As of 2022, 2.5 million people in Sri Lanka are living in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank. Compounding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka is currently enduring a severe economic crisis that has worsened living conditions across the nation. Amid deteriorating social and economic conditions, countless charities operating in Sri Lanka are looking to improve the lives of the most vulnerable groups living in extreme poverty. In particular, there are four charities operating in Sri Lanka with the aim of helping the impoverished.
4 Charities Operating in Sri Lanka
- The Tarana Foundation. This charity operating in Sri Lanka was founded in 2018 with the aim of strengthening the “socio-economic norms of rural communities in Sri Lanka,” its website says. The Tarana Foundation’s work centers around five specific U.N. Sustainable Development Goals: water and sanitation, shelter, education, health care and environment. The organization has completed more than 60 projects with an impact on more than 12,000 children through more than 20 collaborations and partnerships. For example, School Project Bandarawela, occurring in March 2023, entailed the organization providing 1,447 students across 24 disadvantaged schools with school bags, stationery, shoe vouchers and sports equipment.
- Save the Children. This children’s organization has worked in Sri Lanka since 1974, holding children as the focus of humanitarian efforts. Save the Children works to improve the state of children’s education, health, rights and livelihood of children in poverty in Sri Lanka through several programs and initiatives. For instance, in terms of the overall health and nutrition of impoverished children in Sri Lanka, Save the Children is working with the Ministry of Health to improve the school feeding program in more than 1,000 schools across the country. The organization is also working to strengthen access to maternal, child care and nutrition services in Sri Lanka, especially for the most marginalized communities, such as people working in the plantation sector.
- The Tea Leaf Trust. Couple Yasmene Shah and Tim Pare founded the Tea Leaf Trust after visiting the Sri Lankan tea estates in 2007 and realizing the poor living conditions of tea estate communities. The tea industry is responsible for a large part of Sri Lanka’s exports and produces 340 million kilograms of tea per year, with 4% of the land covered by tea plantations, according to Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board. The industry employs 1 million people overall. Despite the fact that the tea industry is a thriving sector, tea plantation communities often live in poverty and endure exploitation in unsafe working conditions. The Tea Leaf Trust works to ensure the education of young people in tea estate communities so that they can move on to secure gainful employment and financial stability to lift their families out of poverty. The Tea Leaf Trust has ensured an education for nearly 40,000 young people and around 350,000 tea estate workers are supported by the organization’s alumni.
- The Asha Trust. This local charity operating in Sri Lanka works on the outskirts of Colombo, supporting children from impoverished households. At the charities’ venue, both educational and recreational classes are provided for the children and mothers can take part in sewing and cooking activities. The Asha Trust also accommodates children with disabilities and assists families with accessing disability-specific support. In July 2022, the organization launched the Family Food Challenge, calling for donations to continue providing food essentials to families in Sri Lanka amid inflation. Using these donations, the Asha Trust provided 800 food packs made up of rice, lentils, coconuts, soy meat, sugar and tea to families in need.
These charities operating in Sri Lanka provide support to the country’s most impoverished people amid the deteriorating conditions of the economic crisis.
– Jess Wilkinson