Latest update

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Sri Lanka. The average daily number of new cases was 184 for the week prior to 6th April. The country had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 2.1% of its 22.0 million people by 6th April. Families in poverty throughout South Asia, including Sri Lanka, will continue to suffer drastic losses in health, nutrition and social well-being due to disruptions in services caused by the pandemic, according to a report released by the United Nations in March. That report predicted an increase in child and maternal deaths, malnutrition, child stunting, and adolescent deaths from non-COVID preventable diseases.

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COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

How is Compassion currently operating in Sri Lanka?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Centres in Sri Lanka have begun a phased reopening. While the majority of centres are still operating at a distance only, a few are now able to carry out activities with small groups of children and youths. Staff are continuing to check in on families through phone calls and occasional home visits when child protection issues arise. Partners have distributed over 164,000 food packs and almost 79,000 hygiene kits and provided medical support to nearly 5,000 individuals.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Sri Lanka, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Sri Lanka, although they are currently delayed. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Sri Lanka who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Healing and a quick recover for Theeban following his operation.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they seek to treat Dharshan’s mother.
  • Peace and wisdom for students as they prepare to take their exams.
  • Strength and health for Liyana's mother as she prepares for her baby’s arrival.
  • Provision of the right doctors and treatment plans to cure Prabath’s father and Ebenezer’s mother from their kidney failure.
  • Protection and continued health of the children, families, caregivers, volunteers and staff.
  • Healing for Kavin following his operation.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they treat Michaelraj’s sister’s wound.
  • Provision of safe drinking water for the people living in Jeyapuram Community.
  • Strength and courage for women and children experiencing abuse, so that they may seek and receive help.
  • Peace and encouragement for the local partners as they continue serving and supporting the children and families in their communities.
Food Packs for Sri Lanka

Food Packs for Sri Lanka

For families living day-to-day in Sri Lanka, the pandemic and quarantine measures that followed drove them into further hardship. Day labourers like seven-year-old Pravin’s father, struggled to support the needs of their families and were worried they’d have no food to eat.   Read more open_in_new

Crisis Reports from Sri Lanka

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    Flooding in Chilaw, Sri Lanka (Crisis Update) 02 Jun, 2021

    The situation

    Heavy rains, strong winds and flooding have occurred throughout Sri Lanka since mid-May, particularly in the Western and North-Western provinces. Many homes were flooded and household items damaged as a result. Local staff have been assessing the impact to families in their communities and seeking to provide appropriate support based upon need.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 457

    New information

    Torrential rain and wind continued throughout May. Relief efforts have been made more difficult by COVID-19 restrictions and curfews. Local partners have worked hard to distribute food, water and other basic items to affected families wherever possible.


    Please continue to pray for the protection and provision of affected children, families and local partners.

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    Flooding in Chilaw, Sri Lanka 31 May, 2021

    The situation

    Heavy rains, strong winds and flooding have occurred throughout Sri Lanka since mid-May, particularly in the Western and North-Western provinces. Many homes were flooded and household items damaged as a result.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed. Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed.

    New information

    Local staff are assessing the impact of the flooding to children and families. Our local partners are navigating COVID-19 curfews and restrictions as they seek to provide support to those affected. Staff are encouraging families to relocate temporarily to safer areas where possible, so they can prepare meals, have a dry place to sleep and safe shelter.


    Please pray for the protection and provision of affected children, families and local partners.


Please note: Due to the current pandemic, many child development centres in Sri Lanka are temporarily closed. Our local partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Sri Lanka

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 and older visit the Compassion centre for six to eight hours every week.

Compassion Program Activities in Sri Lanka

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Compassion assisted children in Sri Lanka typically attend program activities at the local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Sri Lanka.

8:00am – A time for songs, games and introductions.

10:30am – Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am – Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm – Lunch and social time. Children enjoy a meal of rice, meat or fish, vegetables and fruit.

1:00pm – Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene lessons.

2:00pm – Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children can also attend camps, sporting events, field trips and talent shows. Parents of Compassion assisted children meet once a month to learn about a variety of topics.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Sri Lanka


mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births


children under the age of five die per 1000 births


of children are underweight

Sri Lanka is slowly emerging from a brutal decades-long civil war that resulted in mass displacement and tens of thousands of deaths. But this beautiful, scenic nation carries the scars of the conflict—and poverty continues to hold many children back.

In 2009, the Sinhalese-majority government army forced a complete defeat for the Tamil Tigers (known as the LTTE), ending a long and bitter conflict. Civilians were caught in the crossfire throughout the 26-year long war, and between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed.

While the fighting has stopped, the legacy of the conflict lingers. By the end of 2012, the majority of those who fled during the civil war had returned to Sri Lanka, but thousands have been unable to return to their communities and remain internally displaced.

Poverty still affects millions of Sri Lankans, mostly in the northern and eastern regions. It is greatest among rural and remote communities and it affects minority groups disproportionately. Those living as labourers on tea estates face the greatest disadvantages in gaining access to education, healthcare, better quality food and housing.

Child labour and forced labour trap many families in generational poverty; but recent efforts to improve access to education have helped many more children (particularly girls) to enter the classroom. The quality of education needs to improve, as schools and teachers often don’t have the resources they need to get the best results for children, but enrolment rates are strong—which is a source of hope for the next generation of Sri Lankan children.

Many daily wage earners have lost work and their families face increased hunger and hardship in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local partners and staff continue to reach out to offer encouragement and support; they are delivering food packs and medical support to meet immediate, urgent needs.

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Stories from Compassion around the world

29 May, 2020

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Developing World's Economy?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on those living in poverty, likely for years to come. Learn how... Read more

01 Nov, 2018

One Family's Wonderful Response to a Devastating Storm

As the rainy season sweeps in, Iresha lies with her back to the wall, taking comfort in its strength, its stability. One year ago, a gale ripped the roof from her family’s house and they scrambled for shelter just minutes before a tree came crashing down. But now, as she nears sleep, she knows that her new home will see them through the coming storm... Read more

28 Jan, 2020

The Most Popular Baby Names Around the World!

Every continent has its own customs and quirks, including baby names! Check out the most popular ones for children in child development centres across 25 countries—there’s a lot that can be revealed with just a name... Read more