Laying important foundations for the future in Sri Lanka

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, your support for people affected by leprosy in Sri Lanka is vital to their wellbeing - and it's laying important foundations for the future.

Sri Lanka has been in lockdown since 20 March. This month, it was announced that some of the measures taken against COVID-19 would be relaxed, with some people in areas considered ‘low risk’ being able to return to work but in many cases still restricted to their local area.

But almost two months of lockdown has had a huge impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people in Sri Lanka. Many of them earn a living through daily labour in the fields with no financial security. They have been unable to earn anything during this time and the result of this has been devastating.

For some time now, part of our work includes encouraging people in leprosy-affected communities to grow what they can at home to ensure a good supply of food. And thankfully, that’s where your support is making a difference right now.

Rev Joshua heads up Kaveri Kala Manram (KKM), one of The Leprosy Mission’s partners in Sri Lanka. His work includes teaching communities affected by leprosy about good nutrition and growing their own produce. This means they can maintain a healthy diet with their own sustainable sources of food.

Rev Joshua heads up KKM, one of The Leprosy Mission's partners in Sri Lanka

Now, in response to the difficult situation vulnerable people are in as a result of lockdown, Rev Joshua and his team are working to help supply 500 families with weekly parcels of nutritious food and the skills to grow sustainable crops that will keep them well fed.

“Encouraging families to grow vegetables for emergency food relief will help them to continue doing so when they face similar crises in the future,” he said.

Rev Joshua added that the way families are working together on their gardens will have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. It will also be an important learning opportunity for children at a time when they are so isolated.

Yogarani is one person you’re helping to support at this time. Widowed during the civil war and bringing up her son alone, she said felt ‘depressed and lost’. Your gifts have supported her with a new well, plants and livestock that has given her a livelihood.

“This gave me the courage and self-esteem to go forward and to be a role model for all my sisters in the community,” she said. “KKM even linked me with agriculture companies to help sell my produce”.

Yogarani is thankful that her community has learned a lot about health and good nutrition together.

“Now I am selling my crops in the neighbourhood for an affordable price, practising good hygiene to protect us,” she said. “Let’s promote and continue our farming to help deal with this unexpected challenge.”

Watch the video to see your support in action: