

Contribute to the work of one of the world’s leading orphanage charities. The orphanage/village has a community of around 140 children with ages ranging from 3-19 and a further 20 staff to whom we also teach English. The orphanage is well run and the children and staff are both well provided for. The children have a fantastic experience and continue to be supported past age 19. The English teaching you’ll provide allows the staff to administer better care and improve the educational impact they have on the young people. Teaching English to the young people significantly improves their chances of being financially independent at 19, with the possibility of entering university in Sri Lanka, and forging a bright future for themselves. You can also contribute to our support work on their vocational training programmes, as well as projects they run within the surrounding area which are designed to strengthen family and community bonds.

The minimum time for an orphanage placement is 3 months, and you will need to complete at least a 120 hour TEFL course.

The minimum time with this orphanage placement is 3 months.

Fishing Village and Turtle Sanctuary

On Colombo’s southern shore lies a small fishing village which is home to one of our projects, a turtle hatchery and sanctuary. For millennia, 5 species of turtle have laid their eggs on the beaches that form the city’s western boundary, and when they do the local hoteliers, police and navy alert the hatchery. The newly laid eggs are taken to the hatchery for reburial. This process is essential to protect the eggs, not only from their natural animal and avian predators but sadly from human predators too – who sell the legally protected eggs for as little as 10 rupees (£0.05) each. The sanctuary was set up 10 years ago by local fishermen to look after the many injured turtles they found on fishing trips. The Hatchery’s supports its work through seasonal tourist visits, which coincide with the egg-laying season, when the NE monsoon is on the opposite coast. The fishermen can only fish during this calm period and have few alternative incomes to carry them through the remainder of the year when their small boats cannot risk the sea when the SW monsoon comes in.

Join us in providing daily care for the turtles, you’ll be guided by local experts, best practice and current research. You will be involved egg collecting, reburial and hatchling release. You’ll have the opportunity to teach English to the fishermen and their children through games, sports, crafts and structured lessons. Join us on beach clean-ups to remove the plastic that’s washed ashore. You can help promote the hatchery work and increase visitor numbers - painting murals, and designing signs to guide tourists to the sanctuary. Work with the tourists and their children when they visit and raise awareness of the hatchery in local schools. The Hatchery also needs strengthening and repair work after it was damaged in the storms of 2015, when 100 yards of beach in front of the village and a 50-year-old mangrove were swept away.

There are also opportunities to engage with the broader community, the local village requires infrastructure to be built, we will be installing toilets, showers as well as piping water to villager homes.

Bookings are open for participation from October 2016.

Schools and Spoken English Projects

Use your conversational English skills in a wide range of speaking, coaching and teaching roles. Discover whether teaching is for you, and gain crucial experience with our educational partners before teacher training or teaching interviews for jobs at home and abroad. Gain vital International teaching experience and if you are already a teacher, school manager or Director of Studies and want a busman’s holiday, or a sabbatical you will be with the right people. We will match placements to your teaching experience – and each person will be fully supported and equipped by us for this amazing experience.

You can volunteer as an English assistant in our schools, speaking to children through planned programmes helping bring the language alive and increasing their confidence. Coach sports, art, drama, math’s, science, as well as IT for which we have special projects.

English is considered to be the path to success in Sri Lanka, being widely used in the civil service, in health, hospitality and tourism, as well as in private business. Without English, people are certainly disadvantaged and this contributes to the cycle of rural poverty. Rural government schools are reported to have less English teachers than urban schools, and few if any opportunities to speak English in classes of up to 50 pupils. Few of the families we work with can afford after school tuition to make up for the gaps in their children’s learning. You’ll be volunteering to develop children’s conversational English and pronunciation in a number of places: small Sri Lankan ‘International English-Medium’ private schools with classes of 12 students, in government schools, in pre-schools that we have established, in orphanages, and in well attended Sunday schools run by monks and nuns, who also teach English if their skills allow them to.

