Sri Lanka

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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.

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.

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.

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