Last Updated: 03/23/2021 

Active cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka numbered 3,367 on March 3. By that date, the country had reported 83,870 cases, from which 80,820 people recovered and 483 died. The government announced on March 1 that more than half a million people have been vaccinated under its immunisation program. Sri Lanka expects to vaccinate the entire population by May, National and local governments have enacted preventive measures such as curfews, mandatory face coverings and social distancing. 

Child development center staff continue to check in on families through phone calls and occasional home visits when child protection issues arise. A few centers have been able to conduct small group meetings for children and teens. Partners have distributed over 164,000 food packs and 66,000 hygiene kits and provided medical support to more than 2,600 individuals. 

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 Compassion Centers Open?

Centers in Sri Lanka have begun a phased reopening. While the majority of centers are still operating at distance only, a few are now able to carry out activities with small groups of children and youths. Staff members continue to call and check in on families, and they 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 66,900 hygiene kits to children and their families

Are Children Receiving Letters?

At this point,we are not able to safely deliver letters to children registered at Compassion centers in Sri Lanka. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Sri Lanka, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

In the mountainous region of Nuwara Eliya, water is a precious commodity. A water tank supplies the crowded community with water, but the flow is unpredictable. In the dry season it flows to a trickle, and the homes situated furthest from the tank often have no water access.

Eight-year-old Kabishtan lives in one of those unlucky homes. For several months each year his mother has to haul water from a tap closer to the water supply. For little boys like Kabishtan, it can be tempting to skip washing his hands or bathing.

But in the time of pandemic, decisions like that can lead to sickness or even death. Kabishtan says he knows better now, because of his tutors at the local development center. Each week they visit Kabishtan and the other children in his community, delivering ration packs and hygiene kits, including soap.

“All the families were so grateful for the packs they received,” says Vagiroshini, center director. On average, Kabishtan says, he now washes his hands 10 times a day.

“The project taught us many important hygiene practices and provided us with supplies to put these practices into action. We are very grateful for the help we received,” says Kabishtan’s mother. Since the restrictions have relaxed in their community, both the boy’s parents have started to work again, all the while maintaining their hand-washing routines.

How can I pray for Sri Lanka?

Pray for the protection and health of Compassion staff and partners, especially those who live in or have traveled to high-risk areas.

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