Teaching at the Pirivena


A Pirivena (Buddhist Monk Schools) in Sri Lanka, serves both monks and some community people. Young monks, who live in the Pirivena along with senior and knowledgeable monks, study and practice the teachings of the Buddha and classical subjects like Pali, Sanskrit, history, prosody, astrology and logic etc. Apart from reading, recitation, discussion, retention and analysis, the education system in the Pirivena lays emphasis on learning by heart the scriptural knowledge.

Pirivena is also the place where the young monks are trained by masters to follow the rules and regulations promulgated in the Vinaya Pitaka (a Buddhist scripture, which is one of the three parts that make up the Tripitaka).

On our Buddhist Monk Teaching Volunteer in Sri Lanka program you will be working at a Pirivena. A lot of monks are keen to learn English as part of their education but many Pirivenas lack the funding required for skilled English Teachers. These monk children are only provided 40 minutes a day of English teaching from government teachers, most of which are not well equipped in teaching the subject, and thus very little development takes place. Hence, there is a great need for skilled English-speaking volunteers to teach them the basics of the language and provide them with much-needed confidence that comes with a better understanding of the outside world. This project is about as close as it comes to two different worlds coming together, and you can expect to learn a few things yourself from these fascinating people during the course of the program.

Buddhist Monk Teaching Volunteer Gallery

What is involved

Volunteers will be teaching English at basic and intermediate level (ages 11 to 19) to monks in small to midsized groups in the morning (not during their formal school hours). Timings will be between 08.00 am to 10.00 am (time table to be determined on arrival) for about 1.5-2 hours each. A lot of preparation will be required from volunteers to adequately plan for these sessions.

Volunteers can get help from our staff on the topics for the lessons and creative ways to teach, but lesson planning and teaching are the responsibility of the volunteers themselves. There will be between 2 to 15 students in one classroom and volunteers can work in small groups or with the entire class. There are very few teaching resources for teaching (generally basic class rooms with a blackboard) so please be mindful of that.

Classes will involve basic speaking, reading and writing English as well as some basic grammar sessions. We ideally prefer students who have completed a TEFL to be able to work in such an environment, however anyone who is keen to be a teacher or with good English skills should also apply.

Living and working in Sri Lanka is quite a unique experience as you not only get to live in tropical paradise but working in the community will give you a chance to experience the wonderful hospitality of Sri Lankans. On the weekends you can go surfing or get some beach time,  enjoy the serene tea plantations or Ella or go for a wild life safari to Yala National Park.

Some details

We advise you to check with us about public holidays, full moon festival days and during Buddhist festivals during which the monks are busy and this project will not run and at times closed. 

2024 2025
Jan 28,24 Jan 5, 12, 19, 26
Feb 4, 11, 18, 25 Feb 2, 9, 16, 23
Mar 3, 10, 17, 24 Mar 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
May 5, 12, 19, 26 May 4, 11, 18, 25
Jun 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Jun 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Jul 7, 14, 21, 28 Jul 6, 13, 20, 27
Aug 4, 11, 18, 25 Aug 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Sep 1, 8, 15, 22 Sep 7, 14, 21, 28
Oct 6, 13, 20, 27 Oct 5, 12, 19, 26
Nov 3, 10, 17, 24 Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

What your first week looks like

Arrival day

Group discussions
Your arrival weekend will be relaxed. We will pick you up from the airport and bring you to your accommodation. Depending on your time of arrival, our team will meet you and give you a local orientation so you can get to know the area you are living in. The next day you will be given health and safety briefing, culture orientation and project training before we take you in for your program.


Volunteer with buddhist monks in Sri Lanka
Your project coordinator or a member of the team will be taking you to the project and after introductions you can get started. All your meals breakfast, lunch and dinner will be the accommodation unless you are at the project site or outside. In the evenings most volunteers spend it either exploring local sights, relaxing at the accommodation or preparing for projects.


Biking in Galle
Our local team will suggest many activities for you to do! Your weekends will be free for you to explore Sri Lanka. We highly recommend you to utilise your time so you can get to see more of the country that you are visiting. We usually make recommendations based on past volunteer experiences. Its always better to book excursions in country with other volunteers.

Weekend activities

Iconic Train Rides

Train Ride Ella to Hatton
Ranked in the top 10 train rides in the world- the journey from Ella to Hatton is a must do!

Yala National Park

Yala Natioanl Park Sri Lanka
Spotting Leopards, Elephants and other wildlife at Yala is absolutely phenomenal

Surfing in Lanka

Surfing in Sri Lanka
With some world class beaches and waves, Sri Lanka is undoubtedly a top surfing destination!


Sigiriya Rock
Visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO Heritage Site in the Central Province.

Testimonial Videos

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