Sri Lanka

Strengthening child protection systems and supporting youth to build an improved future.

Facts and figures

- Three projects
- 15,736 total participants
- 900,000 children affected by conflict

What is happening in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka’s bitter 26-year civil war finally came to an end in 2009 - but the effects of the conflict are still being felt. The war saw more than 70,000 people lose their lives. Another 800,000 people were forced to flee their homes. Discrimination against minority communities continues to this day.

Sri Lanka is moving towards political stability but problems still remain - particularly in the north and east of the country. A series of natural disasters have delayed reconstruction efforts. Vital infrastructure assets such as roads and schools remain in disrepair.

The legacy of the conflict has had a significant effect on children growing up in Sri Lanka. Structures to protect children and youth are still in need of repair - leaving them vulnerable to a variety of threats to their safety and wellbeing. Child marriage is one particular threat - and is increasing as families struggle to survive.

Increasing numbers of children are also forced to grow up without parents or caregivers. An estimated 15,000 children are currently in the national care system. Many of these children are abandoned by parents who travel overseas in search of paid work.


A girl in Sri Lanka participates in our programmes

Photo: Geert Snoeijer

“I have learned how to deal with my emotions. I get angry a lot but now I can cope with that better."
A girl from one of our programmes

What we do

War Child works to support children living with the ongoing effects of the country’s civil war. We provide vital psychosocial support to enable children to cope with their troubling experiences. Participants in our I-DEAL programme take part in structured recreational activities to develop their self-confidence and trust in others.

Our national programme is also designed to help strengthen existing child protection systems. We work to promote children’s participation in the decision-making processes that shape their lives. We do this in partnership with communities and local civil society organisations.