Sri Lanka has a long history and rich culture of volunteerism molded by socio-cultural practices, permeating almost all aspects of human activity. It has largely taken the form of donation of labour, commonly known as “Shramadana” and traditional knowledge that has permeated Sri Lankan communities. Diverse ethno-religious traditions in the country have embodied varying notions of volunteerism, giving rise to many forms of volunteer practices.
While individual volunteerism has continued over the centuries it did not take long for organised volunteerism to earn a more dominant place in society. The latter has continued to evolve and emerge as an important factor in economic and social development of the country.
Through the high levels of pervasive social infusion of volunteer culture, the values of solidarity, reciprocity, mutual trust and empowerment are embedded within the practice of volunteerism in Sri Lanka.
According to CAF World Giving Index in 2019, Sri Lanka recorded the highest rate of volunteering in the world. Each year an average of around seven million people in the country volunteered their time, and nearly half of those aged over fifteen.