A group of children prepare for their physical education lesson through our volunteer sports coaching project in schools in Sri Lanka.

Volunteer Sports Coaching in Schools in Sri Lanka

Gain sports coaching work experience while helping disadvantaged students improve their skills and fitness

At a glance

Projects Abroad has been awarded the South Asian Sustainable Development Leadership High Award for Volunteerism

  • Help disadvantaged students in Sri Lanka to develop their athletic skills. You’ll provide children with the chance to learn new games, improve their technique, and work on their fitness.
  • Limited facilities and equipment means that Sri Lankan children don’t always have the opportunity to play sport. Alongside local staff, you’ll come up with solutions to overcome these issues.
  • You will stay with a host family; this is an incredible way to experience local culture and cuisines. Make friends with your fellow volunteers while exploring all that Sri Lanka has to offer.

Start Dates: 


See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


16 or over

Is volunteer sports coaching in schools in Sri Lanka right for me?

Do you enjoy working with children and young adults? Are you passionate about sports? Want to develop the athletic skills of others? If yes, then this is the ideal project for you. It’s a great way to gain sports coaching work experience in Sri Lanka, while having fun and doing what you enjoy.

This placement is open to volunteers over the age of 18. You don’t need previous sports coaching experience in order to join. You just need enough knowledge of different sports so that you are able to teach them to others.

Upon arrival, you’ll receive a thorough induction so that you are prepared for your placement. You will be working alongside local teachers or sports coaches. However, there will also be the opportunity to run lessons yourself if you’re confident and prove your ability to your colleagues. The equipment at some of the schools is very basic, so you will need to be creative with your lessons.

Our sports coaching programme is available year-round, from a minimum of four weeks. However, our start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose a time that suits you. During the school holidays, you can join one of our Care or Teaching placements instead, where you will often be given the chance to teach sport as well.

A volunteer coaching sports in schools in Sri Lanka plays a ball game with students

What will I do on this project?

We encourage you to share your love of sports with the next generation on this volunteer project. You can get involved in:

  • Coach a range of different sports to students such as football and cricket
  • Teach important off-field subjects like health science and sports theory
  • Combine this placement with a Care or Teaching Project

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Coach a range of different sports to students such as football and cricket

On this project, you’ll help to develop the sporting ability of students in need of structured physical education sessions. Some of our partner schools focus on a specific sport such as football, whilst others are open to a range of different activities.

From warm-ups to cool-down stretches, you’ll take students through the process of improving their technique, fitness, and associated sports skills like teamwork.

Teach important off-field subjects like health science and sports theory

There is also an opportunity to focus on classroom-based sports theory and health science lessons. You’ll teach students about the rules and history of a particular sport, or educate them about the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Combine this placement with a Care or Teaching project

Since you won’t spend the entire day coaching sport, there is also the option to combine this project with a Care or Teaching placement. Here you can spend time with children and organise fun educational activities, or work with them to improve their literacy or numeracy skills.

Where interns work

You will be based in one of three locations in Sri Lanka: Negombo, Panadura, and Kalutara. They are all situated within an hour’s drive of the capital city, Colombo. This means that it’s within easy reach for a weekend of sightseeing.


Panadura is a major town found south of Colombo. You’ll be working at a government run sports centre, which was established to promote and upgrade the level of sport in the area. The sports that are taught at this centre include:

  • Athletics
  • Volleyball
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Cricket


Negombo is a large city just north of Colombo. Here, you will work at a technical school that provides vocational training to disadvantaged youth. The focus is on football coaching, and you need to stay for at least three months if you’d like to join this placement.


Kalutara is a major city also situated south of Colombo. You’ll be placed at a college which caters for both primary and secondary school students. You will have the opportunity to teach both theoretical and practical aspects of physical education.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Sri Lanka Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day on the School Sports Project

After enjoying breakfast in the home of your host family, you’ll travel to your placement via bus or rickshaw. In some cases, you may live close enough to walk. On your first day, a Projects Abroad staff member will accompany you to show you the way.

Working hours and days on this project vary depending on your placement. You will either coach sports before school starts and after school ends, for example, from 6am - 9am and 2pm - 5pm. Alternately, you might conduct classes during the school day, which can run from 7.30am - 1.30pm.

Your exact activities and schedule will depend on the school that you are placed at. In general, you will spend your time teaching sports such as football, volleyball, or athletics. You can also organise general physical education classes, which may focus on particular skills or activities.

During teaching hours, you may be able to help out teaching extra subjects such as English or Physical Education Theory in the classroom. You can also combine this project with another Care or Teaching placement in the area, to fill up your extra time in the day.

Once you have finished work, you have a chance to enjoy some well-deserved leisure time. We organise regular socials in the evenings, which are a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers. Or why not spend some time sharing stories with your host family? You can also fit in some sightseeing, or visit a local restaurant to sample some Sri Lankan cuisine.

Volunteers get valuable sports coaching work experience in Sri Lanka practising their ball skills

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The main aim of this project is to provide disadvantaged students in Sri Lanka with physical education lessons.

Many schools do not give physical education the same level of importance as other subjects. Furthermore, several schools do not have full time sports coaching due to a lack of resources and weather conditions. These combined factors mean that some children do not take part in physical activity or learn different sports.

You will work to develop the sporting abilities of students. The goal is to provide students with regular organised physical education lessons, and coach specific sports to improve their abilities. Not only will you improve their technique and fitness level, but the teenagers will also learn skills like teamwork.

Join our School Sports Project in Sri Lanka and help to provide students with physical education classes that they would otherwise not receive.

An instructor volunteers as a sports coach in schools in Sri Lanka and works with children

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in or around Colombo. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Sri Lanka is well-known for its diverse landscapes. From beaches to tropical jungles, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant country.

The buzzing Pettah Market is a must-see. You can chat to friendly vendors, buy handmade products, and enjoy the electric atmosphere around you. For cultural enrichment, you can spend an afternoon in the National Museum of Colombo. The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is also a highlight, with its vast collection of artefacts.

The town of Galle is a sea port with a strong Dutch heritage and plenty of old colonial buildings to explore. You can also venture inland to hike in the hills, swim in the cool waterfalls, and visit traditional hill towns.

Sri Lanka's national parks include safari parks where you can spot wildlife like leopards and elephants. Or spend an early morning bird-watching in one of the wetland sanctuaries. There are also rainforest reserves crammed full of tropical biodiversity.

You’ll be sharing this unique experience with many other volunteers. This means you can travel solo or spend your free time with the friends you make during your trip. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay £195, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options, fundraising advice, and scholarships available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

Please choose a Duration and Start Date to continue.

Enquire Now


Fields marked with * are compulsory!

Our accreditations