Orphanage Assistant

On this uncrowded, exotic and developing island there are many vulnerable children in much need of volunteer's care and support.

In Sri Lanka today institutional care is the fate of many children who have been abandoned by their parents. According to UNICEF, out of over 21,000 children in orphanages in Sri Lanka, one or both parents of over 19,000 of them are still alive. Poverty is a root cause with families feeling they cannot afford to adequately provide for the child and give them the education and start in life they need and deserve.

For whatever reason these children are here, your role is to help encourage and care for them, provide them with much needed confidence and to help maximise their potential. Volunteering with children is a highly rewarding experience and one that people from all backgrounds can get involved in The projects we work with provide a much needed safety net for these vulnerable children and the more help and encouragement they can get from volunteers, the better and brighter their future.

Volunteering with children is a highly rewarding experience and one that people from all backgrounds can get involved in. Presently, we support three orphanages. A girl’s orphanage funded by an international NGO. There are 18 girls at the home, aged between 5 to 14 years of age. Please note that only female volunteers are permitted to work at the girl’s orphanage. PMGY volunteers also support a government-funded orphanage, which cares for 80 boys and girls aged between 6 to 18 years of age. These are the main orphanages we support. However, we also place volunteers at a boy’s orphanage that is run by a Buddhist monk. There are 20 boys at the home aged from 5 to 18 years of age.

Suitable for


Typical day

Volunteers attend the orphanages in the afternoons from 15:00 to 18:00, as the children attend school in the morning. The first 1.5 hours are spent teaching the children English and undertaking educational activities. The second 1.5 hours is allocated for outdoor games and sports. The orphanages have a lot of outdoor space as part of the property. We follow the national syllabus so volunteers have a basis to formulate their lesson plans. Our local team will also explain how to lesson plan during the in-country orientation and show you what lessons/activities former volunteers have undertaken at your assigned project.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
17 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
English at Secondary School level
Other Skills
If you are under 18 you must have your guardians consent to join this programme.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Sri Lanka? Volunteer World directly connects you with Plan My Gap Year

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Free-time activities

PMGY volunteers are based in Ambalangoda, which is a lively oceanside town situated on the South West Coast.

It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in kolam and other southern Sri Lankan dances, but are now mainly used as souvenirs. Many families hang a mask on their front door to ward off evil spirits.

The town has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and shops including a very popular ice cream shop. There is also a central bus and train station, which has good links to all the major destinations you are likely to go to. Plus, the beach is only a 5 minute tuk tuk ride from the Volunteer House.

Hikkaduwa has long been among the most popular of Sri Lanka’s beach spots. It has a lively and fun vibe – definitely a backpacker town. It is also your best bet for evening drinks and meals out during your time with us. Furthermore, the surfing in the Hikkaduwa region is quite well known and gets the best surf during its dry season, November to March.

Bentota is a good option for those looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach. It is one of the more established beach resorts on the west coast of Sri Lanka with a number of activities available to you. You can go on a river cruise, visit a turtle hatchery, check out Sri Lanka’s tallest Buddha statue or try out some of the many water sports available. There are also plenty of affordable guesthouses as well as beachside bars and restaurants to keep you entertained at night.

Galle is always a favourite of ours. The UNESCO World Heritage protected Galle Fort is an 18th-century Dutch walled town with chic shops, grand colonial houses and beautiful beaches. Unawatuna beach is the place to be for a lazy weekend by the sea. There are plenty of places to stay, of differing price and quality. Unawatuna has a good nightlife and a number of activities you can get up to – jet skiing, scuba diving, glass boat cruises and even surfing (although you may need to head a little further up the coast for this to the town of Habaraduwa or Ahangama).

Located in the centre of the island, surrounded by green hills and full of cultural significance – Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The city hosts the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site. The picturesque central lake on the other side of town offers a more relaxed feel than the busy town centre.

Kandy has quite a lot to do. The cultural dance shows are worth seeing particularly combined with an evening view of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. There is also a huge botanic garden just 15 minutes out of town by bus.

If you’re looking to witness some wildlife during your time in Sri Lanka then we recommend heading over to Yala National Park, on the southeast coast.

Water Sports


What's included?
Your fee includes both your registration fee and programme fees.

Your programme fee includes; accommodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), airport pickup (24 hours), in-country orientation, private transport to projects, 24 hour in-country support.

Your registration fee includes; 24 hour UK based support, comprehensive volunteer handbook, live pre-departure webinars, 100% financial protection, regular programme inspection.
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

You will be met on-arrival by a member of the PMGY Sri Lanka team who will be wearing a PMGY T-shirt and holding a PMGY sign. We advise all volunteers to wear their PMGY t-shirt (if they’ve purchased one) as this helps us identify you at the airport.

Once you’ve met up with our local team you will be driven to our Volunteer House in Ambalangoda. The journey takes around 2.5 hours.


During your time with PMGY in Sri Lanka you will live in our Volunteer House/s. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

The majority of our projects are NOT within walking distance of our Volunteer House. PMGY will take you to and from the project each day. This will either be by tuk tuk or minivan; in most cases it will be tuk tuk. The cost of this service is included in your Programme Fee.

The Volunteer House is located just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town. Each room has bunk beds, up to 9 people per room (same-sex rooms only, unless a couple). Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own mosquito net and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories; we encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables with Ashika in the safe located at his house.

Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Sri Lanka is hot and humid all year round! The house has Wi-Fi (although intermittent) and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled.

A member of our local team will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security.

Please note that in the summer months we do use extra accommodation to cope with the extra number of volunteers when the main volunteer house reaches capacity. Such accommodation is again basic but comfortable with a western bathroom and located a short distance away from the main volunteer house. You will be sure to mix with volunteers as a whole at projects as well!

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

You will be served three meals per day at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available. A weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day! Below is an example of the meals we serve our volunteers:

Breakfast – Egg, toast, fruit with tea.
Lunch – Dhal and spinach curry, poppadums, paprika tofu and rice.
Dinner – Mixed vegetable noodles, tomato curry, omelette and poppadoms.

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa. Hikkaduwa is a 20 minute journey from Ambalangoda and the cost to get there by tuk tuk is around £3 per way. This is a popular place that volunteers go to in the evening, as it is a trendy backpackers town.

* Please inform us in your application if you have any dietary requirements. Couples, families and older volunteers will be accommodated to suit their needs.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Ambalangoda/Sri Lanka between 4 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Plan My Gap Year will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Sri Lanka

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Sri Lanka. Please check the visa regulations for Sri Lanka.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Sri Lanka.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Bandaranaike International (CMB) in Colombo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Sri Lanka.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Sri Lanka provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Sri Lanka you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Sri Lanka.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Sri Lanka upfront.
Ambalangoda, Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka