Sri Lanka

 

In a country still recovering from civil war and a major tsunami, Room to Read Sri Lanka works closely with the government to implement our Literacy and Girls' Education Programs. Our work is highly sustainable, with local communities continuing the programs once we transition to others in need.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

High Hurdles

Sri Lanka’s tumultuous history of colonization, violent war, devastating poverty and natural disasters has impoverished its ability to educate its children. The 2004 tsunami devastated the country’s infrastructure and its long civil war, which lasted until 2009, killed over 60,000 Sri Lankans.

Our Work in Sri Lanka

Room to Read expanded into Sri Lanka following the tsunami and immediately rebuilt schools in tsunami-affected areas and created long-term infrastructure improvements. Soon after, we started our Girls’ Education Program there to close the gender gap in various districts. In 2009, when the brutal civil war came to an end, we quickly took action and implemented our programs in the districts which had been devastated by the conflict. Room to Read currently has programs in Anuradhapura, Monaragala, Badulla, Vavuniya, Nuwara, Eliya, Matale, Colombo, Mannar, Puttalam and Trincomalee and has had significant success in improving the quality and accessibility of education for hundreds of thousands of children.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Education Inequality

Sri Lanka offers free primary and secondary schooling, and adult literacy rates are among the highest in Asia. But a lack of quality plagues their system. Longstanding disparities in education exist between the more prosperous regions and the impoverished regions. Roughly 65,000 children in the north and east of the island are out of school.

Massive Resource and Teacher Shortages

Inconsistent quality in education has resulted in low achievement in basic competencies. According to UNICEF, the percentage of non-trained and professionally unqualified teachers is nearly 19 percent of the total government teacher population. The insufficient number of qualified primary education teachers compounds this issue of quality. Additionally, it is hard for schools in former conflict affected and rural areas to attract qualified teachers on a long term basis. Additionally, many schools either have no library or an inadequate library filled with old books that are not child-friendly. With 23 percent of the population in poverty, purchasing quality reading materials is typically not an option.

Even with Progress, Discrimination Lingers

In many parts of the country, boys and girls are enrolled in school in equal numbers. Although Sri Lankans are adopting more progressive attitudes toward gender equity in education, girls still face discrimination and barriers to education in several regions. This is particularly true in the Tamil tea plantation area and the central highlands area. In these places, girls often work long hours for low wages, which prevents them from attending school, producing a literacy gender gap.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Ministry of Education Collaboration Brings Results

Since we began operations in Sri Lanka, we have worked closely with the government to improve literacy education in primary schools. As a result, we were invited in 2011 to participate in a steering committee led by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education. The committee prepared a policy and guidelines on the types of reading materials distributed to schools, enabling Room to Read to influence literacy education nationwide. This was the first time that an international nonprofit had been invited to sit on a Ministry of Education steering committee related to policy formation, and we were honored to be able to use our program expertise to benefit students across the country.

Room to Read Expands into New, Underserved District

Room to Read is supporting Literacy and Girls’ Education in one of the most impoverished areas of Sri Lanka: the Uva Province’s Badulla District. Here, it is significant that we are training teachers in reading and writing instruction in both Tamil and Sinhala. This training will transform the school systems and allow Room to Read to position itself as a hugely impactful educational force in this underserved area. We are also expanding our Girls’ Education Program into Badulla, after previously having operated solely in Monaragala. Our expansion in Uva, which has been severely impacted by drought and natural disasters in the past few years, gives us the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for many children whose families work on the Uva tea plantations.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Join Our Team

Room to Read Sri Lanka
No: 38, Dr. E.A. Cooray Mawatha
Colombo 6 Colombo 0094, Sri Lanka 

Phone: +94-11-236 2832

More local information coming soon!

Join the Conversation: Sri Lanka

Paying It Forward

Take a look at the impact being made in Sri Lanka.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.
Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

50 wpm

Sinhala-language 2nd grade students read more than 50 words per minute—among the highest fluency scores achieved to date in our Literacy Program.

50 wpm

Sinhala-language 2nd grade students read more than 50 words per minute—among the highest fluency scores achieved to date in our Literacy Program.

4,500

Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program has supported more than 4,500 girls in Sri Lanka since 2006.

4,500

Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program has supported more than 4,500 girls in Sri Lanka since 2006.

The Latest from Sri Lanka

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

The Results Are In: Libraries Matter.


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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

Room to Read’S School Libraries Improve Reading Habits


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Why Data Matters for These Children Learning to Read


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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

What could the world be like if everyone had a dad like this?


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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

Room to Read’s results in Sri Lanka


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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Sri Lanka. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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