COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Sri Lanka

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

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

Sri Lankan authorities closed key government offices and expanded a curfew on Oct. 8 in an attempt to control a surging outbreak of COVID-19. Two days earlier, the government had banned all public gatherings in response to a cluster of infections at a garment factory near the capital city, Colombo. The company stated that the majority of the more than 1,000 workers who tested positive had no symptoms. The area and surrounding communities have been placed on lockdown until further notice.

Partners have stopped activities for children due to the second wave of outbreaks in Sri Lanka. Centers are not open for group activities. Some staff members are visiting children at home and supporting them in their educational and health needs. Partners have distributed 107,451 food packs and 60,906 hygiene kits, and they are delivering seed packets and disease-prevention information as they are able under the government guidelines. Children continue to write letters to their sponsors from home.

Compassion's response to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

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. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Development Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Sri Lanka are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are still calling and checking in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 107,451 food packs and 60,906 hygiene kits to children and their families!

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child reading IconStory From the Field

In impoverished communities in southern Sri Lanka, the main sources of jobs are domestic service, day labor and fishing. Due to the quarantine restrictions, the majority of people are out of work and have struggled to provide for their families. Nayomi, manager of a local partner child development center, says, "During our home visits and when we spoke to families on the phone, the most common issue everyone had was a loss of income and not being able to get food."

Nayomi and her staff had already implemented a home garden initiative, but they knew they would need to expand it to get as many families involved as possible. She recruited local experts for advice, and then she and other staff delivered food packets and seeds and taught families how to grow vegetables.

“We want everyone involved in this,” says Nayomi. “It is a good investment for them to save money and have nutritious food.”

Families that did not have their own land were given sacks to grow vegetables inside. Children and youth in the program were encouraged to help take care of their home gardens.

“Since my school is closed now and I have to study at home, I enjoy being able to spend time outside planting and watering my garden,” says 12-year-old Nadini, who normally would attend the center.

Ninety percent of the families began home gardens, and some grew enough to sell their vegetables at the local market. As restrictions begin to ease and parents start going back to work, partners continue to encourage families to maintain their thriving gardens as a source of extra food and income.

How can I pray for Sri Lanka?

Pray for God’s provision as parents look for work to provide for their families. 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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