Volunteer with Children in Orphanages
Home | Our Programmes | Volunteer in Children Homes
- Program Overview
- Your Role as a Volunteer
- Common Activities
- Skills & Qualifications Required
- Suggested items
- General Guidance for Volunteers
Volunteering in Sri Lankan orphanages can be a very fulfilling experience because you’ll get to enhance the lives of children who have been either abandoned, displaced or abused and in some cases all three.
Children are the future of any nation, and we feel it’s everyone’s responsibility to help all children maximize their potential, and to promote the best future possible for them in their home country.
These precious children, who have had a very tough start in life, are in need of psychological needs such as encouragement, affection and care, in addition to the basic physiological needs of all children. Without our help, they will be denied the opportunity to make their way in the world as confident, integrated adults who are ready to face the future. There are, however, some organizations, philanthropists and orphanages that are committed to providing a much needed safety net for these vulnerable children, and we are one of them.
In working with disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka orphanages, volunteers can have a significant and beneficial impact on their well being, happiness and self-confidence, helping the children focus not on the sorrow and loneliness they have experienced in their formative years, but rather on their potential for a bright future. Encouraging the children to look forward rather than back can have a profound effect on their well being and sense of self-worth.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka orphanages is both a challenging and rewarding experience. Our previous volunteers tell us it has given them a new perspective on life, allowing them to embrace a country in a way that no back-packer could by merely travelling. The time spent volunteering will be unique, full of satisfaction and surprises, and give you memories that will never fade.
Our partner organisations prioritize children without families who need love, care and protection; children who can benefit from the support of those willing to help make their lives better. Working as a volunteer in a children’s home in Sri Lanka is an exciting and rewarding opportunity; it’s your chance to give a helping hand to those who are truly in need.
Category of Children Volunteer Projects in Sri Lanka
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka and specially want to work with children in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Volunteer Program (SLVP) offers a range of volunteer projects which can be suited to your desire.
Teach English to young children in Sri Lanka – Teaching English in Government schools
Teach English to young children in Sri Lanka – Teaching English in Community Projects
Work with Children in the Community in Sri Lanka -
Your Role as a Volunteer
As a volunteer working with children in orphanages, your days will be varied and stimulating. You will be encouraged to create a schedule of different activities for each day, ranging from classes to fun games, and from singing and dancing to skills development activities. You will be amazed at the children’s enthusiasm and energy, and surprised at how much you have to offer them. Often what they most need is someone to organize events, whether it’s an English class starting at 9.00am or a silly game in the garden at the end of the day.
Teaching English is one of the most popular and beneficial activities volunteers can do. Even very young children know that if they can speak at least some English, the international language, it will give them a huge advantage in getting a place in higher education, and in finding a job when they are ready to fly the nest and enter Sri Lankan society as young adults. You will find the children excited by the opportunity to speak English with you, despite some initial shyness, and hungry to learn as much as you can teach them. Being able to communicate in English has become one of the most valuable assets in the field of education, and of course it is the business language of the world.
Since you are unlikely to know more than a few words of our language, the children will begin learning English from you right from your very first meeting. Simply by being with the children and only speaking in English, they will quickly pick up basic, conversational English through total immersion in the language. Volunteers can choose their own style of helping the children learn and use English through their day to day activities. Many volunteers incorporate games and exercises into lessons, as well as more traditional methods, to make the classes varied and interesting, and to keep students engaged and enthusiastic in using English.
Since this is not a formal English teaching placement, volunteers can also choose a range of their own activities to give the children full, fun-packed days where they can also absorb and practice the language. Even a fun game played using only English is of benefit to the youngsters. Children who can communicate in English are on a path for a brighter future in Sri Lanka.
Activities expected from a volunteer will vary depending on the needs of the organization, and on the special programs that are running at the time of your arrival. This will also vary according to your skills and interests as a volunteer.
- Teaching English – basic to advanced English depending on the needs of the children and their ability, as well as your ability.
- Fun activities in education such as arts, dance, music, sports and games etc.
- Helping the management, staff and children with their daily chores. This may include housekeeping, cooking, gardening and washing the dishes.
- Helping the children with their school homework.
- Getting involved in other programs run by the organization
- We also encourage volunteers to suggest and implement new programs which could be beneficial for the children, and helpful to the organization in making it a more rewarding place for the children to grow up.
Skills & Qualifications Required for Children Home Projects
No specific academic qualifications are required to volunteer in Sri Lanka orphanage projects, but you will need to be able to speak, read and write English to a good standard. You will also need enthusiasm, energy, patience, adaptability, and a good sense of humor! You will need to be able to work on your own initiative, after initial training and guidance. On these projects you will not be provided with a daily or weekly schedule of activities; you will need to be creative, and put together your own schedule that suits the group you’re working with. This can be flexible to start with, while you get to know the group, their names (always a challenge!), and their level of English.
Suggested items that are easily purchased locally:
- Text books (lined/unlined)
- Sketch books (many of the students are very talented and enjoy expressing themselves through art)
- Pens (blue and red biros)
- Colour pencils/crayons/textas
- Pencil sharpeners and erasers
- Glue and scissors
- Stickers (stars etc. – great resource when marking students work)
Suggested items to bring from home
- Books, magazines, travel brochures: can be used in a variety of ways from teaching the students about where you are from, using the pictures for art etc. (be mindful of Sri Lankan culture, particularly regarding Western advertising)
- Coins/ stamps/ telephone cards/ flags and items unique to your home country – They are great resources as teaching materials.
- If you can play an instrument, the children would love to have a live performance!
- The children get very excited about cameras and love the opportunity to be photographed and filmed. Even better if you are able to get the pictures developed and leave them with copies – they treasure these
- Spare trouser and t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty as you may engage in various other manual work such as gardening and playing games, sports etc.
General Guidance to Volunteer in Sri Lanka Orphanages
Gender: Any (but we prefer females and couples)
Preferred Age Range: Over 18
Dress code: In Sri Lanka, women dress modestly. We advise that revealing clothes, eg short trousers, tops which expose a woman’s shoulders, bust or midriff, (like short T-shirts), are not allowed at the projects or during working hours. This is to avoid creating the wrong impression, as in Sri Lanka we don’t show much bare skin, especially women. It’s true that women here wearing sari’s do sometimes reveal their backs and a little midriff, but for western volunteers we suggest long T-shirts or blouses/shirts, three quarter or full-length trousers, or skirts well below the knee. Bare arms below the shoulders are fine. Covering up will also protect you from mosquitoes in the evenings.
Smoking and drinking are prohibited within the project and during working hours. This is very important as you will be working with children. (If you are desperate for a smoke, please inform the coordinator and ask for a hideout!)
Behavior: The management of the projects expects good conduct from volunteers. Try to be a role model for the kids; children tend to imitate their teachers and ours will look up to you!