At the southern tip of India, in the Indian Ocean, is the island
nation of Sri Lanka, where 460,000 people were displaced during a 30-year armed
conflict within its borders. Slightly larger than the state of West Virginia,
the country formerly known as Ceylon is prone to a variety of natural
disasters, and the effects of the 2004 tsunami are still being felt.
High dropout rates in secondary grades and youth unemployment and
under-employment are major issues.
ChildFund has served children in Sri Lanka since 1985.
Nearly a third of Sri Lanka’s children under 5 are underweight,
and one in 10 suffer from chronic or acute malnutrition. An estimated 19
percent of all newborns are moderately to severely malnourished. Diarrhea,
respiratory illness and accidental death are the three main contributors to the
country’s 13 percent infant mortality rate.
We educate mothers to better care for their children. Many aren’t
aware of the importance of proper nutrition in a child’s young life or ways to
prevent disease. We’ve trained health volunteers who help educate others in
their communities about nutrition, food preparation, personal hygiene and
illness prevention. Seeds, fertilizer, tools and other technical supports are
provided to families with children to help them start home gardens to ensure
food security. ChildFund also provides water pumps to help children attain access to clean,
safe water for both consumption and cultivation.
The Early Years
Many preschool-age children suffer from poor-quality environments
that do not offer them the stimulation they need. Young children of
agricultural laborers such as tea estate workers are left in substandard child
care situations for long periods of time.
ChildFund helps communities build or upgrade Early Childhood
Development centers. We also train parents and caregivers in primary health
care, nutrition and proper stimulation for children.
Support for Learning
Child-Friendly Schools supported by ChildFund help give children
access to quality education. We also help schools improve their
infrastructures. In addition, we provide supplementary classes in
compulsory subjects to help older children prepare for the important exams that
they must take to achieve the next level of their education.
We also work through Youth Clubs where education, sports, health,
nutrition, cultural and environmental programs reach more than 19,000 children.
For out-of-school youth, we provide vocational training as well as life skills training.