Last Updated: 24/09/2020

Sri Lanka’s early lockdown and widespread testing have led to one of the most successful pandemic responses in South Asia, with remarkably low COVID-19 numbers. Even so, the government announced on Sept. 17 that airports will not be reopened until the epidemic has been brought under 100% control. Strict curfews have led to many more people staying at home, and there has been a reported increase in domestic violence against among women and children.

Compassion programming is on hold, but centers are working to fulfill government guidelines that will allow them to reopen. Some are projected to open in late September. Partners are committed to reaching out to families via phone at least once a week, and in some areas they have been able to conduct home visits and hold cooking classes while maintaining social distancing guidelines. They have distributed 107,451 food packs and 60,906 hygiene kits, and 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.

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 even if centers are closed and letters and gifts are not being delivered, your child and his or her family are being checked in on regularly by staff. We all look forward to the day we will all be able to gather together again!

Are Compassion 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!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

Letters are currently being delivered in Sri Lanka, although delivery to and from your child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing your child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

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?

Join us in praying for children in Sri Lanka as schools begin to reopen. Pray for the safety and health of teachers and students as they navigate the strict health guidelines designed to slow the spread of the virus.

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