Why Volunteer in Sri Lanka?
One of the most meaningful and broadening experiences you can undertake is to volunteer in Sri Lanka with the children in orphanages and wild life in Sri Lanka.
Few Compelling Reasons
The United Nations reported the number of orphans in Sri Lanka in 2009 at 340,000 (International Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014). Some children are victims of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which officially ended in 2009, and from the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. These children have witnessed and endured significant trauma and loss. While some children in Sri Lankan orphanages have lost both parents, one or both parents of many children are still alive. Often these children have been abandoned or are placed in alternative care by the state due to poverty and domestic violence. They are often separated from their siblings. Many children are placed in orphanages when they are babies and grow up without knowing who their families are.
Not all orphans are placed in children’s homes, many live with extended family, relatives or appointed guardians. Even so, there are hundreds of children’s homes throughout Sri Lanka. Most of these children’s homes are voluntary, relying solely on donations. Conditions in these orphanages vary. There are orphanages in Sri Lanka that offer children the love, nurturing, care and education they require. Unfortunately, there are also orphanages where living conditions are unacceptable by western standards and, sadly, where children are subject to abuse by those given the responsibility of protecting them. Being placed in a children’s home in Sri Lanka does not always mean a child is safe from harm.
SLVP | Sri Lanka Volunteer Program
Sri Lanka Volunteer Program (SLVP) was founded by Kithsiri Tenakoon and Eshantha Ariyadasa in 2009 to create an alternative model for orphanages and children’s homes in Sri Lanka. This approach includes an emphasis on meeting children’s psychological, physical, emotional and educational needs in a safe, healthy and loving environment.
- Interacting with the children to build their confidence and sense of self-worth
- Teaching English and assisting with lessons and homework
- Providing financial support through program fees to enhance facilities
How is SLVP different?
Unlike many organisations that offer meaningful travel experiences, SLVP is an entirely not-for-profit organisation. Management do not receive wages and all funding goes directly into SLVP projects.
SLVP and conservation
SLVP is also committed to preserving Sri Lanka’s wildlife and supports conservation programs protecting sea turtles and elephants.
Sea turtle populations globally are under serious threat. Turtles are killed for food and their shells, high numbers are caught and killed as by-catch in fishing nets and turtle eggs are harvested for food or trade. Turtle conservation in Sri Lanka is critical to protect the Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green species of sea turtle. Conservation projects ensure that eggs are laid and hatched in protected areas, giving sea turtle populations a chance to recover.
The population of wild elephants in Sri Lanka is in decline. Deforestation, agricultural expansion and human population growth have substantially reduced the elephant’s natural habitat. There are increasing instances of ‘human-elephant conflict’ with fatalities on both sides. Elephant conservation projects in Sri Lanka are critical to protecting elephants and their environment.
Through SLVP, volunteers contribute to conservation projects by being actively involved in the day-to-day running of the programs, educating visitors to the projects and giving local program members and volunteers a chance to practice and improve their English skills.
Current SLVP projects: