Although Sri Lanka provides universal free primary and secondary schooling, there is concern over an increasing number of children dropping out in conflict-affected Eastern provinces.
Although the long standing civil war ended in 2009; its effects along with numerous natural disasters are still felt throughout the region, contributing to continued high levels of poverty.
With recurring disasters in recent years, where families have lost livelihoods and shelter, many families are unable to provide children with basic school equipment and supplies. A recent UNICEF report highlighted that the lack of school supplies in one of the main contributing factors of children dropping out of school.
Additionally, another cause of school dropout is the excessive distance to walk to school for many children. A 2014 study reported that the average distance from home to school is 3.6km, which in many cases is too far to walk for many children.
Support for children
Islamic Relief Sri Lanka supports children in these regions to continue with their schooling through the provision of essential school supplies such as bags and stationary. Additionally, for students that live excessive distances, bicycles are provided to enable them to attend school daily and gain a valuable education.