Latest update

There is a worsening economic crisis in Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism losses and high government spending. Headline inflation has increased to 17.5 per cent, resulting in protest and civil unrest. Many Sri Lankans are no longer able to afford basic goods. Food, medicine and fuel are increasingly difficult to acquire due to resource shortages.

Local partners have adapted their programs to abide by restrictions and curfews. They have continued to support registered children through home visits, phone calls and small group gatherings where possible. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have delivered over 348,000 food packs and 276,200 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

School were completely closed during lockdown periods in Sri Lanka. Children in poverty were further endangered by their lack of access to education for future opportunities. Due to local restrictions, Sri Lankan staff had very limited access to the Compassion office between March 2020 and October 2021. In the early months of 2022, the team have worked hard to print and distribute thousands of heartfelt letters from sponsors to their sponsored children.

Watch the video update from Sri Lanka below to find out more.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Sri Lanka?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most centres in Sri Lanka continue to meet with children and families in small groups, through home-visits or virtually to stop the spread of COVID-19. Local partners make phone calls to check in on families. They also continue to monitor urgent needs and child protection issues.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters continue to be delivered to sponsored children in Sri Lanka, but they may be delayed. 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 may be delayed. Local workers will meet with the child and family to determine the best use of the gift and ensure it meets their greatest need.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for local workers, children and families in Sri Lanka.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Provision for the many families struggling to find employment in the current economic crisis.
  • Strength and unity for Abhina and her family as they seek to overcome challenges.
  • Healing for Devmi’s and Theruni’s fathers as their illnesses are preventing them from being able to support their families.
  • Wisdom and confidence for students preparing for their exams.
  • Healing for Akshayan as he recovers from his injuries.
  • Comfort for the children and families grieving the passing of their loved ones.
  • Wisdom and discernment for Sri Lankan leaders as they make decisions.
  • Prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and healing for those who are unwell.
  • 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

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, many child development centres in Sri Lanka are temporarily closed to large group activities. 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

7

children under the age of 5 die per 1,000 births

16%

of children under 4 years old 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

14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

It can be disappointing if your sponsored child hasn’t responded to your questions or even mentioned the letter you sent them. Here’s why this could be happening, plus handy tips to prevent it. .. Read more

24 Jan, 2018

Why Doesn't Compassion Work in Conflict Zones?

Nearly one in every nine children live in a conflict zone. So why does Compassion only choose to work in stable communities?.. Read more

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