Sri Lanka

The tropical island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, separated from India by 25 miles. Low-lying flatlands fill most of the island, with mountains in the south central region. There are two monsoon seasons — June to October and December to March.

  • Population: 21,098,100
  • Life Expectancy: 74 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 93%
  • School Enrollment: 93%
  • Land Mass: 25,332 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 91%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 10/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 2,920

Facts about Sri Lanka

Food & Agriculture

According to the World Food Program, Sri Lanka is one of “hunger’s global hotspots” where half of the population consumes less than the recommended daily calorie intake and malnutrition affects 29 percent of children.

Disaster Response

Floods and changes in rainfall and temperature patterns and droughts have severely affected recent rice harvests.

Child Protection

Exploitation and abuse of children has been recognized as a rising problem in Sri Lanka.

Child Protection

Sri Lanka has the one of the world’s highest rates of suicide (40 per 100,000).

Sri Lanka flag


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Progress in Sri Lanka

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • We started children's clubs and trained members on child rights, leadership, and advocacy. Club members worked in their communities to raise awareness of child rights with parents, teachers, and local leaders.

  • We encouraged local faith leaders to be involved in community development activities such as leading MenCare groups and providing nutrition education. MenCare is a global campaign coordinated by our partners to promote men's equal partnership as caregivers in the lives of their children.

  • Community members were trained in how to start small businesses in order to improve their household income and provide necessary funds for their children's health and education.

  • World Vision formed new community savings groups to provide interest-earning savings accounts and small, affordable loans for people who don’t have access to traditional banking services, empowering them to plan for the future, start businesses, and meet their children’s basic needs.

  • Together with our micro-lending partner, VisionFund, we increased access to low interest small business loans for all community members.

  • We collaborated with education agencies to provide trainings for preschool, primary, and secondary teachers on child development, classroom management, and child-centered methods for teaching reading, writing, math, and science.

  • To improve the nutrition status of malnourished children, we provided food and vitamin supplements and trained caregivers on nutrition education, growth monitoring, and cultivating nutritious fruits and vegetables in household gardens.

  • Demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions and lives, we worked among the children and families of the community to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

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    World Vision in Sri Lanka Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Sri Lanka to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 21,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Sri Lanka. Highlights include:

    • Partnering with large corporations to maximize impact of the work done in vulnerable communities.
    • Reducing poverty and increasing access to healthcare, clean water, education, and more in local communities.
    • Responding and providing assistance to disaster-affected communities to build back people’s lives and livelihoods.

    World Vision History in Sri Lanka

    A national office was established in 1977 in Colombo, the nation’s capital, to serve Sri Lankans through disaster relief and development programs. Since then, World Vision has invested over $350 million in programs benefiting the most vulnerable. Some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Opening a rehabilitation center during the 1970s to provide care for vulnerable youth in Colombo.
    • Providing food, clothing, shelter, fruit tree seedlings, and animals for victims of a 1979 cyclone.
    • Promoting self-employment activities, agriculture, and small businesses during the 1980s.
    • Implementing projects like flood relief, agricultural development, and economic development during the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century.
    • Offering microloans and basic business training to victims of the 2004 tsunami to help them rebuild their lives.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    The tropical island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, separated from India by 25 miles. Low-lying flatlands fill most of the island, with mountains in the south central region. There are two monsoon seasons — June to October and December to March.

    Sri Lanka’s population density of 799 people per square mile is one of the highest in Asia. Most people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture to make a living.

    The Sinhalese people make up 74 percent of the population, while the Tamils form the largest minority group at 18 percent. Other groups include the Vedda, the Moors, the Burghers, and the Malays.

    Sinhala and Tamil are the two official languages of Sri Lanka. About 10 percent of Sri Lankans speak English, mostly for educational and commercial purposes.


    Known as Ceylon prior to 1972, Sri Lanka became an English Crown colony in 1802. Nationalist leaders finally obtained independence nearly 150 years later. The country’s first prime minister made Sinhala the official national language and Buddhism the state-supported religion.

    The Tamil minority’s growing resentment toward the Sinhalese’s power monopoly erupted into civil war in 1983. By early 2000, 17 years of civil war claimed the lives of over 64,000 people — mostly civilians. The government and Tamil rebels agreed to a cease-fire in February 2002, but sporadic fighting continued.

    A tsunami in December 2004 killed about 38,000 people in Sri Lanka. Escalating violence threatened a deal between the government and rebels to share an international aid package for the country’s rebuilding.

    In January 2008, the Sri Lankan government called off the cease-fire agreement, and fighting intensified in the north and east. The death toll from the war stood at an estimated 70,000 people in 2009, with more than 500,000 still displaced, mostly Tamils. In May 2009, the government declared victory after the death of the rebel leader.

    Prayer Requests for Sri Lanka

    • Please pray for youth to find employment after they attend our vocational education classes.
    • Pray for farmers trying hard to find safe water to irrigate their crops and feed their communities.