"We couldn't find voluntary work abroad for students & graduates that was ethical, provided training & was affordable. So we created our own."
Who are SL Volunteers?
We are a community of international and local volunteers, sharing our skills and our time to contribute to community development in Sri Lanka. SL Volunteers is a growing organisation that is led by students and graduates. Since 2010, over 200 volunteers from around the world have joined us to help us progress and develop into the organisation that we are today.
How are SL Volunteers different to other organisations?
Sadly, many "volunteer organisations" out there are simply middle men, selling volunteer placements in the same way as tour operators sell package holidays. These "voluntourist" organisations are run for profit, so their primary concern is sales and marketing, not the projects overseas. Also, with voluntourism the emphasis is that the volunteer enjoys their experience, which can often be a detriment to the communities that they are in. Though volunteers' experience is important to us, we also believe in volunteering that is responsible, that contributes to development and puts the communities and the people we volunteer for first. We work in partnership with charities and NGO's in Sri Lanka that require us to monitor the impact that we have in the communities. Every SL Volunteer is encouraged to find new initiatives to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of the way we work in Sri Lanka.
How did SL Volunteers begin?
After graduating in 2009, Lucy Nightingale and friends from Manchester University were looking to travel and volunteer abroad. However, after much searching online, they were unable to find responsible volunteering opportunities that suited them or that they could afford. Lucy Nightingale had previously volunteered in Sri Lanka and in 2010, began making connections with projects that would benefit from international volunteers.