SL 04 - CARE IN TIMES OF CRISIS: NOURISHING BODY AND MIND
Last year’s economic crisis hit all Sri Lankans and food prices skyrocketed: for children, this meant malnutrition. The country’s reserves were so low that it was impossible to purchase basic necessities.Thousands of people have been forced to queue just to buy something to eat: a catastrophe for families already living in poverty. To respond to this crisis is not easy. It is trying to find long-term sustainable solutions and help children and families who need it the most. But it will take time before we come to solutions that will restore the society from this economic crisis. The world has not yet fully emerged from the pandemic and now Sri Lanka faces what many experts believe is an even more worrying challenge: the lack of food. One thing is clear: this crisis will not pass soon. Shortages will continue and prices will not fall soon, but children need help to survive.
Food insecurity affects 36% of families in Sri Lanka. This is the data released by the United Nations World Food Programme. The economic crisis and previous government choices, including the transition to organic farming under the Rajapaksa administration, are responsible. There are fears that the situation will worsen without assistance to farmers. According to a report published by the World Food Programme, the economic crisis in Sri Lanka has exacerbated the risk of food insecurity: 36% of households are already in food danger, while 64% have resorted to survival strategies.Although food insecurity levels have relatively stabilized in the last three months, these remain high, with over 5 families out of 10 who commit gold jewelry or borrow money to buy food. Families experience insufficient food consumption, eating cheaper and less nutritious food. The current economic crisis continues to disproportionately affect certain segments of society. This occurs at a time when financial constraints have forced the government to downsize nutrition support programs, including the distribution of school meals and enriched foods for undernourished mothers and children.About Three million people in Sri Lanka are in acute food insecurity and their condition is expected to worsen if adequate humanitarian assistance is not provided. Without assistance, food security is expected to deteriorate further, particularly in the coming months, due to poor rice harvests.
Through the parish network of St. Patrick’s Church, Talawakelle, a response plan has been implemented for some months through the distribution of food parcels to families in greater economic difficulties. In the adjacent kindergarten, since last October, a weekly nutritional program has begun that compensates for the dietary deficit of children.
In addition to these immediate solutions already in place for a few months and that we intend to carry out, with the collaboration of some parents, is also planning a food plan that will meet the nutritional needs of the children of St. Patrick’s College, Talawakelle.School attendance continues to be guaranteed by paying school fees to students whose families are experiencing serious financial difficulties. Provision is also made for the support of children as regards teaching materials and school uniforms, the cost of which has increased considerably and is placing an enormous burden on the already difficult family situation.
- To ensure healthy eating for children and students at St Patrick College
- To cope with the emergency by helping the poorest families
- To provide education for children by paying for their school fees and providing them with uniforms and teaching materials
Direct Beneficiaries: St Patrick College’s more than 950 students, school children families and the most vulnerable families
Indirect: families and the community
Referent sister of the project: sr Agnese Elli