Volunteer With TAPA

Our Visiting International Volunteer Vets and Nurses

Want the experience of a lifetime? If you are an experienced vet, vet tech, or vet nurse, we invite you to come to Sri Lanka to work with our CNVR field team.

Visiting vets, vet techs, or vet nurses must be able to spend at least 10 days with us. This is demanding work in a field environment. Our volunteers live together with the team in a rented team house while working in a particular geographic sector of the tsunami zone or former conflict zone.

Our visiting professionals bring new methods, experiences, and approaches to our team. And in most cases, our volunteers go home having learned some things themselves, in addition to having lived and worked with our Sri Lankan team.


We vaccinate and sterilise individually owned dogs, community dogs, and true strays, and also provide general treatment as needed. Free-roaming dogs are caught using nets, a much gentler method than catch poles. We closely adhere to the same-day release protocols refined over the years by the Bali Street Dog programme, and we strive to maintain a hospital-grade sterile surgery environment under field conditions.

Our volunteers pay their own air fare and associated expenses to get to Sri Lanka, but then food and lodging are provided with the team, as is transportation to and from the field location. Volunteer vets and nurses must have a minimum of five years post-graduation veterinary experience. Vets must be skilled, fast, and adaptable surgeons. Our field surgeries are performed using IV anesthetics, making efficiency crucial. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide a training environment for vet students or recent veterinary graduates. The conditions under which we work are significantly more challenging that a vet would encounter in normal practice. Volunteer vets must be current on new developments in the field of veterinary medicine, and they must be able to inspire, teach, and improve the skills of our vets. For these reasons, we may not be able to take all vets and vet techs who apply.

We can offer you the experience of a lifetime helping the animals and people of Sri Lanka. Then take some time to see Sri Lanka, including our beautiful beaches and cool upcountry.

Potential volunteers will be asked to complete a questionnaire, provide two referees/references, and describe what they can contribute in terms of improving the skills of the team. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Dr. Elaine Ong, for more information.

Quotes from our Volunteer Vets

"Sri Lanka is now in the longer-term recovery phase from the Tsunami. We need experienced volunteer surgeons and nurses to help us continue the desexing work and to help continually improve the skills of the Sri Lankan team working in the tsunami disaster zone. The work is rewarding and challenging. If you like to work in an air-conditioned room all day this is not for you. But if you want to do work where you will make a HUGE and LONG TERM contribution to the welfare of dogs and cats, which is linked to improving the well-being of the Sri Lankan people hit by the tsunami, then this is for you!"

Elaine Ong e-mail
Volunteer Vet – Australia
(Global Volunteer Coordinator for the Tsunami Animal-People Alliance)

"Sri Lanka was great experience for me! So many dogs and tricky to catch, but the dog catchers make it look so easy. I did prep and surgery and sterilised more male dogs in two weeks than I do in one year back home (and I work in a spay/neuter clinic). The team follows a set and efficient protocol. It definitely is a rewarding experience working with the team and with the friendly people in Sri Lanka."

Natasha Lee
Vet – Malaysia

"Sri Lanka is a great place for a skilled and experienced veterinarian who wants to help improve the lives of animals outside the USA. I found my experience both fulfilling and educational. The Sri Lanka operation is well run and well organized. One has to be prepared for 'rustic' conditions and be able to 'think on one's feet'. However, Sri Lanka is a spectacularly beautiful place, with wonderful people. Having the opportunity to help them with their animals is an experience of a lifetime."

Eric Davis
Volunteer Vet – USA

I was impressed with the high standards of clinical and surgical care achieved in the field. Every member of the team seemed exceptionally talented and skilled at their job. The enthusiasm, knowledge and surgical expertise of the vets were impressive. The resourcefulness of the team, including the skill and ingenious use of local materials resulted in very economical use of donated products – such as sutures and medicine. It is a highly efficient outfit. Overall, I greatly enjoyed the experience and opportunity to meet such a nice group of people.

Rachel Kyle
Volunteer Vet – UK

"Working as an international volunteer is the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life. Arriving in a tsunami devastated area where people have lost everything, looking after and caring for dogs, one of the things that brings joy to the families, makes the hard living conditions all worth while. We have achieved so much through the past five weeks – sterilising dogs is only part of the field clinic's work, the surrounding entertainment and awareness created built a positive proactive focus in an otherwise bleak situation. I feel privileged to have been able to participate in this programme."

Tonya Stokes
Volunteer Vet – Australia

"Volunteering for me means donating a part of my lifetime and all my skills to a project that's worth it. By volunteering in Sri Lanka, I have gained experience, self-confidence and new friends. In addition, I get to know a foreign country and a culture in a way I would never do as a tourist. I love my profession and it feels right to give the best I can as a volunteer."

Andrea Grochowski
Volunteer Vet – Germany

"Volunteering in Sri Lanka with the Field Clinic changed my life. It was one of the most rewarding experiences working with such an organised and wonderful team that sought the best treatment for the animals and support for the volunteers. The friends I made whilst volunteering will be ones for life. I cannot wait to head back to work with the sterilisation team later in the year. I truly recommend this to anyone who wants to experience life at its most worthwhile."

Greta Lloyd
Volunteer Vet Tech – Australia

"With a disaster of the scale of the Boxing Day tsunami it is easy to think 'What can I do?' It is a really amazing yet rewarding experience to participate in the relief effort and make a small contribution in some large areas and a huge difference in some small areas."

Nigel Kittow
Volunteer Vet – New Zealand

"From the moment we were met at the airport we both had a very positive feeling about Sri Lanka. The people were all very curious and extremely friendly and helpful. Nothing could have prepared us for the destruction we saw along the coast or the way the people were bouncing back from the tragedy. Ruins were turned over to get usable building materials and people started again. The dogs were also a surprise: while many were only newly without owners they hadn't lost their companion animal spirit – many would bark at first and then roll over for a tummy rub! The work itself was hard but an amazing experience. The looks on the faces of the many local folks watching us work clearly showed they were very happy indeed that something was being done for these animals, while also reducing the possibility of rabies and bringing a change in temperament of the post op dogs. We stayed for a month. While the living conditions were basic, it really added to the whole team spirit of the operation and we met some great people. We are both very keen to come back. If you want an adventure that also really makes a difference in the world then go for it!"

Becky and Mike Weight
Volunteer Vet and Vet Tech – UK

"My experience in Sri Lanka was one of the most interesting and satisfying things I have done. The team included some of the most inspirational and dedicated people I have met. It just felt like my real job when I was there – finally an opportunity to apply my skills in a way that felt worthwhile and at the same time exploring a fascinating part of the world and the food was wonderful!"

John Skuja
Volunteer Vet – Australia

"My two weeks as a volunteer vet in Sri Lanka with the Tsunami Memorial Animal Welfare Trust has been a fantastic experience. The team of Sri Lankan vets and technicians I worked with were great people, and I was made to feel extremely welcome. They were enthusiastic about their profession and the programme, and keen to benefit from the knowledge and experience of visiting vets. Operating in a field clinic is a step away from your comfort zone, but loads of fun. It is a really good programme that not only aims to control population and disease in street dogs, but provides a very important opportunity to raise the awareness of animal welfare and available veterinary care in this country. I look forward to returning to Sri Lanka as a volunteer again. It has been a really special time. Not to mention the sensational food...."

Jenny Hibble
Volunteer Vet – Australia

"I had come to Sri Lanka three times before the Tsunami. But what could I do for this country I love after that? Giving money, yes, but not enough to fulfill the need – I really had to do something. Working two weeks with the whole team gave me what I needed: working with them, living with them, laughing with them. As a vet, the experience is fantastic, so different of our usual way of practice, and we have a lot to learn and share. As a human being, you'll return back home better, slightly different and fulfilled in your heart."

Michel Gourmelon
Volunteer Vet – France

"The team is a fantastic bunch of people with whom it was a pleasure to work. Each team member performs their own duties with enthusiasm and dedication. As an observer I was very impressed with the efficiency of the team members regarding the quick turnaround from van to table to recovery."

Tracey Rodger
Volunteer Vet – UK