Sri Lanka

Schoolbags, shoes and stationery

Islamic Relief’s latest project in eastern Sri Lanka has enabled more than 1,300 children to remain in school, as disaster-affected families struggle to make ends meet.

Last year, families in Ampara district were hit by severe drought followed by flash floods which affected nearly 79,000 households. Over 60 per cent of paddy land in the area was deluged, livestock killed, homes damaged, and many people displaced.

Having lost so much, the poorest families struggled to meet their basic needs – and finding the money for school supplies for was beyond their means. Some children had to leave school and work to help meet household expenses. Others struggled to replace books, schoolbags and stationery destroyed by floodwaters, making it hard to keep up with their studies.

Coordinating with local authorities, Islamic Relief offered assistance to families in remote villages, where the average monthly income is worth no more than GB £32. By July, we had distributed 1,306 school kits – which included school bags, shoes and essential stationery.

We also worked with parents and guardians to raise awareness of the value of education, helping to reduce school drop-out rates in the area.It is hoped that the scheme will contribute to the early recovery of families affected by the disasters.

Islamic Relief began working in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, and has delivered much-needed relief, development, orphan sponsorship and education projects in Ampara since 2005. We plan to distribute a further 1,625 packs by the end of September.