To volunteer, complete the online application form.
We are experiencing immense turmoil in the world these days, huge disconnections with each other and Mother Earth and unconscious materialism that is leading to huge environmental problems.
Would you like to directly address the problems you see in the world? Are you ready to look at your own life and make changes? Do you have a sense of adventure and love nature? Are you open to different cultures and willing to try something different? Would you like to live a simple and healthy lifestyle? Do you have initiative and a desire to make a difference? If you answered “Yes!” to these questions then come live, work and play with us!
Experience Sri Lanka with locals, as part of a small community, whilst building a more sustainable world.
Belipola is a sustainability education centre set on 17 acres of beautiful forest garden in the South East Hill Country of Sri Lanka. Started 30 years ago, Belipola is the model on which the concepts of Analog Forestry were developed by Dr Ranil Senanayake. Analog Forestry combines modern scientific learning with the ancient wisdom of the traditional Sri Lankan forest garden. A formerly degraded tea plantation, Belipola is now a beautiful forest that is both productive (with food gardens and forest products) and home to great biodiversity.
At Belipola we are in the process of making an exciting transition. The land has been recovering and is now abundant: a recent study showed even greater biodiversity here than in nearby undisturbed forest patches. However, to really make a positive environmental difference in Sri Lanka, we need to prove to local farmers that Analog Forestry is a viable alternative for them (i.e. it has to improve their, often meagre, income). So, we have shifted gears and are focusing on transforming Belipola into a thriving (social) business. Since 2013 we have been developing products and markets for our forest products and expect to be fully self funding by late 2015. We share what we know and are supporting the development of a network of local producers.
People: Belipola has 10 local staff plus a number of international volunteers (4 people at the time of writing) and interns. Collectively, we have a very broad range of skills and interests, including: analog forestry, permaculture, education, cooking, community development, natural building, information systems, social enterprise, and more….
Facilities: have a dormitory (6 rooms and 20 beds), small resource library (always growing, and always in search of new materials), wifi in the office (bring your own smartphone/laptop), natural kitchen including woodfired oven and cob stoves, sala (outdoor covered lecture space for 30 people), river (good for swimming), walking paths through the forest, lots of trees to climb.
Work and skills: We run a large organic vegetable garden, tree nursery, social enterprise producing natural personal care products and distribution of our organic food, training programs and tours.
Currently, we are in need of people to help us with the following:
As a volunteer, depending on your skills and interests, you may find yourself working in:
If you have other skills that you would like to contribute, just let us know – there is a good chance we can use those skills, too.
We often need trade skills (e.g. building, plumbing, electrical, house painting, carpentry etc) so if you have a trade skill and are interested in volunteering at Belipola but can’t spare two weeks, please contact us anyway!
Minimum stay: 2 weeks. (For shorter stays, see our Come and Stay page)
Work: 35 hours/week (fulltime volunteers), 15 hours/week (part-time volunteers)
Work hours: 7am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday
Cost*: Rs3500/week (part-time volunteers). If you work full-time (7am to 3.30pm) Monday to Friday, then we ask for a donation, whatever you are able to contribute. All contributions helps us to pay for volunteer related expenses and to fund development of future volunteer facilities and support. As an unfunded environmental and social development organisation, we rely on the contribution of volunteers to build our valuable work.
Accommodation: Dormitory accommodation is provided (4 beds/room, shared bathroom). To upgrade, add Rs500 per person/night (twin share room) or Rs1000 per person/night (single room)
Meals: We provide all food (fresh, vegetarian, organic). Generally, lunch is catered and it’s make your own breakfast and dinner from what is in the pantry.
Arrive: on Wednesday afternoon for orientation that day and then usually a garden/forest tour on Wednesday morning.
Trial Period: Your volunteering begins with a 3 day trial period. Assuming all is well, you can then stay on for up to a month. If all goes well in that time, you can then stay on for a longer period.
* For your information: exchange rate is approximately USD$1=Rs130
Apart from the beauty of Belipola itself, we are close to some of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lanka. Take a look at some of the things you can do and see in and around Belipola.