Sri Lanka

Resettling children after war

We work across Sri Lanka to help children and families recover after three decades of civil war.

In partnership with local organisations, our programmes focus on child protection, education, newborn and child survival, and children's rights. 

Three decades of fierce civil war has left thousands of Sri Lankan children vulnerable and traumatised. Although the conflict officially ended in 2009, many children and families still bear deep physical and emotional scars.

In the areas that were war zones in the north, we've been helping to bring children back to ordinary life, resettle families and help them to earn a living.

In the south of the country, tourism and rapid economic growth have left children, especially girls, at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. We're working hard to keep them safe.

We've also been helping communities rebuild in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which flattened towns and villages and killed tens of thousands of people.

Overcoming trauma

Working with local organisations, we’ve helped thousands of children to overcome trauma, we've reunited children separated from their families, and we've helped families to rebuild homes.

Through community-based rehabilitation programmes, we've supported children from Sri Lanka’s armed groups to reintegrate into society. And we've used cash grants to help women widowed by war to earn a living.

Better care for children

With reports of child abuse rising, we're working hard with the government, police and local communities to tackle the problem. We're setting up community child protection groups and empowering children to put a stop to abuse.

With the Ministry of Justice, we’ve developed a training programme for judges and magistrates on bringing ‘care’ into the justice system. As a result, two special children’s courts have been established that will be faster and more sensitive to children’s needs.

We're also working with the authorities to help reunite children who have been placed in institutional care with their families. We've helped draft new guidelines on adoption to put Sri Lanka in line with UN standards, and we've pushed the government to ban corporal punishment.

Getting an education

We're investing in children's early learning to ensure they get the best possible start in life.

Our Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programme includes teacher training, curriculum development and working with communities to set up and maintain ECCD centres.

We're also helping children who have dropped out of - or never been to - school to access education. To encourage them to stay in school, we promote child-friendly school systems where children's views are listened to and they're involved in decision-making.

Emergency response

After the tsunami, we provided emergency aid and education to 130,000 children, created safe places to play for 88,000, and rebuilt 21 schools.

Since then, we've taught tens of thousands of children what to do in the event of emergency, through our disaster risk reduction education.

As the climate warms and disasters become more likely, we're working with the National Disaster Management Committee on contingency planning for future emergencies.

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