Guidlines for Volunteering at FLCF

Information for volunteering in Sri Lanka

We are "FRIENDS", a child aid organization with various projects for socially disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka. Friends Lanka Child Foundation (FLCF) is registered under the NGO Secretariat and the Registrar of Companies (ROC) in Sri Lanka. We conduct various projects such as a Sponsorship & Scholarship Program for under-privileged children as well as several pre-schools, two children homes, a Counselling Program for children and youth and a center for children with different disabilities. A full-time social worker works very close with all the children and their families in our projects and supports them in difficult situations. Together with our team, she initiates events and workshops. All projects are managed and organized at our Head Office in Colombo as well as at the FLCF Project Office in Ambalangoda (in the South-West of Sri Lanka). Our employees speak English, one of the two directors also speaks German.

How you can help!

Volunteers of all ages are sought for the following:

  • Support and training of the staff at our Child Guidance Center for special needs children (CGC) in Beruwala (South West coast). Do you have experience with children with disabilities, knowledge of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or special education? Then you are welcome to work with us! In Sri Lanka, educators and therapists with appropriate expertise are very rare. Our employees at CGC Beruwala are grateful for any kind of support and training in simple therapeutic and special educational measures.

  • • Support of the employees in the project office – Ambalangoda (South West coast), depending on your skills and knowledge by

  • - Translation work (e.g. project and progress reports for our donors and partners)
  • - Proposal writing (in English or German)
  • - Teaching English to the children of our Sponsorship Program
  • - Implementation of own ideas for fundraising (e.g. initiate a fundraiser)
  • - Support of our social worker in the field, assist with events or craft activities or the renovation of our existing schools

  • • Participation in the day-to-day life at our Pre Schools and giving English lessons for the Pre School children and/or teaching¬ our staff at our many Pre Schools

Which skills / knowledge you should bring

Previous knowledge / experience

A good knowledge of English is a must. Experiences in the social field, especially in working with children, are desirable as well as a good computer knowledge.

Applicants who are specialized and experienced in physiotherapy, occupational ¬therapy and speech therapy are especially of value as they can provide training of our staff in our Child Guidance Center for special needs children with different disabilities. This will have a sustainable impact on our project work.

Personal maturity

The basic prerequisite for volunteering is your maturity as well as a strong and grounded personality and sense of responsibility. FLCF is a children's organization and not a tour operator or organizer of voluntary¬ services. The journey is therefore at your own risk! Of course, our team in Sri Lanka will support you in the best possible way during your time as a volunteer with us.

Sufficient financial resources

Volunteering is not a cheap holiday, but the willingness from your side to help without earning and to develop your own skills and experience for a good cause. The necessary prerequisite is therefore sufficient financial resources to cover your travel ¬costs, insurance, accommodation and meals on site. Our contribution for a successful and unforgettable experience for your as volunteer is the coordination of a good cooperation with the team on site. This means for our team that they will make time for you in their busy daily schedules and plan your assignment in a meaningful way. Since we are dependent on donations for our programs, it is not possible to provide financial support to volunteers for the duration of their stay with us.

Ability to adapt to a different environment

Another basic requirement is your adaptability to the climate in Sri Lanka and the very basic living standard. You therefore need to make sure that your overall health situation is stable and need to get all necessary vaccinations. Please inform yourself about tropical infectious¬ diseases and their prevention (for vaccination check and information please consult your doctor or check online).

Be aware that the facilities in the projects and also the means of transport, accommodation and restaurants often do not meet the European standard.

Cosmopolitanism and cultural interest

Without openness to other lifestyles, customs and interest in other languages, different food and traditions, your stay as a volunteer will not make you happy. Important in working with people in Sri Lanka is also a basic knowledge of the different ethnic and religious groups and respect in their handling of their traditions and different cultures, even if these are sometimes difficult for Europeans to understand.

We expect the basic willingness to cooperate with the managers of FLCF and the employees in the projects. Particularly important is the careful use of one's own expertise ¬as well as criticism of the local staff members (loss of face!). Working in a different environment requires flexibility and patience. Note: not everything which works well in Europe works in the same way in an Asian country.

We see it as a matter of course that the prescribed rules in regard to the Sri Lanka culture and religion will be respected at any given time (see box above).

Rules of conduct in Sri Lanka

• Always wear appropriate clothing (shoulders and knees shall be covered, for women no transparent or very tight clothing, always wear a bra (preferably padded), beach clothes only on the beach/pool, no clothes with religious symbols (Buddha), inappropriate tattoos should be covered).

• Be mindful of how you dress when visiting temples, note the regulations and be respectful with religious symbols (by no means turn your back on Buddha statues or climb on them)

• Note that the left hand is considered unclean, therefore do not touch anybody with your left hand and also do not touch food with it.

• Accept the other tradition (e.g. bowing down on your feet by the children as gesture of respect) and the strong hierarchy in Sri Lanka. This is how the superiors are treated and it is normal that they would not carry out lower jobs as they would then lose their respect. This has nothing to do with being arrogant or disrespectful towards a staff member.

• Note that shaking the head does mean “OK” or ‘’agreed” and not “no” which is often misunderstood by Europeans.

• Be very careful with criticizing somebody, especially in public as this is not common in Asia and is often interpreted as “loss of face”. Also be humble and don’t boast with your expertise (do not act as if you know-it-all).

• Photograph people only with their consent

• Be extremely careful of currents when swimming in the sea!! Some parts of Sri Lanka's coasts are among the most dangerous in the world.

What do you have to organize?

The return flight, food & accommodation throughout your stay as volunteer must be financed and mainly organized by yourself. The project office will for sure support you and give you recommendations to find a suitable accommodation (either in a hotel of European standard, in a¬ guesthouse or in private house, depending on your choice). If required, we will also organize the transport from the airport to your project location/accommodation for you.

A comprehensive international health insurance is a MUST for the duration of your entire stay.

To enter Sri Lanka, a tourist visa is required which can be applied for as a 30-day tourist visa online. Your support in our projects remains therefore unofficial. The visa can be extended up to 6 months on request with the immigration office in Colombo.

For more information visit:

How and where do you apply?

Please send your email application in English with the subject "Volunteer" to the managing directors of the Friends Lanka Child Foundation (FLCF), Mr. Terrance Vellupilai and Mr. Lalan Korala. The application should be maximum two pages, including a motivation letter as well as a up to date CV. Please also clearly mention your experience, your ideas and expectations as well as the period during which you would like to join as a volunteer.

Email application to: , AND

What do you take home with you?

The basic idea of volunteering is the intercultural exchange. Through direct contact with the other culture, you develop an awareness of the situation and the problems associated with it. With your commitment, you actively help the local people. These will enrich you and broaden your horizon. Many interesting impressions and experiences are waiting for you, which you do not know from everyday life in Germany. You demonstrate adaptability and intercultural competence¬ which you can then mention in your CV

We are looking forward to your application and your time as a volunteer about which you ¬will prepare a report at the end of your stay. In return, we will provide you with a certificate which will state your successful participation as a volunteer at Friends Lanka Child Foundation.