' I LOVE this experience in chitwan for though short period! '

Xue Ying Fiona Wang

Elephant Orphanage Project (Pinnawala)

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You must submit a letter of recommendation from the university to join the project in Pinnawala.

  • Location: Pinnawala, Sri Lanka
  • Start Point: Colombo
  • End Point: Colombo
  • Duration: 1-12 weeks
  • Hours: 30-40 hours per week
  • Accommodation: Host family or hostel
  • Meal: Local food (3 times a day)
  • Date: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month
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Do you want to travel to an exotic place and work in an orphanage where animals sick and injured are looked after? Does learning from experienced elephant handlers and living with volunteers in a lush environment appeal to you? If it does, enroll in our elephant orphanage project in Pinnawala and have a life-changing volunteer experience.

Located in 25 acre of land and next to the river, the orphanage is an ideal place for the elephants that are injured and sick to recover. The elephants in Sri Lanka are often domesticated to run errands that fetch money. They do work like carry loads and tourists on their back, but once sick and injured, the elephants become a burden for their owner. That’s when the orphanage takes care of the elephants and rehabilitates them. The orphanage currently has 84 elephants at the center and offers personal care and protection to them.

Join the project and experience elephant care, or contact us to find out more.

elephant project gallery

Your Responsibility as a Volunteer:

Volunteers will live close to the elephant orphanage and spend their day working with the elephants. Your work starts at 8.30 am and lasts for 3 hours. In the morning, your duties include helping the elephant handlers to clean the enclosure, prepare milk and other food, bottle feed baby elephants, and feed the other elephants.

Work will be relaxed and carried out in a fun way. You will be served lunch after your morning work ends.

In the afternoon, volunteers will go to the river to see and participate in the elephant bathing ritual. You will also learn from mahouts how to clean the elephant with coconut husks. You will work for 2 hours from 2 to 4 pm.

Skills Required:

We do not require any specific qualifications and experiences to work in this project, but you must be fit and in good health. You should, however, have a love and compassion for animals, especially for elephants. You must also arrive with an open mind and with a passion to learn new things in a strange environment.

Project Location:

This is a very rural project located in Pinnawala, in central Sri Lanka. The project is situated in a lush 25 acre sanctuary and has over 80 elephants. During your free time, you can visit ancient historical cities like Anuradhapua, the first capital city of Sri Lanka, and Polonnaruwa, where you can explore the ancient ruins of the temples built by the ancient kings. You can hike to "SIGIRIYA ROCK" and witness spectacular scenery from there. You can also visit northeast Sri Lanka, home of famous beaches like Arugam Bay beach and monasteries, temples, parks, churches, museums, art galleries, etc.

Arrangement of room/food/supervision:

Volunteers will stay at a hostel close to the project. You may have to share the room with other volunteers of the same gender. There will be a ceiling fan, individual beds, and mosquito nets in your room. There will also be electricity, a washing machine and TV for you to watch in your free time. While in the project, volunteers will also be provided 3 local meals in a restaurant opposite of the project. The food will be fresh and nutritious, but it will also be slightly spicy as all Sri Lanka meals are spicy. While in the project, our staff will also regularly call you to see if you are facing any problems, and will try to tackle those issues immediately.