The end of more than 25 years of civil war in 2009 created an atmosphere of cooperation, and a historic opportunity to address communities’ needs in the spirit of national reconciliation. Despite these changes, many people displaced by the conflict have not yet been able to return home. These families need help to re-establish their lives, sometimes in new communities. More than 100,000 Sri Lankans are still living as refugees in India’s Tamil Nadu state. Their status and return is an ongoing issue.
The Canadian Red Cross in Sri Lanka
The Canadian Red Cross works with the Sri Lanka Red Cross and other partners from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to support displaced families as they return to their communities. Returnees require intensive support in areas such as livelihoods, shelter, access to healthcare, and in obtaining essential supplies to rebuild their lives.
Since the devastating 2004 tsunami, the Canadian Red Cross has funded more than $63 million in programming to provide immediate emergency relief, and help communities recover, rebuild and prepare for future disasters. A partnership with the Canadian Cooperative Association has supported housing reconstruction projects for communities affected by the tsunami.
Working with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education, the Canadian Red Cross has also supported violence and abuse prevention programs in schools. The programs for primary and secondary schools aim to reduce sexual and physical abuse, and family violence by involving parents, teachers, students and school administrators in creating environments where children and youth are safe from violence. To date, these programs have educated more than 100,000 children, 212,000 adults and nearly 5,000 primary school teachers across Sri Lanka. Red Cross-trained teachers are now present in almost 20 per cent of Sri Lanka’s government-managed schools.
The Canadian Red Cross is building on its past work, and beginning in 2013-14 is supporting first aid training programs across the country.
Volunteers gather around toilets they constructed on temple grounds