Kit List

We know it may be difficult to choose what to pack, so we’ve put together this kit-list for you to make sure you pack everything you'll need.

It is a non-exhaustive list, but should help guide you in the right direction. It’s important not to pack too much, as it is likely that you will want to pick up more clothing and souvenirs whilst in Sri Lanka. 

For more top packing tips from past volunteers and coordinators check out our “What to Pack” video on our YouTube Channel.

Clothing – Essentials

Please read the ‘What to Wear’ document in your Participant Portal before looking at this. Sri Lankan dress is modest, especially in more rural areas, and all volunteers must dress smartly whilst in the local community and on projects. Please see the clothing document on your portal for more information on what clothing is appropriate.

For Females

  • 2 pairs of full length smart trousers – loose fitting linen or cotton trousers are cool and smart
  • 4 collared shirts – for the majority of projects volunteers will be required to be dressed in a collared shirt. Polo shirts are not smart enough and please avoid sheer clothing. Aim for cotton or linen materials in neutral or plain colours.
  • 2 Long, plain, opaque skirt - this needs to cover the ankles as some projects are held in temples and require volunteers wear skirts rather than trousers, so even if it’s not your usual style, please bring one just in case. These can be purchased cheaply in country if you require more than one. Underskirts need to be worn as well but these can also be purchased cheaply in country.
  • Underwear – make sure it’s comfy and hand washable! You won't be able to wash your undergarments in the washing machine at your homestay due to the cultural belief that dirty underwear is less clean and should not mix with other clothing. 
  • 4 vest tops in neutral colours – You must wear thick strapped vest tops under every shirt or t-shirt Monday-Friday.
  • 1 pair of smart shoes/sandals for projects– make sure they are comfy!
  • 1 pair of sandals or flip flops for the beach - plastic flip flops are not smart enough for projects
  • 1 pair of closed shoes if you are participating in the Post War Field Trip
  • 1 Pair of lightweight Trainers - these come in handy at the Jungle (you will need them in the water) and on the weekends
  • Swimwear
  • A t-shirt and shorts to wear over bathing suits
  • Light weight jumper - weekend AC buses tend to get a bit chilly.
  • Casual clothes for weekends – many volunteers still like to wear modest clothing whilst traveling to avoid attracting any unwanted attention, but you can really wear what you like.

For Males

  • 3 pairs of smart trousers - Linen trousers or chinos are a common favourite, please make sure they are full length.
  • 4 collared shirts – for the majority of projects volunteers will be required to be dressed in a shirt. Polo shirts are not smart enough and please avoid sheer materials. Aim for cotton or linen materials in neutral or plain colours.
  • 3 t-shirts - it’s hot, so you want them to be light and airy
  • 3 vests – you will need to wear vests under shirts. You can buy these in Sri Lanka if you need to.
  • Underwear – make sure it’s comfy and hand washable! You won't be able to wash your undergarments in the washing machine at your homestay due to the cultural belief that dirty underwear is less clean and should not mix with other clothing.
  • 1 pair of smart shoes/ sandals for projects - make sure they are comfy!
  • 1 pair of flip flops for the beach - plastic flip flops are not smart enough for projects
  • 1 Pair of lightweight Trainers – these come in handy at the Jungle and on the weekends
  • Swimwear - for the Jungle weekend, and the beach!
  • Light weight jumper - weekend AC buses tend to get a bit chilly!
  • Casual clothes for weekends

For extra help, please watch this video.


Now that we’ve covered the clothing essentials, don’t forget all the things you’re going to need for your day-to-day life, the weekends away, and anything that you might need or want to bring for your projects.

Toiletries

You can buy most things, besides DEET insect repellant and suncream, in Sri Lanka, but if you use specific products its probably safer to bring them out.

  • Sunscreen 30-50 SPF - The sun is very strong. For each month you are there, bring at least one bottle, more if you’re a sun worshipper.
  • Mosquito Repellent - make sure it has 50% DEET or more. You’ll stink, but you won’t get bitten.
  • 3-4 100ml bottles of antibacterial hand-wash/hand sanitizer - at times you might be eating with your hands without wash facilities available
  • Shampoo/ shower gel/ moisturiser - 1 medium bottle should last a 4-week placement. You can buy more out there; it just might not be your usual brand.
  • Flannel / Loofah
  • 1 Small bath towel
  • Deodorant
  • 1 Beach towel – if you are pushed for space, you can buy one of these out there
  • Prescriptions - If you do take any medication remember to bring enough for the entire placement
  • Face wipes/baby wipes - your face can get quite sweaty and dusty on those bus journeys. Also good to use as emergency loo roll.
  • Sanitary Products - towels are available, but if you prefer other methods, please bring enough for the duration of your placement. You could also consider a moon cup or keeper, as sanitary products can be awkward to dispose of.

 

Other Essentials

  • Small Backpack - to use when you are traveling at the weekends.
  • Waterproof jacket/small portable umbrella - great for short, but vicious downpours
  • Padlock - for your bag whilst you are in your homestay and for travelling. SLV.Global cannot be held responsible for loss of personal property. Please do not travel with valuables or large amounts of cash.If you do insist on travelling with valuables, please ensure you keep them locked in your suitcase for safekeeping.
  • First aid kit - plasters/Band-Aids, painkillers (ibuprofen, paracetamol), anti-histamines
  • Torch - essential for power cuts and reading in bed!
  • Unlocked Mobile phone - it is essential to have a mobile whilst in Sri Lanka so that the team can contact you at all times. We recommend bringing an unlocked one with you.
  • Sri Lankan SIM -you can buy a SIM card at the airport when you arrive – they are relatively cheap. You must buy an Sri Lankan SIM even if you have an international plan on your phone so that we may contact you in the event of an emergency
  • Mp3 + Mini Portable Speakers - top tip, load your iPod with some cheesy tunes and these will be invaluable at projects. The Macarena, The Ketchup Song, Boot Scoot Baby. Now’s your chance to finally break out those moves and not be judged in the slightest.
  • Photocopy of important docs - we recommend photocopying your passport, visa and medical insurance policy and keeping it in your carry-on case.
  • Bum bag / Money belt
  • Metal head lice comb - there have been cases of our volunteers getting head lice, so it’s best to bring one just incase!
  • Earplugs: volunteers will be sharing rooms so light-sleepers will find these invaluable.
  • Rehydration Salts - hydration for the nation!
  • Diarrhea Tablets and Senokot - just to be on the safe side! Most people don’t expect they’ll need the latter, but trust us, you might.

Money

The currency used is Sri Lankan Rupees. The easiest way of getting money is to withdraw it from an ATM once in country. There is an ATM at the airport and ATMs within walking distance of all of the homestay’s, so this is easy to do. In our experience the safest and most economical way of getting money whilst on placement is to withdraw money each week as and when you need it, rather than having lots of cash at any one time.

If you would like you can bring a small amount of money to exchange at the airport - but we would not advise bringing any more than £100/$100/€100. So remember to pack either a Debit/ Credit card or a Travel cash card.  

Debit/ Credit Card - ATMs in Sri Lanka accept most major credit/debit cards. Remember to let your bank know that you are going abroad, otherwise they may block your card.

Travel Cash Card - An alternative to using your debit or credit card is to purchase a travel cash card. The idea behind them is a simple one, you pre-load the card by transferring money to it from your own account which can be done via the internet, text message or by phone. You can then use the card to withdraw cash or make purchases. There are many options online to browse through but remember to read the terms and conditions!  

By ‘living like a local’ you can spend as little as £60-£80 a week; for example, taking public transport and eating local food at weekends. If you want to live that ‘YOLO’ life at the weekends, you can easily spend £100-£120 or more. The choice is yours! Watch this handy video about spending money in Sri Lanka.

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slv dream catcher

Resources

Volunteers provide their own resources for projects, and can expect to spend on average spend £5 - £10 per week buying resources. Just remember if there are any activities you want to run or ideas for sessions you will need to bring all of your resources with you. Have a look at this video for help. 

Deciding what materials and resources to bring with you can take a bit of thought but spending some time planning what you might want to do on projects before you go definitely helps. 

Some of the most valuable resources are ideas. You are going to be working a variety of projects so try and make a list of activities you could do for each. Craft activities, songs, dances and games aimed at adults and children will be useful for you all. Websites like Pinterest are great for inspiration:

If you plan a range of activities, maybe one or two for each week you are in Sri Lanka you can then swap ideas with other volunteers when you arrive, and should all be ready to rock and roll.

Once you have your activities in mind try and think what materials you need to bring with you. There are good resource shops in Sri Lanka with basic materials like paper, scissors, glue, glitter and pipe cleaners. It’s the more exciting things that are harder to come across. 

The aim of your sessions should be to find activities that will be therapeutic and simulating at the same time.

Example - Dream Catchers

They are easy to make and provide visual stimulation, but on top of that service users have to be expressive and use fine motor skills to make them.

  • What you need: Scissors, String, feathers, paper plates and beads
  • What you can find in country: String, Paper Plates and Scissors
  • What you might want to bring: Feathers, beads

Here are some examples of materials past volunteers have recommended bringing from home:

  • Different textured materials i.e. fur, felt or feathers.
  • Sensory objects i.e. tactile balls, play dough,
  • Very simple music instruments i.e. egg shakers, whistles, harmonicas
  • Portable mp3 speakers
  • Arts and crafts resources e.g. sequins, pipe cleaners and ‘googly eyes’
  • Meccano/lego/building blocks

Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside of the box, or the classroom, as it were. Come equipped with games and activities you can adapt to get the service users and students talking and interacting with each other. Think fun role plays and ice breakers.

