Sri Lanka has made impressive progress in the past five years since the end of civil conflict that spanned three decades. As it transitions to a middle-income country, Sri Lanka is now focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges.
Australia’s aid programs in Sri Lanka are focused on enabling and equipping other development actors – including the Sri Lankan government, private sector and civil society – to deliver sustainable economic growth and opportunity for Sri Lanka.
Australian volunteers in Sri Lanka will initially work with the primary and secondary education sectors, aligning with the Australian Government’s aid program priorities to support the development of a high-quality, inclusive and accessible school system.
Colombo is the most multi-ethnic and multi-religious city in Sri Lanka. It is also a city where income disparities contrast startlingly: air-conditioned mansions tower next to small shacks, the latest BMW speeds past rickety, over-packed buses. Amidst all the bustle of everyday life, it is still a friendly city that is always ready to welcome foreigners and newcomers. As in most capital cities in South Asia, Colombo has a wide range of markets and supermarkets selling most food items. Fresh fish and seafood feature heavily in the cuisine however vegetarians will have a range of local fruits and vegetables to choose from.
Colombo has religious centres and places of worship for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and most of the different denominations of the Christian and Catholic churches. Culturally, Colombo comes alive when each ethnic community celebrates its festivals, such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Id Ul Fitur, Christmas and Thai Pongal. Colombo has a growing expatriate community and offers more entertainment, art exhibitions, activities and events than other parts of the country.