There is growing interest amongst members of the Tamil diaspora in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, developing, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organisations in Sri Lanka. comdu.it is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers committed to the sustainable development of the traditional Tamil homelands in Sri Lanka. Since 2016, we have been committed to helping shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from sending remittance to building a knowledge economy instead.

Program Description

The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.

Partner Description

Aaruthal Sri Lanka was established was in May 2005 as a registered charity with Manchester University, Hulu University, Uganda and Warwick University. They work with communities to address many of the human impacts resulting from civil war. Aaruthal engaged in various community projects including those aimed at developing sustainable programs in Education,  Mental health and ‘Women Development Projects.” Education is used as a catalyst for change in the communities, as such, preschool teachers are a focal point in the program delivery. Aaruthal aims at increasing and promoting non-violent ways of communication against the corporal punishment and violence, and promote discussions on equalities and respecting diversities; gender, culture and religion. For more information, please visit www.aaruthal.lk.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Work with partners to develop framework for preventing drug and alcohol addiction in youth populations, while creating a support network.
  • Provide lessons on basic hygiene practices.
  • Provide training on nonviolent communication styles.
  • Take part in skill building training geared towards youth entrepreneurs in cottage industries.
  • Ability to design age appropriate lessons geared towards achieving outcomes inline with project goals.
  • Must be able to work collaboratively with local partner, students and translators for effective delivery of lessons.
  • Train other in the region on how to follow-up on this leadership program to ensure lasting development.
  • Ensure a safe and effective learning environment.


  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Psychology, Social Work, Social Services, or related disciplines, and certified counsellor.
  • Experience in providing counselling.
  • Experience in conducting training sessions for counsellors.
  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Approaches challenges with curiosity, not judgement.
  • 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

  • Completed graduate degree or post-graduate diploma in Psychology, Social Work, Social Services, or related disciplines. Certification in Trauma or Traumatology.
  • Direct trauma work with first responders, veterans or community work delivering trauma response.
  • Experience in providing counselling for disabled individuals and/or victims with psychosocial trauma.
  • Ability to clinically manage high-risk cases, including clients who are a threat to self or others.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (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 our work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival.
  • Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing after completion of assignment, including counselling support.
  • 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 citizen or permanent resident of Canada, Germany or host country between the ages of 25 – 40.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).