Compassion started working in Sri Lanka in 2010. Today, there are over 12,000 children registered in our programs with 73 local partners.
mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births
children under the age of five die per 1000 births
per cent of children are moderately or severely 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.
President Sirisena was a surprise victor in the 2015 Presidential election, upsetting the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa after defecting from his party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. But his alliance with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party was an unsettled one, and, in late October 2018, President Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa in his place. Mr Wickremesinghe immediately denounced this move as a violation of the country’s constitution and refused to leave his official residence. At the time of writing, all parties are caught in a tense standoff.
As the country lurches toward a political crisis, poverty still affects millions of Sri Lankans, mostly in the northern and eastern regions. Poverty 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.
Sujani and Nidursha are part of Compassion’s local Child Sponsorship Program, which started in June 2014. They’re inseparable; virtually sisters. Together with 70 other children from the neighbourhood, they attend daily classes, where they are taught tutored in subjects like English and mathematics; these lessons help the children to do better in their school work as well.open_in_new Read more