COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Sri Lanka

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Sri Lanka.

Last Updated: 04/12/2021

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Sri Lanka; the average daily number of new cases was 184 for the week prior to April 6. The country had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 2.1% of its 22.0 million people by April 6. Families in poverty throughout South Asia, including Sri Lanka, will continue to suffer drastic losses in health, nutrition and social well-being due to disruptions in services caused by the pandemic, according to a report released by the United Nations in March. That report predicted an increase in child and maternal deaths, malnutrition, child stunting, and adolescent deaths from non-COVID preventable diseases.

Child development center staff continue to check in on families through phone calls and occasional home visits when child protection issues arise. Most centers are conducting small group meetings for children and teens. Partners have distributed over 164,000 food packs and almost 79,000 hygiene kits and provided medical support to nearly 5,000 individuals.

Compassion's response to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

A Message From National Staff

How Is Compassion Currently Operating in Sri Lanka?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Sri Lanka, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Development Centers Open?

Centers in Sri Lanka have begun a phased reopening. The majority of centers are meeting in small groups though staff members continue to make home visits and phone calls to check in on families. Staff members also continue to monitor urgent needs and child protection issues. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute over 164,000 food packs and almost 79,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

A boy playing in a water bucket

child reading IconStory From the Field

As the pandemic grew increasingly worse in southeastern Sri Lanka, strictly enforced quarantines were put into place to slow the spread of the virus. More than 100 families were not allowed to leave their homes — not even to buy groceries. They were left without food or any way to buy supplies.

When the local child development center staff found out about the situation, they called to check on the families. The center director, Sasikumar, says they learned that almost all the families — including Kalaivani and her four children — had no food to eat.

“I have nothing to give my children, so I make porridge for all three meals since that’s all I can make. We cannot even go to the next house or the shop to buy anything,” Kalaivani said. But hope came because her younger son, Sabeshraj, is registered in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program, so they were eligible to receive humanitarian aid.

The local partner staff quickly moved into action. They wanted to find a way to deliver food packs to families in need, but the quarantine restrictions posed a challenge. Working together with the local authorities, they received the necessary permission from health officers to deliver rations to families in the locked-down areas.

Just a few days after the lockdowns were announced, the team was able to load a truck with food packs for 129 families! When the children heard them coming, they were thrilled. They wanted so much to talk to their teachers from their child development center, but they maintained social distancing.

“Through what you are doing for us, we can see God,” said Kalaivani, who received a pack containing rice, four, lentils, sugar, noodles, spices, onions, garlic, sprouts, coconut and salmon. The joy could be seen in every mother’s eyes, knowing that they would make it through the challenge.

How can I pray for Sri Lanka?

Please pray that God would provide preventive medical care to children and their families and end the hunger crisis brought on by the pandemic. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Sri Lanka
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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