SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka).

Anuradhapura is the capital city of the North Central Province, with an approximate population of 51,000. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and its history are very well preserved. In more recent times, the city was affected by the civil war, which lasted until 2009. Slowly, but surely, the city is finding its balance again, amidst more recent economic crises and the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays, the main risks that children face are malnutrition and child trafficking.

Since 1994, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Anuradhapura.

Of children are too short for their age

Children do not get enough food

During the civil war between 1983 and 2009, food supplies were scarce or simply non-existent. Although the situation has improved, parents in Anuradhapura struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children. In Anuradhapura district, 19% of children suffer from stunting (low height in relation to age), which is a result of malnutrition. In turn, 20% of children suffer from wasting (low weight in relation to height), which occurs when a child has not eaten in sufficient quality and quantity..

Children are involved in child labour

Children are victims of trafficking

Child trafficking, forced labour and exploitation, has been an issue in Sri Lanka for decades. No exact data can be given, as these crimes often happen behind closed doors and thus the magnitude of the horror cannot be measured. However, it is known that 39,000 children in Sri Lanka are involved in hazardous forms of child labour. Children coming from families living in extreme poverty, are more likely to be exposed to traffickers. The government of Sri Lanka has made noteworthy progress in eradicating the problem, but it is not enough.

Your support makes a difference for children in Anuradhapura

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children having fun together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka).

How your support helps in Anuradhapura

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.