Latest update

Active cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka numbered more than 6,200 on 4 February, and total related deaths were 330. National and local governments have enacted preventative measures such as curfews, mandatory face coverings and social distancing. A vaccination campaign is underway. The borders were reopened to foreign tourists, except from the United Kingdom, in late January with hopes of helping the economy and providing jobs in the travel industry.

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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 156,000 food packs and 63,000 hygiene kits and provided medical support to more than 2600 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:

  • Provision for the children and families’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs during these challenging times.
  • Healing for the children and their families who have tested positive for COVID-19 and that they would make a full recovery.
  • Healing and a quick recovery for Thivakar following a kneww injury.
  • Comfort for Yohan and his family as they grieve the passing of his father.
  • Wisdom for the doctors treating Krishok's father.
  • Protection over the health of Sithumi and Yasani, following recent illness.
  • Healing for Nadun's father's back and provision for their family while the father is unable to work.
  • Provision of resource for Anita and Maithili to rebuild their home.
  • Wisdom and encouragement for local partner staff as they prepare to partially or fully reopen their projects.
  • Staff’s protection and health, especially for those who live or have gone into high-risk areas.
  • Wisdom and guidance for the Leadership team as they continue to learn, assess and make decisions to keep people safe and healthy.
  • Economic stability in a season of a lot of uncertainty.
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

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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.
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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

36

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

8

children under the age of five die per 1000 births

16%

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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