Since we started in 2005, we have sent more than 200 volunteers to Sri Lanka with TRIP Canada. Here is what they have to say about the experience:

McGregor Family: Team 11


There is no doubt that the most meaningful part of this trip was that the whole family did it – together. They loved being able to physically participate in such a worthwhile cause while meeting and working with wonderful and gentle people. We all were looking for an opportunity to make a difference and contribute to a better life for those in need while learning about their community and culture – and this really did it. As Blair expressed: “through a few strokes of fate, we were to do this trip as a family, which made it all that more special and meaningful. More families should just do it!”

Carol Wright: Team 12

From our first outing to our last I was struck by the amazing roots that TRIP Canada has in the Tangalle area. People there have such love and respect for Canadians that it just makes you proud to be one. It seemed like everyone was familiar with Madame Janet and her volunteers. The physical evidence of the work done by previous volunteers is vast and impressive from homes to temples to schools and now to the orphanage. But the thing that meant the most was seeing the impact on people’s lives – from having homes to live in to the young people coming back to visit the group after completing their funded education. It is all so inspiring. You work hard, sweat a lot, make new friends and feel a lot of love.  An unforgettable experience!

Bruce and Liz Corneil: Team 12

Our “holiday” to Sri Lanka through TRIP was unlike anything we ever experienced before.  The purpose of our trip was to help build an orphanage that had been started at the time of the tsunami but had never been finished.  What an experience!  We were immersed in the Sri Lankan culture from the beginning to the end of the trip starting with the overwhelming reception we received from the children living at the orphanage to working side by side with the Sri Lankan workers.  It was hard work in extreme heat but break times allowed us to spend time with the kid. Through games and sports we forged a relationship. They are amazing children who have been through so much yet are so thankful for the little they have.  The greatest reward was to feel that in some small way we had provided those kids with some sense of hope for their future.  It was a very worthwhile endeavour.

Kevin Shea: Team 1, 3, 5, 10, and 11

Kevin Shea

“What captures our attention on any TRIP Canada adventure is the reality of the simple, tough and inspiring way the families of Sri Lanka live their lives. We volunteers have learned to cherish the family dynamic of the Sri Lankans and this made my most recent trip, travelling with my daughter Jamie, very special to me. While I had every confidence that Jamie would excel with any group, witnessing her capacity to fully explore the hard labour, adapting to the work pace, the tools and our amazing Sri Lankan co-workers was a true delight. When asked why I go back to Sri Lanka repeatedly the answer is easy – TRIP Canada came and stayed. This time,  the personal impact just got better with Jamie there. Every Dad should have this opportunity.”

Jamie Shea: Team 10

 Jamie“While my Dad’s stories captivated me over the years, nothing prepared me for the incredible and life changing experience travelling with TRIP Canada is. Knowing you can do something that can actually change someone’s life for the better, is absolutely beautiful. The labour is hard, especially in the heat, but seeing the smiles on the Sir Lankan’s faces and having a role in that, makes every bit worth it. Experiencing everything with my Dad was priceless. We grew together in a way that is impossible in the culture and busy life we live in Toronto. Above all, this experience has made me respect my Dad even more than I ever knew I could. The fact that he has done this 4 times now putting in hours of hard physical labour that I never knew he had in him makes me realize what an incredible role model he is. I began to see my Dad in a different light and it made me so incredibly proud to call him my Dad.”

Gisèle Gareau: Team 10


“When I arrived in Sri Lanka, with a wonderful group including repeat volunteers, I was struck by the great relationships that have been cultivated between the Canadians and the Sri Lankans over the last 9 years.  It was very obvious that this was a mutually beneficial relationship and we as Canadians could learn a lot from the Sri Lankans in terms of their very kind and gentle ways. Back in Canada, I try to be cognizant every day of the fortunate lives we lead and not take anything for granted. The experience had an effect on me as a parent, too – this was an opportunity to not just talk to my kids about helping those in need, but to actually do something about it. So, while I was there to help the people in Sri Lanka, there was definitely a reverse effect in that the people and country left a wonderful mark on me that I will have for the rest of my life.”

