any approaches for rural development have been created and implemented in rural areas of developing countries since the 1970s. When we analyze these rural development approaches, they can be categorized into two groups: the area-based approach and the target-group-oriented approach. The former aims to develop a geographical area economically and the latter aims to improve the life of the poor in villages in social, political and economical meaning. Through my experience as an intern with the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement (SSM), a local NGO in Sri Lanka, I found the possibility of another approach. The SSM approach cannot be categorized into either the area-based approach or the target-group-oriented approach. This study investigates the SSM approach to gain insights which help us to develop an alternative rural development approach. The main research question is what the SSM approach to rural development is and how this approach compares to the existing major approaches. However, it is not the intention to critically evaluate any of rural development approach. The two methodologies are employed for data collection. The first is reviewing documents of SSM to understand the philosophy of this movement. The second is one-month field research to gather information about the SSM methodology. To highlight the features of the SSM approach, the SSM approach is compared with the major approaches. Although some elements of both major approaches are integrated into the SSM approach, it is still not a variation of either approach. Therefore, the case of SSM gives us some ideas that can be applied to the development of an alternative model. These insights include the importance of personal change; the concept of holistic development; the significance of social bonds and the requirement of sufficient time.