Study and complete your TEFL in a fully supported educational environment whilst contributing to our positive educational and community work. You will need to have at least a 20 hour TEFL certificate (see our website for details) to raise your awareness of the grammar the children are taught in schools. If you do not have a TEFL certificate you can study and complete a range of other length TEFL courses - up to 250 hours - should you be thinking of working overseas. To be considered to work with us after your volunteering placement, you will need at some point at least a ‘Level 3’ course, similar to or the one offered on our website

IT Education Projects

IT is seen as key to Sri Lanka’s development with plans in place for the island to become the worlds first fully Wi-Fi enabled country. Take this opportunity to use your IT skills to support the development of members of the community including unemployed youth. Whether you are an IT teacher or simply knowledgeable in software or programming your experience will be invaluable to helping the local community develop.

The minimum time on the IT specific programmes is 6 weeks.

Pre-School Projects

The not for profit British led education company that we work with run a model English language pre-school, led by British PGCE trained professionals, a school requested of them by the provincial government to support Sri Lankan professionals to both come to the area and to stay in the area whilst their children are young rather than head to Colombo for their child’s education. The professionals the government wishes to attract here include doctors, university lecturers, and the children of foreign workers – all of whom help support the development of this rural province. The education company also trains pre-school teachers and supports or establishes pre-schools in the rural areas we work in, developing best practice, as well as teaching English to the staff to teach the children. Working with pre-schoolers we also carry out as a key aspect of our Orphanage Project.

Construction Projects

Join us in villages, hospitals and schools building toilets, as well as agro-wells and water filtration plants. Neither the local hospital nor the school has adequate toilet facilities and 5/400 households have no toilet, which is obviously harmful to those households and the ones around. The temple’s toilets and shower facilities need to be increased due to the increasing numbers of child monks living at the temple, as well as the numbers of people coming to the temple for social and community gatherings. Water treatment plants also need to be installed in the villages, schools and hospitals, and the villages need 20 agro-wells to support the development of agriculture.
The child monks’ living areas and house also has to be upgraded as the accommodation is very basic. This upgrading includes equipping with better beds and windows, – which you could make with the furniture makers – as well as tiling the floors.

We encourage groups that wish to come out to raise money to fund these building projects; full details of costs are on our website.

Teaching Monks and their Communities

Unlike those of other Asian countries, Sri Lankan monks take a vow for life, not just a chosen period of time. Teaching the monks English will help them become better teachers, spiritual guides, community leaders, and ‘social workers’. You will be teaching English to Sri Lankan child monks at their school in the country’s most sacred ancient city as well as to the adult monks at their temples. Depending on your teaching experience, you will have the opportunity to teach adult monks in Bhiksu University, the only state funded university for the higher education of buddhist monks. This latter will be of particular interest to those with a strong background in English and education and a chance to work in one the worlds truly unique academic institutions.


Photo Gallery

Teaching the orphanage staff

Teaching the orphanage staff

The staff really appreciate learning English with us.
Dancing at a village festival

Dancing at a village festival

Elephants had been in the villages in the early hour and so this parade by truck and moped around all of the households along 20 kms of roads and paths had to begin at 16:30. There were stops for tea and dancing and this scene is on the last km before we arrived at the temple.
Sri Lanka is a land of beautiful scenery

Sri Lanka is a land of beautiful scenery

This is one of many scenes in the ancient city of Auradhapura
One of the few things you can't do in Sri Lanka is ski.

One of the few things you can't do in Sri Lanka is ski.

Beautiful seas. Sri Lanka has it all and our base in Anuradhapura means that most experiences are accessible.
Sri Lanka. Possibly the world's best all round wildlife destination.

Sri Lanka. Possibly the world's best all round wildlife destination.

From elephants to dugong, hornbills to pangolins, blue whales to crocodiles and leopards to lizards. Sri Lanka's wildlife is still here and highly visible. Join us in helping to protect and preserve this paradise ark for the future.
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Email Enquiry

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Give a Fig Volunteering should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.

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