For projects where you'll be working with children, brainstorm a variety of more physical activities, songs and games that you could incorporate into a session plan, try and recall all those fun games you played as a child! For some more top tips on working with children check out our Youtube Video. There are some more ideas below to help you start your session planning.


Giant group paintings and murals

How to do it: Working in a big group on one giant piece of art: Could be on the wall or on large paper/ card. Think about Sri Lankan themes, national holidays, the environment , underwater.

Resources: Wall or large paper, Paints, Tissue paper, Crayons


Kite making

How to do it: Create frame with straws. Decorate paper, cut to fit frame and Sellotape in place. Attach string.

Resources: Straws, Paper. Decorations: Sellotape, String


Gloop

How to do it: Mix corn flour with a dash of food colouring and add water slowly until you get a solid but gloopy consistency. You should be able to manipulate and move/ pull it but it should go back as normal

Resources: Corn flour, Food colouring, Water, Glitter (if you wish)


Shaving foam

How to do it: Cover a tray or plastic plate with saving foam and make shapes/ numbers etc. with fingers

Resources: Shaving foam, Plastic tray

 

Musical instruments

How to do it: Fill various objects with rice etc. for different sounds and allow free lay or play along with music

Resources: Rice/ lentils/ beads (any small objects) Water bottles, Balloons

 

Stitching

How to do it: Get/ make large plastic needles and use to thread wool through various large holes in cardboard in various patterns

Resources: Large plastic blunt needles, Wool, Cardboard with holes in a pattern

 

Light boxes

How to do it: Create boxes by sticking cardboard/ paper sides together. Cut patterns/ shapes out of each side and stick cellophane paper on the inside. Cut hole in the bottom and place the torch inside.

Resources: Coloured cellophane paper, Torch Paper, cardboard, Glue, Sellotape, Scissors

 

Sensory bottles

How to do it: Fill water bottles with water and various small and coloured objects so that individuals can play/ observe

Resources: Water bottles E.g. Rubber bands, pom poms, beads, marbles, sand, oil, lentils etc.

 

Spaghetti

How to do it: Place cool, cooked spaghetti in a tray and paint/ allow to feel the texture

Resources: Spaghetti, Paint, Paint brushes, Plastic tray

 

Sensory texture boards

How to do it: Cut and stick various fabrics on paper for different textures to create sensory texture boards

Resources: Various fabrics for different textures Scissors, Glue, Cardboard/ paper

 

Silly putty

How to do it: 2 parts PVA glue to 1 part liquid starch (for washing clothes), add food colouring

Resources: PVA glue, Liquid starch, Food colouring

Mobiles

How to do it: Create frame by cello taping straws together Draw and cut out picture e.g animals. Hang the pictures off the frame using string.

Resources: Straws, Paper Paints, colouring pencils etc Scissors, String.

 

Plants and mini-gardens

How to do it: Fill a plant pot with earth. Plant with seeds. Create mini-scarecrow using lollypop sticks and paper. Can make a garden using small trays. Plant pots can be personalised through painting first.

Resources: Plant pots or trays, Earth/ manure, Seeds/ baby plants Lollypop sticks

 

Cloud dough

How to do it: 1 cup baby oil to 8 cups of flour, stir well & whisk

Resources: Baby oil, Flour

 

Rainbow rice

How to do it: Paint the rice and when dry play with the texture and/ or put in balloons to shake 

Resources: Dry rice, Paint, Paint brushes Balloons

 

Free painting

How to do it: Painting with hands/ fingers

Resources: Paint, Paper

 

Glitter shakers

How to do it: Fill empty water bottles with water, food colouring and glitter and glue lid. Can be used to shake or as skittles.

Resources: Empty water bottles, Food colouring, Glitter

 

Mirrors

How to do it: Take mirrors and allow individuals to explore. Shining lights can also be effective.

Resources: Mirrors, Lights/ torch (optional)

 

Play dough

How to do it: 1 cup of flour and a couple of squirts of dish soap (fairy liquid). Mix together until the desired consistency is achieved

Resources: Flour, Dish soap Drop of food colouring (optional)

 

Zig zag tracing

How to do it: Create various dot to dot patterns without numbers. 
Get individuals to join the dots to make the pattern to improve fine motor skills

Resources: Pen, Paper

 

Sensory painting

How to do it: Attach bells to the top of paint brushes when painting

Resources: Small bells Paint brushes, Paint, paper

 

Sensory bags

How to do it: Make sparkle squishy bags by filling zip lock bags with coloured water, body wash and plastic confetti

Resources: Zip lock bags Food colouring, Water, Plastic, coloured confetti 1 squirt of body wash

 

Water beads

How to do it: Polymer beads to be left to soak up water so that they enlarge. Place in a jar/ bowl to play with texture

Resources: Polymer beads, Water