Latest update

There is a worsening economic crisis in Sri Lanka due to the global food crisis, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and high government spending. Inflation has increased to at least 64 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.

Schools 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, and our local partners are working hard to find ways to help Sri Lankan children catch up on missed learning.

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 have resumed their usual activities, though some continue to meet with children and families in small groups, through home-visits or virtually to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters continue to be delivered to sponsored children in Sri Lanka, but they may be delayed.

    Due to local COVID-19 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.

    We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of care and hope because your words are incredibly uplifting for children in poverty.

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed as normal in Sri Lanka. 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.
  • Wisdom and confidence for students preparing for their exams and returning to their studies.
  • Provision and strength for families in poverty who are worst affected by skyrocketing inflation.
  • Comfort for the children and families grieving the passing of their loved ones.
  • Wisdom and discernment for Sri Lankan leaders as they make decisions.
  • 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


Please note: Sri Lanka is one of nine Compassion partner countries that are severely affected by the current global food crisis. Our local partners are responding with both short-term relief and long-term solutions to fight hunger.

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 5 die per 1,000 births


of children under 4 years old are underweight

Lush forests, pristine beaches and rocky highlands cover Sri Lanka’s landscape. The island nation is highly susceptible to the devastation caused by natural disasters like tsunamis.

Sri Lanka is slowly emerging from a decades-long civil war that ended in 2009. This scenic country carries the scars of the conflict, and poverty continues pushing its way into every area of children’s lives. Poverty is overwhelmingly concentrated in rural communities in the northern and eastern regions where access to education, healthcare and adequate shelter and nutrition are limited.

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.

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 global food crisis and 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, as well as providing long-term solutions to offer sustained food security.

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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