World Of Difference








Sri Lanka

Where your monthly gift is helping to lift smallholder dairy farmers out of poverty.

āyubōvan | 

('Hello' in Sinhala, one of Sri Lanka's official languages)

You have arrived in Sri Lanka! Known as the teardrop of India, Sri Lanka is famous for its stunning natural beauty, significant history and delicious cuisine. It’s also one of the world’s leading tea producers and the home of the aromatic spice, cinnamon. But sadly, this island nation has a devastating past. A 25-year civil war which ended in 2009, killed at least 100,000 people.

Join us to see the world of difference your monthly gift is making right now for those affected most by this conflict.

World Of Difference

Where is Sri Lanka?

You can find Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, just off the southeastern coast of India. Despite being half the size of New Zealand's North Island, it has a population of about 20 million.

A journey to recovery. It began with a dream

When the civil war ended, the trauma and deep loss experienced by communities was palpable. Many people had lost their loved ones, their homes and their livestock. Widows were faced with the daunting task of trying to find ways to feed their families, as traditionally it is the man’s role to be the breadwinner.  

Selina Prem Kumar was working in development after the war and wanted to do something to help these women lift themselves out of poverty.

“They are poor, and they don’t have sufficient means to educate their children or to feed their family three times a day. I wanted to do something for them,” says Selina. 

Before the war, many families had one or two cows, but the cows were a way to get protein—never as a reliable source of income. Selina dreamt of being able to help these women build on their existing knowledge and turn dairy farming into a full-time job.

Now the CEO of Yugashakthi, Tearfund's current partner in Sri Lanka, Selina is making this dream a reality.

A transforming dairy enterprise

Since 2011, Tearfund and supporters like you have been standing alongside Selina to help bring her dream to life.

The project started with just eight farmers making an average of $20 a month. Now there are over 5,500 farmers registered in the project, making an average of $150 a month!

These smallholder dairy farmers are now able to pay for their medical fees, send their children to school and have hope for the future.

Because the project has been so successful, this year Tearfund’s partner, Yugashakthi, is producing cheese, curd, yoghurt and ice cream.

Watch this video to see the difference this project has made to women and communities in the north of Sri Lanka.

Find out more

Pathmanathan's Story

Through the generosity of Tearfund supporters, Pathmanathan’s life has been transformed by this dairy project.
In fact, her income has doubled!

“My husband was killed during the Sri Lankan civil war—it was so difficult. I no longer had money to run the family. 

My kids started to get sick, and I couldn’t look after them the way I wante. I started working as a cook so I could get them better and put them in school. I managed, but it was still difficult to provide for all their needs. 

Thankfully, Tearfund’s partner Yugashakthi was in our area asking people to join their dairy programme. I was given a cow and taught how to make a shed, feed and handle a cow, and where to sell the milk. 

Because of them, I now have four cows and my income has doubled. Before they came along, I had one cow, but it was only used as a secondary income for my family. Now dairying is my primary income.

Without Tearfund’s help, we would not be eating three meals a day or consider the next level of education for my children. This income means we can live.” 


Sri Lanka in numbers

Farmer Collective 5,500 farmers are now part of this programme

3,000L of Milk Collected from farmers each day, often more

492 Women Women attend a Self-Help Group where they can learn business skills

4,125 Children are supported in Children's Clubs across Sri Lanka

This is not just about dairy. Whole communities are benefiting

Yugashakthi invests some of its profits in community development like Children’s Clubs and Self-Help Groups. Children’s Clubs are an after-school programme where children participate in fun activities and have a safe place to play. In Self-Help Groups, members put their savings together to create funds from which they can borrow capital to start their own small businesses.

"Through the Self-Help group, Yugashakthi gave me the ability to harvest peanuts which I cultivate and sell to make a profit. I thank this organisation with all my heart." – Selvarani, a Self-Help Group member.

Yugashakthi’s initiatives are restoring hope across generations and driving Sri Lankans in the region towards a better future.

From Cow to Carton

Come and take a tour of the milk processing plant in action! Once all of the milk has been collected from the participating farmers in the cooperative, it is taken to our partner’s milk processing plant, before being turned into products for sale. Tearfund’s CEO Ian McInnes visited a couple of months ago in April to see how things were going.

Find out more

Thank you from Sri Lanka!

“This would not have been a reality without the support from the New Zealand Government, Tearfund New Zealand, World Concern and other individuals who believed in us. I thank them wholeheartedly.”

We hope you found your time in Sri Lanka insightful. Where will you be visiting next? Well, you'll just have to wait and see...