Travel, Volunteer, Youth

In the Footsteps of Change: My Volunteering experience in India

“Train your mind to see the good in everything” -Paul Walker 

Starting with the late veteran actor Paul Walker’s quote gives me more strength and motivation to pursue whatever I’m engaged in. It is like a lamp post that clears the way. As he had mentioned in the quote, I really wanted to gradually learn to see the good in everything rather than complaining about the things that  are not happening merely as we wish. In the journey of developing my mindset, I have encountered a big barricade that stops me from doing things. It is me being afraid to walk out of my comfort zone. At some point, I felt like I was not doing well enough and I was not pushing my limits. That is where the idea of volunteering popped up in my mind. Volunteering is a completely new venture for me and also I got the gut feeling that it will be a  novel challenge for me to test my inner strengths and weaknesses as well. Therefore, I applied for a six-week volunteer project via AIESEC in University of Peradeniya. I got the opportunity to volunteer with project Skill Up at the We Can We Will Foundation in Mumbai, India.

My first day at We Can We Will foundation  

Reflecting on my first day at foundation, it was an unforgettable memory for me. I was accompanied by my  good friend Sudhanshu from AIESEC in Mumbai at D.N. Nagar metro  station.

First day in India

After travelling in the metro my friend and I came to the foundation premises by a rickshaw. At first when I was  entering the foundation premises my first sight was some kids. They were doing various kinds of  activities. Some of them were reading books, some were playing small games and some were just going  here and there with happy faces. There, I came into realization on that very first day at We Can We Will foundation. That was the realization that  this was the place where I started seeing the very first sprouts of the seeds of my desire to work at a  foundation which were planted in my mind a long time ago.

Teaching underprivileged children

Teaching children at We Can We Will foundation

Teaching was not something I could ever do and it was not in my blood. That’s what I used to think  about teaching. But in reality I came into realization of the beauty of teaching. On the very first day of my  teaching I realized one important fact. It is as a teacher you get to see child psychology very well. It  can expand the way you look at the world. 

The very first student I had to do an English lesson was a kid called Siddharth. He was a very special  student due to two main reasons. First, he was like an Ice Breaker for me and secondly, he was the very  first student who obediently and actively engaged with me throughout the lesson. Even though his lessons  were not a big challenge for me as he was small and still learning basics in English I realized that was where  the real challenge begins. The challenge was how far I can get into the mindset of this student. I knew  without doing so I would not be a good teacher for him. 

Food Distribution

Food distribution at We Can We Will foundation

Food distribution was actually one of my favourite activities during the stay as it was all about giving  something without expecting anything in turn. It is human nature to give something meanwhile  expecting something in turn. But while engaging in food distribution at We Can We Will I felt more  happiness in giving as I could do it wholeheartedly without expecting anything in turn.

When I was at the food distribution on the first day I was almost soaked in water and my shoes were so  drenched as well. I was kind of discouraged about whether I can continue this great activity if the pouring would  continue every day. But slowly I started to see the good in that activity as it opens avenues to  give food for free for the people in need, meanwhile practicing teamwork. Then I started to gradually feel  the happiness I can have. 

Challenges I faced

This was the first time I have been to India. As a Sri Lankan, India was not much different to my eyes as  there were similar characteristics. However, as a first time traveler I had to undergo several aspects of  cultural shock in the first few days. Anyways as a person who was willing to take challenges I wanted to  grind through all the barricades coming in front of me.

Language barrier:

When I started working in the organization I did not feel much trouble with reference to language. The staff communicated to me in English and also most of the students were able to communicate in English. But sometimes there are situations where I felt if I knew the native language Hindi I could have made my explanations more precise and easily comprehensible for the students because at times I felt like for some students teaching in English is not much convenient for them.

Dealing with different age groups:

One of the very first doubts I got at first when I joined the organization was to which age group of students  I’m supposed to teach and what kind of level I should focus on when teaching them English. Even though I could have referred to other subjects, read them,  learnt them and in turn taught them I expressed my desire to teach English and also French if any student  asked me to. Because I knew by selecting only to teach them English and French would lead me to exert  my level best to give my maximum output to the children.

