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Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has made impressive progress in the past five years since the end of civil conflict that spanned three decades. As it transitions to a middle-income country, Sri Lanka is now focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges.

Australia’s aid programs in Sri Lanka are focused on enabling and equipping other development actors – including the Sri Lankan government, private sector and civil society – to deliver sustainable economic growth and opportunity for Sri Lanka.

Australian volunteers in Sri Lanka will initially work with the primary and secondary education sectors, aligning with the Australian Government’s aid program priorities to support the development of a high-quality, inclusive and accessible school system.

Find out more about Sri Lanka by visiting the country specific Department of Foreign Affairs and Smart Traveller sites.


Sri Lanka - Location Info

  • Colombo

Colombo is the most multi-ethnic and multi-religious city in Sri Lanka. It is also a city where income disparities contrast startlingly: air-conditioned mansions tower next to small shacks, the latest BMW speeds past rickety, over-packed buses. Amidst all the bustle of everyday life, it is still a friendly city that is always ready to welcome foreigners and newcomers. As in most capital cities in South Asia, Colombo has a wide range of markets and supermarkets selling most food items. Fresh fish and seafood feature heavily in the cuisine however vegetarians will have a range of local fruits and vegetables to choose from.

Colombo has religious centres and places of worship for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and most of the different denominations of the Christian and Catholic churches. Culturally, Colombo comes alive when each ethnic community celebrates its festivals, such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Id Ul Fitur, Christmas and Thai Pongal. Colombo has a growing expatriate community and offers more entertainment, art exhibitions, activities and events than other parts of the country.

Sri Lanka is emerging from 30 years of conflict and is facing tremendous development challenges.  This is a very exciting time for the country as we move towards 'middle income' status and a return to stability.  I am delighted that the AVID program will be commencing at this crucial stage and am proud to be part of the process.  We will work initially with the primary and secondary education sectors aligning with the Australian Government’s aid program priorities.

- Sri Lanka In-Country Manager, Ruvanthi Sivapragasam

Sri Lanka - Cultural tips

  • Public transport includes buses, private cabs and three wheelers (tuk tuks/auto rickshaws). Buses are the cheapest form of transport and operate from around 5.00am until 11.00pm. Night travel is limited to three wheelers, cabs and private vehicles

  • While Sri Lanka is quite conservative, particularly regarding relationships, Colombo is less restrictive. Act with sensitivity to the feelings and values of neighbours, landlords and colleagues

  • Sri Lankans are generally warm and friendly: a volunteer who is open to the familiarity and friendships offered by the locals will find many invitations to meals, weddings and religious ceremonies coming their way

star Tips for Volunteers

An informal chat with colleagues over a cup of tea or lunch-packet can be great for building rapport, establishing trust and for finding out loads of useful stuff that you might never become aware of otherwise.

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