Alison & Jason Squire: Teams 5, 10, and 11

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“After our amazing volunteer trip in 2009, we jumped at the chance to revisit Sri Lanka with Team 10. We already knew that the heat, hard labour, blisters and jet lag would be rewarded by the strong bonds you form with complete strangers and the wonder of seeing bricks and mortar become a home. It was very exciting to see the changes in the village and the children growing up with their bright smiles. While the work is hard, the atmosphere is always uplifting and energizing. Our life changing visits to Sri Lanka have emphasized to us how lucky we are to be Canadian, how much we have to be thankful for and that there is much we can offer to others around the globe.”

Hilary, Amalie & Kristian Bruun: Teams 4-11

BombaWeb + Testimonials -151When Hilary told her son and daughter about TRIP Canada, she had no idea she was introducing them to an experience that would change all their lives. Since 2007 Amalie has volunteered for 6 trips, Kristian for 4 trips and Hilary for 3 trips. Returning to Sri Lanka has become an important part of their lives and they find every trip different. Kristian believes that the repeat experience is very important: “To see the people you have come to love grow and prosper is the best and it’s important to show them that we’re not here to patch things up and leave – we want to improve the lives of future generations.” Hilary loves the hard physical work, especially plastering, and she comments: “My whole feeling about everything I do on a daily basis is different now because of my first amazing journey in April 2010.” Amalie is the veteran and now helps to lead the TRIP Canada teams. For her it is all about the people, both Sri Lankan and Canadian, who have had a huge impact on her life. “They make me appreciate that there truly is much to be thankful for in our daily lives.”

Hear more from our volunteers in this video:

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Keltie Lavitt: Team 9

 Keltie“When thinking back on TRIP Team 9, words like “incredible, eye-opening, and amazing” come to mind – but none of them do the experience justice. The two weeks I spent with the volunteers and the people of Tangalle were unforgettable… the memories and friends from this trip will stay with me forever!”

Steve Alvares: Team 6


“Unforgettable! I never thought that I would become so close to another family that lives half a world away. What an absolutely great way to help Sri Lankans and to help me develop as a person. Every day had a new adventure that I hoped would never come to an end. For two weeks I lived, learned and loved this country, but the other volunteers just put it over the top for me. It was the most rewarding experience of my life.”

Nick Foster: Teams 2, 3, and 7

“Helping to build the village for tsunami survivors taught me that helping others, with no expectation of any kind of return, was the kind of life I wanted to live. This experience started me on a journey that has involved many volunteer trips to three countries in Africa and Laos.  I have worked with many organizations but I must say that TRIP Canada has established an intimacy with the people and community in Sri Lanka that is almost impossible to achieve.  I can’t say enough about how safe, organized, diverse and fun a trip with this group can be – you will meet amazing co-travelers and wonderful beneficiaries!”

Lara Vishwanathan: Team 2

“This trip impacted my life in a way that words will never be able to describe. Each day I experienced something new – working with my amazing team alongside local labourers who were very poor and families who had lost everything. The most difficult part of the trip was not seeing the hardship the Sri Lankan community has endured because of the tsunami, but leaving behind these caring, warm-spirited, giving people.”

Chris Cook: Team 1

“When I contributed to tsunami relief through Red Cross, I assumed that this would be a travesty I would watch from afar until I heard that friends were going to Sri Lanka. We’ve all grown up to understand that team work is the best work and this was most apparent to me during my time in Sri Lanka. Our team included those we were building homes for and all family members played a role. We worked, ate, socialized and played as one. There’s no doubt I came home with a new view on charitable work. I didn’t think I would ever be part of something like this, because I didn’t think it could ever be like this!”