There is growing interest amongst Canadians, and especially members of the Canadian Tamil diaspora, in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in Sri Lanka. is a Canadian network of diaspora changemakers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Its mission is to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from remittance to knowledge-based economy.

The Right of Return program stream provides post-secondary students and recent graduates with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will be placed in children’s homes, vocational schools, and other appropriate institutions to volunteer their skills and time to help build capacity of local communities in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Partner Description

Capokolam delivers innovative educational arts programs to children in marginalized and impoverished communities in Sri Lanka, affected by war, natural disaster, and endemic socio-economic inequality, to bring about psychosocial rehabilitation and sustainable change. For more information, please visit

In the summer 2017, Capokolam intends to build five (5) equipped & diverse teams to deliver intensive, holistic, and innovative educational arts programs around Sri Lanka on the theme of “Female Power”. With five (5) different communities over a month, volunteers will collaborate with local partners. The children will partake in a full-time program of Capoeira, English, traditional & creative arts, dance, sports, and leadership activities.  Capokolam will educate with its inimitable focus on engagement, creativity, and expression. Children from different marginalized communities will conduct field visits together by way of social learning and cultural exchange. This will culminate in performances and exhibitions, in collaboration with the Faculty of Fine Arts, Eastern University of Batticaloa.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Plan and deliver dance lessons, training, or activities, towards joint learning objectives, in a creative and culturally sensitive way.
  • Must be able to work collaboratively with local partner, students and translators for effective delivery of lessons.
  • Ensure that lessons are geared towards achieving appropriate outcomes that are beneficial to the children.
  • Ensure a safe and effective learning environment.
  • Use expertise to help the project coordinators and partners to develop and coordinate the project.
  • Assist with bilingual translation and interpretation as needed.


  • Currently in or recently completed education and/or training and/or lived experience with performing arts, with a focus on contemporary dance genres (e.g. hip hop, modern) OR traditional dance genres (e.g. bharathanatyam) OR with visual arts
  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.
  • Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
  • Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.
  • Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble and embrace opportunities to grow personally.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications

  • Formal teaching experience in contemporary or traditional dance genres or visual arts to children and young adults.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered by (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about’s work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation and briefing upon arrival in-country.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing in Canada after completion of assignment.
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada between the ages of 18 – 30.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, police checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations) – approximately $1,750.