Sri Lanka

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka).

Sri Lanka is an island off the coast of India, with a rich and diverse history that goes back 3000 years. Nowadays, tourism and the tea industry are the main sources of income for the island, which has a population of 21.5 million. Sri Lanka is populated by two major ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, with their own language and religion. These differences were at the root of the civil war, which started in 1983 and lasted until 2009. After the war, the country was rebuilding, but the recent political and economic crises and the COVID-19 pandemic worsened living standards for many families.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Sri Lanka since 1981.

Children are at risk

Sri Lanka has been working on different growth initiatives to improve the lives of children. One example is their health care system, which is free for all Sri Lankans. Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s efforts in reducing poverty on the island has been rather successful, which also positively affect the children. However, poverty still remains, partly a consequence of the steady and alarming effects of climate change, resulting in an increase in droughts and flooding on the island. This rate of poverty is one of the causes of chronic malnutrition among children across Sri Lanka
Of children suffer from malnutrition


The Sri Lankese government has worked towards improving child nutrition, for example by offering free school meals to children. This sometimes is the only proper meal a child will get in a day. However, malnutrition is still a recurring issue on the island. The numbers speak for themselves: 17% of children between 6 and 59 months suffer from chronic malnutrition. In addition, 17% of children suffer from stunting (low height for age), and 15% suffer from wasting (low weight for height).

Annual average temperature increase in Sri Lanka

Climate change

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s ten most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change, with children suffering the most from its impact. These weather extremes (like droughts and floods) affect hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, leaving them food insecure and without any access to clean drinking water. The government has made an effort to listen to children’s voices when it concerns these disasters, and has decided that the needs of children should be prioritized.

Of children live in poverty


Many Sri Lankese families have escaped from extreme poverty, poverty which was caused by years of civil unrest, and by the effects of climate change. However, numerous Sri Lankans still live just above the poverty line. To be precise, one out of every six people in Sri Lanka is “multidimensional” poor. In fact, 42% of children below the age of 4 live in poverty. Those numbers are calculated by measuring four different dimensions: education, health, standard of living and, for children, child development.

Together we can make a difference for children in Sri Lanka

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
To help her through a crisis, Nisansala, a mother of 3, is supported by SOS Children’s Villages. “SOS Family Strengthening is a constant support for us. They help me out with my business and give us dry ration packs. We are able to provide the children with the food they need, especially milk powder” (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and train parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting. .
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives