Event / Project details

Project start
22 Jul 2013
Event / Project end

Event / Project duration
This project is ongoing

Event / Project ID

Event / Project Name
Event / Project City
Event / Project Country
Sri Lanka
Preferred skills
No qualifications needed, just a big heart and a desire to provide care and support
Number of volunteers

Minimum age
Event / Project types
Child welfare and Education

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Brief overview


Orphanage, Children’s Home and Nutrition Centre - With over 80 orphaned children from very young babies up to 18 years old, this incredible children’s centre, orphanage, nutrition centre, pre-school and village ‘home’ is an excellent example of thoughtful care in Sri Lanka.

Without help from volunteers, the Orphanage would not be able to provide a supportive, family environment and good education for these children, most of who have lost their mothers and have little or no contact with other family. The main aim of this Home is that the girls leave with an education and a future.

Sri Lanka is vibrant, rich in diversity of culture, race, language and religion. The island has an abundance of animals and flowers, mountains and rivers, and beautiful beaches! It is located at the crossroads where East meets West and is the gateway to South Asia. The people are friendly, food delicious and most of all - incredible beauty!


Start Dates

All year round - you choose your start and finish dates!


Minimum stay 1 week up to 3 months, subject to visa restrictions


No qualifications needed, just a big heart and a desire to provide care and support.


From £795 for 1 week, ranging to £2,595 for 12 weeks.

Full Price List and other Currencies

What's included

►Accommodation ►Food ►Meeting you at the Airport ►Transfer to your accommodation ►Full pre-departure support ►Local in-country team support and backup ►Transport to and from your project every day ►24-hr emergency support ►Return Transfer to the Airport ►Free T-shirt.

What's not included

Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required, but we'll provide necessary documents and assistance).

Who can do this Project?

All our projects are open to all nationalities.

Unless otherwise stated, you need to be aged between 17 and 70+



Based in a beautiful coconut and rice growing village 38km outside of Colombo, in 1960 this Home was opened with 10 girls aged 7-14. Since then it has been home to over 500 girls. Today there are around 50-80 girls at the Orphanage, in many cases children who have lost their mothers and whose fathers cannot raise them alone.

The girls go to school and those that are capable are offered scholarships at private schools with those struggling to keep up receiving extra tutoring after school. The girls are also taught needlework, lace work, weaving, cooking, gardening, cultural dancing, computer skills, English and typing. All the children receive health checks, vaccinations and a good healthy diet.

The Centre is not a religious institute. It has one main owner and is partly Government run. It receives some support financially from individuals within Sri Lanka as well as from organisations abroad, particularly Australia. It desperately relies on voluntary assistance for hands-on help in caring for the babies, playing with the toddlers and supporting and educating the older children.

At time of writing (June 2012) there are 42 children under 5 years old (girls and boys), plus 40 girls from 5-18 years old. The level of English is described as intermediate.

  • The youngest children between 3 and 5 years live at the Orphanage. The older children attend school at a separate building nearby.
  • The trustee of this Orphanage is a former president in Sri Lanka. It began in 1958.
  • The Orphanage is situated in a very rural area and a beautiful village amidst paddy fields, old vegetation and streams.

The home is split into different buildings for different purposes, including -

Toddler’s Home and Nutrition Centre

A Nutrition Centre for sick and malnourished babies was built in the grounds in the 1970s to help support malnourished babies and toddlers who had been abandoned either in hospital or on the streets. These children often came from government orphanages because they required additional medical attention. Often the mother was too ill to care for the child.

In time, a Toddlers’ Home was built for the children after they had been treated and before they could attend school. This home is on an adjacent piece of land, together with the Nutrition Centre and the Girls’ Home.

The toddlers sleep in one long, airy room with specially-made small beds. There is a big open play area at the Home. Most of these toddlers have come from the nutrition centre.

The Schools and the 'Village'

The children attend Pre-School on site for English, Dance and Crafts. Daily play activities and walks are arranged each day for them. The Home has a Matron and a few local staff. As they get older, the girls learn mother-craft skills.

Within the Centre (also known as the 'Village') are 3 cottages - for administration, pre-school and a Vocational Training Centre. There is a deep well for drinking, bathing and cooking, and for watering the home-grown crops which produce food and a small income for the village. It is an area lush in vegetation, based 3 hours from the capital city of Colombo and 1 hour from Kandy.

The Children

Most of these children don't have any visiting family at all. The Centre aims to restore health and then provide a happy, supportive and loving environment with a sense of family within the Orphanage.

The children at this Centre fit into society well. They attend local school and enjoy the support of one another. They also enjoy the local celebrations – especially New Year and Vesak! Once they reach adulthood, these girls go on to lead independent lives, often returning to the village for special events.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into South East Asia and the Sri Lankan culture.
  • 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 a different culture, 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!


You'll assist at the Centre from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, on Monday to Friday. The orphanage has around 80 children aged between 1 month and 18 years old. From 5 years and upwards it is girls only, the children under 5 are mixed genders.

Your help is needed to play with the toddlers and care for the babies. Love and care is the most important job required! The types of activities the children over 5 do include netball practice, computer classes, cookery, 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 teaching, counselling, care work, handicrafts - you will be most welcome to put them to good use here!

You'll stay in our volunteer house in Ja-Ela and you'll leave your accommodation at around 7:45 am. Lunch and tea are provided at the Orphanage so that you may stay all day – there is much to help with!

Dress Code: There is no dress code for this project, but, as with all projects in Sri Lanka, you should dress conservatively and appropriately. For women this means clothing which covers your shoulders and knees at all times (except weekends on the beach, where tourists are common and beachwear is acceptable).

Getting there: The Orphanage is about 38km from the main project house in Ja-Ela where you will live with volunteers from several other types of projects in Sri Lanka. Commute time is roughly 45 minutes each way. It’s a beautiful journey with very little traffic on the road to the project.


If you’re doing any teaching at all within your project, formally or informally, we will provide you with a Teaching Suggestions Guide which will be invaluable in helping you to structure a lesson and will give you lots of ideas for topics and materials to use in your classes. Our support staff in Sri Lanka are excellent and there is a 24 hour emergency international telephone number direct to our Head Office.  


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.

Ja-Ela and Gampaha (where the school is based) are small bustling towns on the west coast - an excellent position for exploring the stunning beaches in the south. Both locations are only a few hours drive from the famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, where you can also volunteer!

There are an abundance of fascinating places to visit. From towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains, Sri Lanka is blessed with a sense of deep spirituality and history. The local people are extremely 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 will send you away with memories you'll never forget!


Travellers has a traditional Sri Lankan house in Ja-Ela. It is spacious and comfortable, with a garden, several balconies, two lounge rooms and many bedrooms. You will most likely share a room with other Travellers volunteers. There is a TV and DVD player for evening entertainment, in the upstairs lounge area and with the latest DVD copies just a pound to buy locally, there is usually something to watch!

There is a local live-in chef at the Travellers house who will prepare your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, throughout the week. We also have other staff at the house 24 hours a day for cleaning, assistance, security and comfort!

Teaching, Work Experience and the Colombo Zoo placements are all based in Ja-Ela and so the house is often full and offers a lively, sociable atmosphere – there will be no shortage of friends to spend weekends at the beach with! Ja-Ela volunteers also have the advantage of easy access to Colombo’s facilities, major bus stations and also the Airport Gardens Hotel - a luxury hotel which offers facilities that include a fantastic swimming pool. The hotel is only a short trip away from the volunteer house: perfect for those lazy afternoons!

The food is usually local cuisine which means lots of curry, rice and salads. Whether a curry fan or not, you will be by the time you return as Sri Lankan food is delicious! You can buy snacks and treats, including a growing variety of Western tastes (chocolate!) from the local store. There is also a KFC in Ja-Ela for those who need a fix of home!

The area of Ja-Ela is an industrialised town and although it is not one of the paradise beauty spots, it's a good point at which to start your exploration of the island's many beaches and beautiful inland resorts.

"I just wanted to let you know, that I had the time of my life in Sri Lanka. It was FANTASTIC, I wish the entire experience had never had to end. I would just like to say thank you to your team of organisers for organising the spectacular trip. And also a big thank you to Roshan, Shivani ... and all the boys at the house for making my stay very welcoming and memorable. I miss them all very much. And I will definitely want to return and pay them a visit."  


To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme, please click here.


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