Latest update

COVID-19 cases have been rising quickly in Sri Lanka since October. Active cases on 8 December numbered 7634, and total related deaths were 142. The surge led to a prison riot outside the capital city of Colombo on 6 December, as inmates protested crowded conditions and insufficient COVID-19 testing. At least eight prisoners were killed and more than 50 were injured. Public offices have been closed, public gatherings are banned, and public transportation is restricted. All citizens are required to wear face masks, maintain social distance and keep hands sanitised.

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COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

How is Compassion currently operating in Sri Lanka?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Partners have stopped activities for children due to the second wave of outbreaks in Sri Lanka. Centres are not open for group activities. Some staff members are visiting children at home and supporting them in their educational and health needs.

    Partners have distributed over 135,700 food packs and 60,900 hygiene kits, and they are delivering seed packets and disease-prevention information as they are able under the government guidelines.

    Children continue to write letters to their sponsors from home.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    At this point, we are not able to safely deliver letters to children in Sri Lanka. 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.
  • Provision of the resources Sanjeev’s family needs to build a home to protect them from the elements.
  • Comfort and peace for Omkaran, Nisansala, Sivasudaram, Sonakshi, Darshika and Nuwan’s families as they miss and grieve the loss of their precious children.
  • Comfort, protection and guidance for Sajeevani and his mother as they walk through this difficult and challenging time.
  • Healing and a quick recovery for Ebshiba as she recovers from a fracture.
  • Provision of the resources needed and job opportunities for Sajeevan, Sanuliya and Saduni’s families to provide for their families’ needs.
  • Local partner staff's safety and health as they continue to serve, love and care for the people in their communities.
  • 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

Crisis Reports from Sri Lanka

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    Cyclonic Storm Burevi in Sri Lanka (Final Crisis Update) 17 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    Rain showers continue in some areas of Sri Lanka and more severe thunderstorms are expected due to the monsoon season.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 225

    New information

    The affected families were well supported with Disaster Relief funding for temporary shelters and child support funding for food packs.


    Thank you for your prayers for safety and provision of children and their families.

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    Cyclonic Storm Burevi in Sri Lanka (Crisis Update) 08 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The storm subsided on 5 December.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 217

    New information

    Impact assessment is still in process. Seven local partners have reports of impacted Compassion assisted children so far.


    Please pray for the protection and provision of children, families, staff, and local partners throughout Sri Lanka.

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    Cyclonic Storm Burevi in Sri Lanka 02 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The Cyclone caused strong winds, heavy rains and flooding in most areas of Sri Lanka. It is estimated that it has impacted over 12,000 people.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 34

    New information

    Local partners are giving cooked food to affected families, as well as the normal COVID-19 relief packs. They may utilise funding later for house repairs.


    Please pray for the protection and provision of children, families, staff, and local partners throughout Sri Lanka.


Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most 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

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more

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

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