Teach Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka

Share your teaching skills and compassion with needy children and
help strengthen their future and confidence

  • Feel what it’s like to know that someone else’s life has been made better because YOU were there
  • Co-operate with the generous, who know that a better world begins with changing a single life
  • We offer the world’s most affordable volunteer program for just $150
  • Your safety is always our priority... every volunteer location has been thoroughly vetted
  • Be a part of the life-changing volunteer project.
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Monk Teaching Sri lanka A Pirivena is a monastic college, similar to a seminary, for the education of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. Piriven have been centers of education in Sri Lanka since ancient times.

Often "lay people" (religious followers not holding religious positions) receive education at a Pirivena as well. There are nearly 700 Piriven in Sri Lanka, which are maintained by the Ministry of Education.

IFRE's teaching Buddhist monks project is coordinated by a local grassroots-partner organization wishing to encourage and nurture the intellect and self-reliance of the neediest, most humble monks in Sri Lanka.

This project allows volunteers who teach Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka to be part of the centuries-old and traditionally rich culture that captivate and intrigue many Western imaginations.

The Sri Lankan government declared 2009 as the 'Year of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and English' and thus increased the need for volunteers to teach English to aspiring, knowledge-hungry monks and nuns. The Piriven have very limited resources and are greatly understaffed.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

There are no specific qualifications needed to join the teaching Buddhist Monks program in Sri Lanka.

However, it is important to note that monks are highly respected social figures in Sri Lanka. Monks follow strict and exemplary life rules, and only volunteers with serious discipline can the project.

Separate temples/schools exist for male and female monks and volunteers will only teach their specific gender.

Volunteer Responsibilities

Volunteers in this amazingly unique project teach monks and nuns ranging from 8-21 years of age. Volunteers may assist with various extra-curricular activities, which could include sports, arts, music, etc.

Teaching English at a Piriven to these eager, young monks will provide volunteers with an extraordinary opportunity to immerse in the ever fascinating and enlightening Buddhist culture, teachings and philosophies.

Many past volunteers have commented that this particular project is one of the most memorable, engaging and mind-opening experiences they have had in their lives.

Alexandra Miller

These last six weeks of volunteering have been a truly amazing and life-changing & very wonderful experience for me.

Alexandra Miller


Leslie Slade

I had an excellent time, better than I ever could have imagined. Other volunteers were so nice and willing to help.

Leslie Slade

- Vermont, USA

Don Maddocks

I had a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to teach children of all different ages.I am sad to leave!

Don Maddocks


Manko Blakely

My volunteer experience with IFRE has been unforgettable. It has opened my mind & heart. Staffs were very helpful.

Manko Blakely

- Germany

Room/Food/Daily Life

In Sri Lanka, all volunteers stay with well-screened host families (in most situations this is with our in-country coordinator or local staffs). Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers.

Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running water and a "local" style toilet.

You receive three prepared meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to Sri Lanka.

Rooms are shared, as are bathroom and kitchen facilities. For a small additional fee, volunteers can opt to stay in a modest seaside motel. Please note this preference in the initial volunteer application.

Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers with either face-to-face visits or via email/telephone and volunteers have 24/7 access to our in-country staff.

With longer placements, we visit our volunteers every two weeks (when possible) and volunteers are always welcome at the local office.

If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.