The needs in Nawagattegama

Poor education
Despite a national literacy rate of nearly 91%, rural areas like Nawagattegama lack school facilities and resources. The district is considered one of the most marginalized in the country. Qualified teachers try to avoid coming to rural areas like this, so those who do teach are often not well trained.

Existing preschools are not able to meet children's needs, and basic teaching and learning materials are needed in almost every school. Getting to school can be difficult for students as well.

Opportunities for secondary education are severely limited. Few parents were able to complete formal education themselves, and it is often difficult for them to appreciate the value of schooling for their own children. This is especially true when financial constraints demand that more family members contribute to household income.

Health Care
Government health care services available are insufficient to meet the needs of community members in Nawagattegama. There is only one rural hospital in the area, and it lacks necessary equipment. This means that many people must travel long distances to receive medical attention.

Maternal and child health clinics are few and far between and poor nutrition is common, due to harvests that have been affected by drought.

Water and Sanitation
People's health in Nawagattegama has been further undermined by unsafe drinking water, which leaves children in particular prone to waterborne diseases. The community also lacks proper sanitation and hygiene practices and facilities, which increases the risk of contracting preventable illnesses.

Economic Development About 96% of community members work as subsistence farmers, but they face many obstacles that prevent them from enjoying good harvests. Few have the entrepreneurial skills training they need to effectively market their products, while poorly maintained roads and transportation services make it difficult for them to get their produce to market in the first place.

Alternative income-generating opportunities are virtually non-existent in Nawagattegama, which limits families abilities to provide for their needs. Families often do not have enough to eat, let alone a surplus of agricultural product to sell for income.
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Nawagattegama's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The Nawagattegama community is located about 130 km from Colombo, the capital city, in Sri Lanka's “dry zone. The area is characterized by frequent drought. Average annual temperatures range from 28℃ to 34℃. These dry conditions make life very difficult for community members, nearly all of whom live off the land and grow crops that rely on rainfall. Some farmers have access to irrigation for their crops but many do not.

Heavy resettlements in this area about two decades ago boosted the population significantly, and there is not enough water to meet basic family and farming needs, even for those with access to irrigation. Almost 90% of families lack a safe water supply and only 27% have latrines. This means that children's health is at risk from waterborne and hygiene-related diseases, such as diarrhea.
  • 95 young people are leading or attending child parliaments to advocate for their rights and influence local decisions
  • 19 child parliaments are empowering young people to advocate for their rights and participate in community decisions
  • 19 community groups are engaging with local authorities to advance their rights and create positive changes for children
  • 10 children with disabilities were supported with medical care, accessibility upgrades and equipment
  • 2,216 children received the resources they need to learn including school fees, supplies, books and uniforms
  • 461 preschool children are developing vital language and motor skills, setting a solid foundation for their education
  • 350 children and youth are improving their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities like clubs and camps
  • 11 clubs are in place for children and youth to improve their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities               
  • 152 children and youth were trained in essential life skills such as critical thinking, self-esteem and communication
  • 140 teachers and volunteers learned child-friendly teaching methods to improve the quality of education for children
  • 19 community groups are teaching children and families to prevent disasters and protect themselves in times of crisis
  • 458 parents and caregivers learned how to provide proper nutrition to their children and protect them from diseases
  • 16 malnourished children were enrolled in nutritional programs and monitored to ensure they are growing healthy
  • 73 health workers and volunteers were trained to provide quality health services, especially for women and children
  • 85 people received vocational, business and finance training, improving their opportunities to earn a steady income
  • 195 farmers learned techniques to improve crop and livestock production to better provide for their children and families
  • 47 children and adults are members of savings groups, helping families meet their financial needs and access small loans
  • 5 savings groups are helping children and adults save money and access loans to grow businesses or cover basic expenses
  • 34 people were trained on practices to preserve and manage the environment and its resources
  • 870 individuals including children have safe water for drinking and cooking thanks to new or repaired water sources
  • 12 water sources are providing access to safe water and protecting children and families against waterborne diseases
  • 150 people including children are benefitting from latrines and have better access to sanitation
  • 30 latrines in homes, schools or the community are providing improved access to sanitation for children and families
  • 170 children and adults learned about the importance of water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene to stay healthy

Explore Nawagattegama

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Nawagattegama,  is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.