By that way I could overcome the number of  lines I have to draw based on the various age groups as learning a language is not much age specific and  it can start at any age and improve more at any age. By that nature of languages I could bring all the age  groups into one platform. Yes of course, I made some arrangements and decided on what to teach for each  student based on their level of comprehension and also their convenience.  

As most people do, on the very first days I was new to the environment and then I was a little hopeless. But thanks to Mr. Rishikesh, other staff and children; they welcomed me in a warm  manner and introduced me very well to this new lifestyle. And gradually it started to feel like home rather  than just another working place.

Every new beginning leads to new things. And also every new start has an end. In the same way, my days  as a volunteer at We Can We Will Foundation are going to end today but the things I learnt and the  network I built will go with me for a long time.  It is more of an  optimistic way to face any tough circumstances and grind harder than before. So, these three weeks  at the We Can We Will Foundation also helped me to practically apply it to an extent and prove to myself  the power of seeing things positively.


Ayush De Zoysa

Exchange Participant

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


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AIESEC Sri Lanka, iGV, Travel, Volunteer, Youth

Cultivating change: the impact of Global Volunteers in Sri Lanka

Volunteers visiting University of PeradeniyaAlmost a quarter of the world volunteers globally and Sri Lanka leads this list with 46% of our national population volunteering to give back to society. The origins of volunteering come from evolution; for the longest time, human beings have depended on one another for survival. However, in psychological approaches, volunteerism translates to helping behaviour. Motives behind helping behaviour are fuelled by learning experiences and positive outcomes such as financial benefits, social recognition, or positive feelings about themselves from helping. These prosocial behaviours are battered, bruised and pushed into categories in academia. But in reality, they exist without a division, among us in our everyday things.

At AIESEC, volunteering is a way of life

Our volunteering opportunities are aligned to offer cross-cultural experiences to the participants. These opportunities are vital for the hosts as much as it is for the volunteers. For instance, in the aftermath of social turmoil, Sri Lanka was revived by the kindness of the community. The front lines, the most essential forces of change were the volunteers who picked up the slack. With the dramatic fall of our economy in 2022, the fallen spirits of our community was lifted by the volunteers who stepped up in numerous ways to uplift the lives of Sri Lankans. 

Volunteers in Project AquaticaSri Lanka has also always been a nation of tourism. We are home to lush rainforests, breathtaking beaches and waterfalls, mountains and terraces – the whole package! Sri Lanka also has a rich cultural heritage, both in terms of history and flavour. Streets of Lanka are scattered with confetti like mini shops of fried goodies, refreshing fresh king coconuts to drink and trinkets of souvenirs to accompany you through your journey in Sri Lanka. Our volunteering projects at AIESEC, based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not only offer the volunteers an excellent opportunity to enhance their personal and professional goals, but also enhance the lives of all in Sri Lanka. When executed ethically, each of these volunteer projects have the power to support and develop the community.

The Role of International Volunteers in Sri Lankan Society

Apart from its contribution to the tourism sector in adding to the Per Capita Income, the communal engagement proves to enhance a better understanding of life here in Sri Lanka, going beyond the stereotyped and polarized headlines on internet news. There is bound to be a cultivation of a positive cultural education and appreciationVolunteers enjoying travelling in Sri Lanka through the foreign volunteers who get to engage with our local community and vice versa. Volunteering provides a journey of self-exploration and cultural confluence. With the planet in danger and nature in trouble, nations are facing unprecedented complexities. The SDGs provide a framework to manage them and volunteers actively play a part in the implementation of them.

Volunteers become crucial drivers of change, actively moulding the achievement of these goals. When they involve themselves in local areas, they create a lasting link to the advancement of the country. Essentially, volunteering not only helps people grow personally but also brings about real and positive changes. 


Thisandi Weerasinghe

Content Writer

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Lifestyle, Programs, Travel, Volunteer

Unleashing the Power of Global Volunteering to Enhance Your Potential

In a world that is constantly evolving, personal growth and character development have become more critical than ever. AIESEC’s Outgoing Global Volunteer (oGV) program presents a remarkable opportunity for young individuals to make a positive impact on the world while simultaneously nurturing their own character. 

Let us explore the benefits of AIESEC’s Outgoing Global Volunteering program and how it can help you improve your character in profound ways.

