Introduction to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a South Asian island country that lies in the Indian Ocean. The ‘Land of Serendipity’ has a population of 22 million and hosts beautiful scenery, wildlife, religious landmarks, and enriched traditions. Beyond its ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and amazing wildlife, the island nation has many other stories to uncover.
Sri Lanka has one of the best education systems in South Asia, practicing free primary and secondary education as part of its constitution and boasting a 98% literacy rate for youth. However, this wasn’t always the case, as constant conflict and poverty conditions interfered with livelihood.
The 26 year long civil war in the Eastern and Northern Central provinces caused severe hardships, especially for vulnerable populations who lack access to basic resources. As the nation attempts to heal from ethnic strife and brutal conflict, Sri Lanka continues to sustain new injuries to its social and political structures that reveal much larger systemic problems.
Natural disasters are also regular occurrences in the country, as the people of Sri Lanka continuously suffer from droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones. Recently, 50,000 people have been displaced as a result of floods and landslides. Additionally, some districts lack access to water and sanitation, resulting in a rise in water-related health issues.
The aftermath of civil war, increasing climate induced events and poverty conditions have also led to food insecurity in the country, compromising the livelihoods of the country’s majority rural population sustained by agriculture.
Why do the people of Sri Lanka need your support?
For people across Sri Lanka, life is incredibly challenging:
22% of Sri Lankans are undernourished or malnourished (World Food Programme)
74% of children in Sri Lanka live on less than $US2.78 per day (UNICEF, 2020)
Almost 30% of Sri Lanka’s workforce and about 50% of the employed poor work in the agriculture industry (World Bank)
27,000 Sri Lankans are internally displaced due to conflict and violence (iDMC, 2020)
Islamic Relief in Sri Lanka
Islamic Relief started its work in Sri Lanka in 2004, where we provided emergency relief in the face of natural disasters and the civil war. With a main office in Ampara, Islamic Relief Canada runs operations across the Batticaloa and Anuradhapura districts targeting WASH, food, livelihood and orphan sectors.
In the past we delivered emergency food aid to survivors of a tsunami and built WASH facilities to support their water and sanitation needs. Beyond immediate relief, we started to branch out and deliver long term sustainable projects. These projects included shelter construction, livelihood recovery, financial assistance, and school essentials to kids.
A staple of our work in Sri Lanka are the recurring Ramadan, Qurbani and Orphan Sponsorship Programs, which support thousands of Sri Lankans in need. More recently, our work in Sri Lanka addresses the poor living conditions of orphan families and their communities in the Ampara District.
The project aims to economically empower orphan families towards their sustainable socioeconomic development. We provide skills development and vocational training to youth, establish and strengthen children clubs, and improve education for children through the provision of learning materials.
Your donations in action
Noor is a 49 year old mother of 3 children living in Sri Lanka’s Ampara district. Her husband is a labourer whose income does not meet the needs of their family. While her husband spends most of his day at work, Noor does the household chores and tutors her children.
During these moments at home, her heart aches as she watches her children starve. She often wonders if she’s a good parent due to their troubled living conditions, and worries a lot about her kids' futures.
Recognizing her family’s dire situation, Islamic Relief provided Noor’s family with a food package consisting of rice, sugar, wheat flour, dates, lentils, and milk powder.
The food package will last her family all of Ramadan, momentarily removing stress from their life during the holy month. This allows them to allocate expenses to other essential needs.
“It makes me feel so happy to see the smiles on my children's faces since they can now eat to their heart’s content.”