I completed the one month volunteer abroad programme in Sri Lanka. During the course of this one month, I volunteered in the orphanage, elephant foundation, as well as teaching English to monks at the local temple. My week at the orphanage was an interesting experience however I found that the living conditions of the orphans was relatively poor and the matrons working at the orphanage did not seem to be very welcoming to volunteers. However, the orphanage had a separate pre-school section for older children. I found this portion to be more welcoming to volunteers.
The Millenium Elephant Foundation was an amazing experience as the programme is very personal. You get assigned your own elephant to work with alongside other volunteers. During my stay I learned a lot about the organisation and elephants in general. The staff at Millenium were very friendly, welcoming, and appreciative of volunteer help. The Foundation also allows you to develop your own projects in order to help the foundation or the local community. While volunteering at MEF, we were also given the opportunity to teach the local kids of the community. All in all, it was a very well rounded experience.
My time at the monastery was very enjoyable. The young monks aged 12-14 were very willing to learn. The classes were relatively small, my class consisted of only 3 students, allowing for effective teaching. The monastery is only 2 hours per day 5 days a week, which gives you time to get to know the city you are living in and enjoy the local culture. I would recommend both the monastery and the Elephant Foundation as places to volunteer in Sri Lanka!