In May 2009, the Sri Lankan civil war, which had spanned two decades, came to an end. In the final days, hundreds of thousands of children and families fled the violence, leaving behind their homes, their belongings and life as they knew it.
Thanks to the generosity of ChildFund’s supporters, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide children in the refugee camps with protection, emergency relief and hope for the future.
ChildFund established five Child Relief Centres within the camps; providing a safe haven for over 300 traumatised children each day. Here, children received clean drinking water and nutritious food such as eggs, apples, biscuits and Samaposha, which contains high levels of vitamins, protein and fibre.
The drinking water and waste facilities within the camps were ill equipped to cope with the rapid arrival of so many people in such a short space of time. ChildFund distributed 450 hygiene kits and 4,000 pairs of footwear. Safe water collection points were installed, drastically reducing water-borne disease. ChildFund also helped eradicate dengue fever by undertaking awareness programs and clean-up campaigns.
Young people were able to continue their studies with ChildFund’s support. We provided educational materials and lighting facilities which allowed students to study at night and established and stocked two reading centres. As a result, many young people were able to sit an exam for school scholarship while they were in the camps.
Donations from ChildFund supporters also helped survivors return to their communities and begin the slow process of rebuilding their shattered lives.
Families began to leave the camps in November 2009. Houses, roads, schools, market buildings, hospitals and all infrastructures had been destroyed or badly damaged due to heavy bombings, and mines were scattered everywhere.
ChildFund reopened several schools and provided 700 bicycles and 2,000 pairs of shoes to allow children to access education. ChildFund also helped rebuild Early Childhood Care and Development Centres and provide supplies such as basic furniture, fencing, clean safe water, seesaws, merry-go-rounds and swing sets.