Northern and Eastern Districts
Our project in Sri Lanka centres around children, recognising them as part of their families, their communities, and ultimately, their nation. Working in the areas of safeguarding children, empowering communities and responding to emergencies, all of this is done in a holistic way that works towards the best interests of children both at the grassroots level and at a national policy level.
Protecting children from abuse and neglect involves providing both legal and psychological support, as well as nutrition and education. Building strong communities that empower and enable children includes strengthening families, water, sanitation and hygiene work, youth empowerment, social enterprise, substance abuse mitigation and rehabilitation and developing household resilience. Engaging with crises and emergencies starts with disaster preparedness and risk-reduction, moving to disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation when needed, and then seeking to build resilient communities that can withstand and quickly recover from socio-natural disasters.
Our work in Sri Lanka
Right now, we are focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in
Sri Lanka, providing medical equipment to hospitals and treatment centres,
dry rations to vulnerable families and livelihood support to help families restore businesses and earn income.
Why Sri Lanka?
In the last two decades, Sri Lanka has experienced two major setbacks as a nation – the internal conflict between the government and the minority Tamil population, and the 2004 Tsunami which killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed the natural resources many people depend on for their livelihoods. Much development work is needed – access to safe water and sanitation is inadequate; malnutrition and stunting remain high; youth unemployment is high; alcoholism, domestic violence and child abuse are significant social problems. Immediate food security and income needs are a priority, and helping communities to work together to lay a foundation for sustainable recovery.
Some parts of Sri Lanka continue to be vulnerable to natural disasters, such as floods and drought, which creates increased economic vulnerability, and many of Sri Lanka’s poorest people go into debt in order to survive. The civil war displaced nearly 300,000 people, who have now returned and are trying to reestablish themselves. Though the conflict has ended, many of its root causes remain and there is a need to engage in reconciliation processes, alongside rebuilding and rehabilitation.
22% of Sri Lanka's population are experiencing food insecurity, with over 1.4 million people living in extreme poverty
15% of children under five are suffering chronic malnutrition
17% of children under five experience stunted growth
Three quarters of Sri Lanka’s population live in rural areas
The civil war displaced nearly 300,000 people
At least 1 million Sri Lankans are unemployed
Cybersex crimes against women and children have increased by 300% during the pandemic
In the first six months of 2021, the National Child Protection Authority in Sri Lanka received 4,000 complaints of child abuse cases and about 48,000 calls on child harassment
World Food Program, 2022 https://www.wfp.org/news/wfp-launches-emergency-response-sri-lanka-amid-escalating-food-crisis
UN, World Population Prospect, the 2000 revision
UNDP, Human Development Report 2001
WHO, World Health Report 2002
World Bank, World Development Indicators Data Base
ILO, Yearbook of Labour Statistics, 2000
Leads have been at work in Sri Lanka for over forty years, with a vision to see communities experience the love of God through their compassionate and active service. They seek to engage with those who are neglected, vulnerable and disadvantaged in community transformation, reconciliation and restoration, with children at the centre of this work.
Leads is a local non-government organisation registered in Sri Lanka as both a charity and a social service organisation.