A country rich in natural beauty and ancient heritage, but financially lacking, Sri Lanka definitely needs and appreciates volunteer help. There are many worthwhile projects and locations where volunteers can spend their time. For those too timid to venture out into the jungles, Colombo is a good volunteer option. The largest city as well as the capital, it offers a mix of modern life with colonial ruins. Dehiwala-Mount Lavania is another city located in the southern part of the country that has witnessed tremendous development in recent years. Both cities offer numerous volunteer opportunities in social uplift projects for the not so well to do residing there. Additionally a number of orphanages in each city can use volunteer help in carrying out administrative work, caring for the children or planning activities for them.
Sri Lanka is well known for its amazing wildlife in particular its elephants. These gentle giants frequently face danger from poachers. There are a number of elephant orphanages with the mission to provide a sanctuary for the rescued, injured or abused animals. Volunteers are always needed to care for the animals.
Due to its geographic location Sri Lanka frequently faces cyclones and tsunamis. It was severely affected by the 2004 tsunami, one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. Remnants of the debris can still be seen in some areas as the country tries to recover from its effects. Volunteers can help to rebuild schools, homes and sustainable development facilities in different parts of the country.
The city zoo in Colombo also uses volunteer help to run its projects on rehabilitation and conservation. Volunteering at the zoo allows participants to see firsthand the functioning of a large city zoo and work directly with a variety of animals. Volunteers can spend from two to four weeks at the zoo and explore the city in their free time.