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Working and volunteering


There are fewer volunteer opportunities available now than there were in the years after the 2004 tsunami. Still, for people with time – and especially expertise – there are some ways you can be actively involved in helping others.

Lonely Planet cannot vouch for organisations that we do not work with directly, so you should always carry out your own research to make sure that any volunteer placements are ethical and beneficial to local people. Organisations offering placements include the following:

International Volunteer HQ Organises a wide range of volunteer experiences, including teaching, medical care and temple renovation. Based in New Zealand, it runs programs in and around Kandy.

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society Offers paid volunteer roles for people interested in wildlife data collection and teaching opportunities.

Volunteer Sri Lanka Can arrange short-term volunteer positions, especially for teachers but also for unskilled positions.


Sri Lanka is not a place to seek work, even in tourist places such as beach cafes or dive shops. The only foreigners who normally work in the country are hired for specific roles by companies ready to deal with a significant bureaucratic process.

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