The city of Monaragala, with around 10 000 inhabitants, is located in the Uva Province of Sri Lanka. Geographically, it is the second largest district, but also the second least populated region of Sri Lanka.
57% of the workforce of this district is involved in agriculture in the many rural areas around the city of Monaragala. This is where they produce tea, rubber and coconuts, amongst other goods. The severe poverty in the district is partly due to the great focus on agriculture.
Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Monaragala
During the civil war between 1983 and 2009, food supplies were scare or simply non-existent. The situation has improved but many parents in Monaragala struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children.
In the district of Monaragala, 16% of children experience stunting (low height for age), which is a result of undernutrition, while 25% of children experience wasting (low weight for height), which occurs when a child has not had enough food of adequate quality.
Sri Lanka has been dealing with poverty for decades. Almost 45% of the total population lives on less than $5 a day. Monaragala has one of the highest rates of severe poverty in Sri Lanka.
A worrying 21% of the population of this district is living in poverty. The low population density, combined with 57% of them working in agriculture makes them more vulnerable to agricultural price fluctuations, while also having fewer alternative sources of income. Poverty affects children the most, leaving them undernourished and taking away education opportunities.