In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Humanity & Inclusion set up rehabilitation centres to treat survivors. These centres also benefit victims of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1983 to 2009.
Artificial limb fitting, Sri Lanka - Humanity & Inclusion | © HI
Actions in process
Humanity & Inclusion's teams took rapid and effective action immediately after the 2004 tsunami hit Sri Lanka. The organisation, which has been working in the country since 1992, provides support to vulnerable people (people with disabilities, older people, and so on) who are disadvantaged and particularly exposed to the risk of natural disasters, through inclusive employment and community social inclusion projects.
Humanity & Inclusion also trains civil society organisations to provide the most vulnerable people (people with disabilities, older people etc.) with job opportunities.
Furthermore, as part of the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, the organisation promotes the participation in society of women, particularly women with disabilities, including by organising training on women’s rights, equality and reconciliation, to help them build peace in their communities and feel more integrated.
Humanity & Inclusion also provides rehabilitation care to children born with clubfoot using the Ponseti method. In addition, the organisation raises community awareness of this issue and enhances the early detection of disability.
Humanity & Inclusion is also conducting the project “INSPIRE”, supported by UEFA Foundation for Children, which organises fun and sporting activities for children and young people – particularly children with disabilities, from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, religions, etc. - in order to advance reconciliation in Sri Lanka and include the most vulnerable people in society.
Situation of the country
Sri Lanka was already ravaged by armed conflict when the tsunami hit its coast in 2004. The disaster caused the loss of more than 40,000 lives and led to the displacement of over 500,000 people, in addition to the 390,000 persons already displaced by the conflict. The combination of these two crises increased the vulnerability of people with disabilities in the country.
The war which consumed the north of the country lasted for nearly 30 years (1983 - 2009) and caused more than 60,000 deaths. Thousands of people were injured, of whom many were left with disabilities and many sustained their injuries from shells or anti-personnel landmines. Some 390,000 people were displaced by the conflict during the civil war.
Sri Lanka’s wounds are slowly healing and the reconstruction process is still ongoing, helped by the country’s flourishing economy, and the rapid development of its infrastructure and services.. Nevertheless, there is still a significant risk of natural disasters, including flooding, drought, landslides and cyclones, all of which frequently affect the island. The 2004 tsunami caused widespread physical and social damage. The disaster killed more than 40,000 people and left over 250,000 homeless. In recent years, flooding forced more than 400,000 to flee their homes in 2008 and a further 300,000 in 2010.
 However, there are geographical disparities, particularly in the North and East of the country, which are four times poorer than in the West, and investment is very limited.