Latest update

There is a worsening economic crisis in Sri Lanka due to the global food crisis, high inflation and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation peaked at over 64 per cent in September 2022, 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's futures were further endangered by their lack of access to education, 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 you can pray

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

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for provision for the many families struggling to find employment in the current economic crisis.
  • Pray for wisdom and confidence for students preparing for their exams and returning to their studies.
  • Pray for provision and strength for families in poverty who are worst affected by skyrocketing inflation.
  • Pray that God may heal and sustain children affected by malnutrition during the global food crisis.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment for Sri Lankan leaders as they make decisions.
  • Pray for peace and encouragement for the local partners as they continue serving and supporting the children and families in their communities.
The provision of food in Sri Lanka

The provision of food in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, food prices are rapidly rising. Eleven-year-old Arikaran’s parents work hard to provide for him, but inflation has meant their usual food budget for three months now only covers one. Their once varied diet became just rice, lentils and coconut sambol. Yet in this difficult time, Arikaran being part of the Compassion program is a huge blessing for his family.   Read more open_in_new

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

16%

of children under 5 are experiencing stunted growth

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 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Local partners and staff continue to reach out to offer encouragement and support. They are delivering food packs 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