Elephant And Community Project

Care for captive working elephants, ensuring they receive the love and affection they deserve.


















Elephant And Community Project

Care for captive working elephants, ensuring they receive the love and affection they deserve.


















There are four beautiful elephants at our project; Kuwenie, Gal Kulama, Raja and Podi Raja. This project works towards promoting humane care for the working elephants of Sri Lanka. Elephant nutrition, health checks, enrichment programs are but a few areas which the project is focused on. Our aim is to have these working elephats settle into a retirement home at a certain age. We understand that in general the  cost of maintaining captive elephants is very high and many elephant owners struggle and as a result the elephants are used for rides. Our charity ensures that the rides are done in an ethical way, where no howdhas are used to carry people and it is not just a life of work for the elephants. With the help of volunteers we are at present able to provide our four elephants with proper care making sure the welfare of these gorgeous animals are taken care of. Our final goal is to  end a life of work for the captive elephants across Sri Lanka. The income generated from volunteers go directly towards the maintainance of these elephants, mahout salaries and the project at present which makes a big impact on the lives of these elephants and their keepers.  


A Typical Day

After an early breakfast you will catch a tuk-tuk to the project and start work around 9am. The first duty is to clean the elephant beds of old leaves, twigs and elephant dung - you will be surprised at how much dung one elephant can produce! Once the beds are cleaned and remade, you and your elephant will head down to the river. Bathtime is everyone's favourite activity -  both humans and elephants! You will join your elephant in the river and give them a good scrub with coconut husks. This is a great opportunity to connect with your elephant as they relax in the cooling waters.

After a quick cup of tea, the mahouts will teach you to carry out basic medical checks on your elephant. You will be able to listen to their heartbeat, which is simply magical...

A traditional Sri Lankan lunch is served at 1pm, providing a welcome rest and the chance to relax in the shade. 

After lunch the elephants will enjoy a second bath to cool them down. We like to include enrichment programmes in the afternoon, which are designed to stimulate and interest the elephants, such as hiding food in tyres. We also have a small garden at the project where we grow fruit for the elephants - after all, who doesn't like a fresh pineapple?  

Twice a week you will spend the afternoon at our community projects. At the home for the disabled you can help with the gardening, share your skills in the arts and crafts room or enjoy a natter over a cup of tea and cake. Providing company is the primary objective here and they love engaging with friendly volunteers. At the local orphanage for girls, they value the opportunity to practise spoken English and build up their confidence and social skills. You might be asked to help with their homework and of course, fun, games and music are always appreciated! 

You will be back at the volunteer house by 5.30pm and the evenings give you free time to relax and unwind after a busy day. We like to hold a traditional Sri Lankan cooking class at least once a week with the opportunity to learn some Sinhalese. Alternatively, it is only a short tuk-tuk ride to Pinnawala, if you fancy sitting by the river to watch the sun go down with an ice cold beer.

Accommodation and Food

The volunteer house is situated just outside Kegalle, in a quiet area surrounded by mango trees. Your project coordinator and you will share the house with other volunteers on the project. Rooms are shared with other volunteers of the same gender. All bunk beds have clean mosquito nets and the linen is changed weekly. We have western style toilets, a washing machine and wifi.

  • Breakfast is typically a selection of local fruit, toast, eggs, tea and coffee.
  • Lunch is local vegetables cooked in Sri Lankan style, served with rice, with optional fish and eggs. 
  • Dinner is a choice of Sri Lankan Hoppers, String Hoppers, Kothu or Noodles.
  • We happily cater for volunteers with specific dietary requirements.
Elephant and Community Project

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support from our staff, via phone or email.
  • A starter pack with information about the project and Sri Lanka.
  • Airport pick up.
  • Local orientation.
  • Accommodation (7 nights a week).
  • 3 meals a day (Monday to Friday). 
  • Onsite project coordinator.
  • 24hr in-country support.



Project Location

Kegalle is a large town located approximately 25 miles west of Kandy, on the Colombo to Kandy road. It is the main town of the district and has all necessary amenities; banks, supermarkets, post office, shopping mall and a private hospital.

The Kegalle district thrives on an agricultural economy, with rubber plantations covering a third of available cultivated lands. Tea, rice, coconut, clove, pepper, bananas and mahogany are also grown, with graphite and gemstones further boosting the economy. 

Just a short tuk-tuk ride away is Pinnawala, which lies on the Maha Oya river. This is a beautiful spot to swim or just sit on the boulders letting the cool water flow over your feet. With the evening comes peace and quiet and it is a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down. In nearby Aranayaka a small trek brings you to the ethereal Asupini Ella waterfall.

Project Fee

We have ethically and honestly priced our placements without compromising on the volunteer experience.

1 week £400

2 weeks £650

Additional weeks £250

Apply Now

Are you interested in becomming a volunteer?

Please let us have some basic details about yourself and we'll be in touch soon.