• “The voice of children should be heard"
    Marina Doris, Country Representative, about our work in Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka

The longest running war in South Asia has come to an end. A war that affected all children in Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka is undergoing a process of recovery and transition following the bitter 26-year civil war between government forces and armed insurgents that came to an end in May 2009. Significant steps towards constitutional reform, federal systems and transitional justice were taken by the new government elected in 2015. A new constitution is being drafted to help promote national reconciliation efforts and is scheduled to be submitted to the Parliament and then put to a referendum.

Sri Lanka is reaping the benefits of this increasing stability at a national level but problems still remain at a local level. Vital infrastructure assets such as schools and roads are still damaged in the east and north of the country. Natural disasters - most recently the extensive floods of 2016 - have caused further delays to the process of physical reconstruction of the country.

The legacy of the conflict continues to have a significant effect on children growing up in Sri Lanka. Child protection structures are underdeveloped and many children are engaged in child labour or serve as heads of households. Gender-based violence and child marriage are two additional issues of significance.

What we do

War Child Holland works inside Sri Lanka to provide education and psychosocial support for children living with the ongoing effects of the country’s civil war. We work in collaboration with both state agencies - such as the National Child Protection Authority, Department of Probation and Child Care Services, and the National Institute for Social Development - as well as local organisations.

Our projects are designed to strengthen existing child protection systems, particularly in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country, and promote children’s participation in decision-making processes. We also work with local government and community-based authorities to develop and strengthen community systems that serve to support children. These partnerships help to protect children and young people from abuse, violence and sexual exploitation.