Expanding Horizons:

You should not confine your potential within the walls. Through AIESEC’s oGV, you can connect with diverse cultures and communities. Engaging with people from different backgrounds opens your mind to new perspectives, broadening your horizons and enhancing your cultural intelligence. Embracing diversity fosters empathy and understanding, essential traits for building a strong character.

Developing Leadership Skills:

Leaders inspire, guide, and empower others towards a shared vision, fostering positive change and progress. oGV projects often require teamwork and leadership, giving you the opportunity to sharpen your leadership skills. Taking charge of initiatives, coordinating with virtual teams, and managing projects instills in you a sense of responsibility and the ability to lead with compassion and resilience.

Cultivating Resilience:

Resilience reminds us that adversity can be the catalyst for growth and strength. Global volunteering is a journey filled with challenges and obstacles. As you work on meaningful projects, you will inevitably face setbacks. However, these experiences build resilience, teaching you to bounce back from disappointments and to persevere in the face of adversity.

Empowering Others and Yourself:

There is an Art of nurturing individual potential and fostering collective growth through support, encouragement, and belief in the strength of each person’s abilities. oGV allows you to contribute to causes that matter to you, whether it’s supporting education, environmental conservation, or community development. By empowering others, you gain a sense of purpose and fulfillment, enriching your character with compassion and a greater understanding of your own values.

Enhancing Communication Skills:

Communication skill is one’s ability to convey ideas effectively, fostering meaningful connections and understanding with others.Working with a diverse team, often spanning across borders, sharpens your communication skills. You learn to articulate your ideas clearly, adapt to different communication styles, and practice active listening. Effective communication is a hallmark of strong character, fostering mutual respect and cooperation.

How can this global experience mold you into a better version of yourself?

  • Before embarking on your oGV journey, take time to reflect on your personal growth goals. Set clear intentions on what you want to achieve through your volunteering experience. Thus will illuminate the clear path of your journey ahead.
  • Engage wholeheartedly with the culture of the project location. Be curious, respectful, and open-minded, seeking to learn from the people you collaborate with. Thus you will get motivated.
  • Be open to constructive feedback from project coordinators and teammates. Embracing feedback with humility allows you to identify areas of improvement and nurture your character. By doing so, you can learn from your mistakes and move ahead with greater knowledge and understanding
  • Seize opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and challenges within your project. Stepping out of your comfort zone fosters personal development and self-confidence. Because, responsibilities can act as a catalyst for your personal development, helping you to unlock your potential and flourish in various aspects of life.
  • Regularly journal your experiences and personal growth throughout your oGV journey. Self-reflection helps you become more self-aware and mindful of your character development.

Our Outgoing Global Volunteer program presents a platform for young individuals to improve their character while contributing to global causes. By embracing diversity, developing leadership skills, and cultivating resilience, participants can foster personal growth and make a positive impact on the world. Through intentionality and self-reflection, oGV becomes a powerful catalyst for nurturing a well-rounded and compassionate character, equipping you to navigate life’s challenges with grace and purpose. So, embark on this extraordinary journey and unlock your true potential with AIESEC’s Outgoing Global Volunteer program. This World needs you.

Penned by 

James Sembukuttiarachchi

Content Writer – AIESEC in SLIIT


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iGV, Partnerships, Programs, Volunteer

ECO-V: Where leadership meets environment

 Nature is a leading cause of serenity and tranquility; it has the ability to reduce any form of stress that we encounter, and it helps us see things from a different perspective. Without nature, the world would be totally dull and lifeless. 

Eco-Friendly Volunteers (ECO-V) is a non-profit voluntary organization established on February 7, 2001. They are engaged in environmental conservation in Sri Lanka, which includes conservation of Biodiversity, sustainability, and climate change, and they offer a wide variety of products that are nature-friendly. ECO-V has a network of over 1000 volunteers throughout Sri Lanka who contribute to research and community work to support conservation of the environment.

Their goal is to be the most recognized voluntary environmental organization dedicated to empowering people to take actions on sustainable living and biodiversity conservation to make Sri Lanka a better place for all living organisms.

Sharing the same goal, AIESEC in SLIIT has teamed up with ECO-V in 2023 as a partner of one of our programs, Incoming Global Volunteer, to aid with the mission of healing the nature that surrounds us.

