Noolaham Foundation was started to document and preserve the documentary heritage of Sri Lankan Tamil communities. It was initiated on the Thai Pongal day of 2005 as a digital library project named Project Noolaham, which emphasized volunteerism and openness.

In 2006, Project Noolaham started accepting donations and in-kind support to accelerate digitization efforts. The first collaborative digitization began in 2007 with Women's Education and Research Center (WERC) and Colombo Tamil Sangam. By the end of 2007, the user rate has increased significantly and the server was insufficient for the increased traffic.

In 2008, pioneers of Project Noolaham in consultation with all the stakeholders decided to incorporate the activities to sustain the digital archiving initiatives in Sri Lanka. In 2010, Noolaham Foundation was formally incorporated as a guaranteed company. In 2011, Noolaham Foundation invited all stakeholders to participate in a strategic planning process and developed its Roadmap 2020 with the emphasis on institutionalization, global transformation, and observance of ethical and professional standards. Initiatives were taken to form global chapters of Noolaham Foundation and streamline its operations.

In 2013, Tamil Documentation Conference was conducted by Noolaham Foundation. It was the first ever conference held in Tamil language on documentation.