Brief Description of Organisation
SLV.Global is a graduate-led voluntary organisation that’s been sending students and graduates to Sri Lanka since 2010. Our placements are designed to provide valuable work experience in the mental health sector as well as providing assistance to a variety of teaching and social-work initiatives.
Sri Lanka is currently recovering from the long-term effects of its 25-year civil war and the tsunami that devastated the country in 2004. Our aim is to provide help and support to some of the most vulnerable people in Sri Lanka by bolstering the existing resources in the local community.
We understand that sending your child to another country can be a scary thing. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to help you, help your child make a decision. We’re always available to speak to you, but would always prefer to liaise with the individual taking part in the placement to avoid any confusion and promote the clear communication which is so essential to anyone joining us on placement.
What will they be doing?
We’ve been working in Sri Lanka to bolster the resources of various pre-existing Social Work and Teaching projects since 2010. They will be teaching English in the local community as well as running therapeutic activities for individuals living with a wide range of mental health issues and disabilities.
Where will they be working?
We work in four areas in the south of the Colombo District of Sri Lanka; Homagama, Horana/Bandaragama, Maharagama and Kotte. All areas have support staff living in the homestays as well as an Operations Manager who visits each area weekly. It’s important to us that our volunteers are supported throughout their placement.
Where will they be living?
Every volunteer lives in a home with a Sri Lankan family as well as with other volunteers. Some families have children or grandparents in residence and others may be smaller families. The biggest homestay we have houses 20 volunteers and the smallest just 6. We never oversell our placements, so everyone has personal space as well as a single bed in a shared bedroom with a shared bathroom.
What's communication like?
Sri Lanka, though developing, is quite technologically advanced. There is no Wi-Fi in the homestay, but there is great 3G coverage and internet cafes are everywhere, so if you need volunteers to be contactable, that’s not an issue.
Is it safe?
This is a tough question to answer because it can’t be ignored that Sri Lanka is a country still recovering from the crippling effects of a 25-year-long civil war. However, we work in the southern province of Sri Lanka, which remained essentially untouched during this tumultuous time in Sri Lanka’s history.
Our volunteers’ safety is our top priority and we have excellent exit strategies in place should anything occur, but in the last 6 years we’ve worked without incident. We also always recommend checking the Foreign Travel Office for the most up to date information about travel before the placement is set to begin.
Volunteers never travel alone during the week and should not be doing so at the weekend either. We are always on the other end of the phone, 24/7 should any incident occur we will provide the best support we can. Volunteers have the numbers of all local police and are advised to be mindful of their surroundings, especially after dark.
Why does it cost to volunteer?
The short answer is- it doesn’t. What costs money is the accommodation, food, training support and transport we provide. We pride ourselves on being one of the lowest cost volunteer organisations on the planet. We believe in providing a safe, comfortable and ethical experience for volunteers and we are very confident that the volunteer experience we provide, in regards to the projects, the homestays and the support we offer, is second to none.
Can you visit?
Of course you can visit Sri Lanka while they are on placement. However, please be advised that our volunteers are extremely busy during the week and cannot travel alone. So if you want to see you child the best time to do this is at the weekend, but they need to be home by 9:30pm on Sunday. This curfew is explicit, as are the reasons we don’t approve of volunteers travelling alone, so please respect these rules and help us by upholding them.
What if they get sick?
Sri Lanka’s hospitals and doctors are excellent. We always take ill volunteers to doctors who speak English, so we can easily communicate and get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Volunteers need to take out their own travel insurance for the duration of their placement to cover them should they injure themselves or become ill.
What support is available?
From the time they are picked up at the airport to the end of their placement we have a great support system in place. There are Coordinators and Supervisors who live with volunteers who give day-to-day support as well as the National team who help volunteers to projects and with getting to grips with the culture. Management is always just a phone call away and the London office are also in contact throughout their placement.
What will they get?
This is tricky, as it’s very much about the volunteer. If they put everything in to their time with us they’ll get a greater understanding of cross-cultural relations, they’ll have gained valuable hands-on work experience in their chosen field of study, and they’ll have made a few friends and lots of lifetime memories. They’ll also be awarded with a certificate of participation and a reference from us upon successful completion of their placement.
We hope this document has been useful, but if you'd like to know more, please check us out online. For more information about us, our placements and more please check out our YouTube channel.
Support and Information
Unit C4 3a Bradbury Street
SLV.Global Sri Lankan Office
231/1/1b, 2nd Floor
Highlevel Road Maharagama
Colombo Sri Lanka