As an organization, we are delighted to team up with ECO-V to help Mother Nature recover step by step in our beloved Sri Lanka. The Incoming Global Volunteer Program can create leaders and shape the lives of many people, so this partnership is an incredible means to developing the future of Sri Lanka while also preserving its precious nature for the future leaders.

This partnership also allows our volunteers to be one with nature and have an out-of-body experience that will open their eyes to a world unknown, which is just what we are looking for.

This venture into helping nature recover one step at a timefalls in line with the objectives of our organization. Together with ECO-V, AIESEC in SLIIT looks forward to a Sri Lanka that will allow our upcoming leaders to maximize their potential.

Our Global Volunteering Program allows you to experience a culture and lifestyle that will change your perspective on everything. Go on trips and volunteer to make the community a better place!

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Penned by 

Yohan Wickremasinghe

Content Writer – DXP & IM







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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Uncategorized, Volunteer

The transformative power of volunteerism in mental health

In a world where the pursuit of personal well-being often takes center stage, volunteerism lays down happiness and fulfillment by selflessly giving it to others. It is an act of dedicating time and skills to helping those in need, which not only benefits the communities served but also has a profound impact on the mental health and overall well-being of the volunteers. It is a symbol of a relationship where the act of giving plays a huge role in personal growth, resilience, and emotional nourishment. Let us embark on this exploration together and uncover the immense power of volunteerism to nurture our mental health and well-being.


Importance of mental health in volunteering

Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also be demanding and emotionally challenging. Taking care of our mental health while volunteering is crucial for both the well-being of the volunteer and the effectiveness of the volunteer’s efforts. Here are some main reasons why mental health is important in volunteering,

  • Volunteering is most likely working with individuals or communities who are facing difficult circumstances or experiencing some kind of trauma. So, maintaining a good mindset allows them to cope with challenging situations without being overwhelmed.
  • When volunteers are mentally healthy they are more likely to listen attentively and understand the needs of those they are serving.
  • Engaging in a whole new task and interacting with a whole new environment is a transformative experience. It needs the volunteer’s full attention and better communication skills to interact with everyone involved in the volunteering process.
  • Volunteers serve as role models, so they should prioritize their mental health, self-care, and well-being.


Mental HealthVolunteerism as a tool for mental health

As a person in an ever-evolving and fast-paced world, taking care of our mental health has become increasingly important. Alongside traditional methods of therapy and self-care, volunteerism is no less important because it is a powerful tool for nurturing mental well-being. Here’s how engaging in volunteer work can positively impact mental well-being:

  •  Volunteering gives individuals a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. It allows them to contribute to something greater than themselves and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
  •  Volunteering often involves working with others, creating opportunities for building social connections and maintaining meaningful relationships. And social support reduces feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
  •  Volunteering is always about learning new skills, gaining experience, and broadening our knowledge. So, engaging in meaningful and challenging volunteer work can positively impact personal growth and build confidence. It may give us a sense of achievement and personal fulfillment and positively impact our mental health.
  •  Mostly, volunteering serves as stress reduction. It serves as a healthy distraction from personal problems and negative emotions. So, focusing on helping others may help us forget our challenges.

Mental Health

Challenges associated with volunteerism and mental health

While volunteerism can have tremendous benefits for mental health and well-being, it is important to acknowledge that there are potential challenges volunteers may encounter along their journey. Let’s talk about a few of them,


  •  Volunteer work often involves interacting with individuals who are facing difficult circumstances. So, witnessing others’ pain may be emotionally challenging and lead to emotional exhaustion.
  • Volunteers deeply committed to their volunteering purpose may feel overcommitted and burnout. They might find it difficult to balance volunteer responsibilities with their personal lives.
  • Volunteers may face unclear expectations and sudden tasks. Unrealistic expectations can create undue pressure and stress, impacting mental well-being. Especially volunteers new to the field may experience imposter syndrome and feel that they don’t deserve to be in the role.


Even though volunteerism is an act of selfless giving, we should remember that we often receive more than we could ever imagine. Let us understand that our mental health and well-being are interactively connected to our service. And we are reminding you all that we are cultivating our bright future through all acts of kindness. Let’s all remember to leave a little sparkle wherever we go.


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By Karen Zavier
Content Writer – DXP

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