Providing shelter, water, education and livelihoods to people displaced by civil war

The Relief and Rehabilitation program for war-affected communities concentrates on emergency response activities, including the restoration of livelihoods for people who have been forced to move from their homes and villages.

Children performing in Sri Lanka

About the program

This program works with communities who were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the Sri Lankan Civil War. This includes the provision of temporary and permanent shelters, water and sanitation, the restoration of livelihoods and the provision of livelihood training, education activities and welfare programs for children of IDPs and orphans, psychological care and counselling services.

Sri Lankan children

It is now more than two years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Since the Tigers no longer exist as a military power to give hope to the Tamil aspiration of achieving an independent state of Tamil Eelam, open hostilities have ceased. Nonetheless, conditions for sustainable peace have, at this stage, not been met in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Government is facing a series of pressing post-war challenges that we are hoping some of the programs we support may significantly help to address.

The need for humanitarian assistance has increased since the civil war ended in May 2009. At that time, the mass resettlement of nearly 325,000 war displaced persons, who were earlier contained in relatively easier to manage IDP camps, became a pressing priority. The early recovery needs of these displaced civilians required a broad spectrum of interventions, including livelihood and cash-for-work programs, vocational training, the provision of psychosocial support, transitional shelter and permanent housing.

To the credit of all involved, over the past two years, much seems to have been achieved in resettling a part of the war-displaced population. However, in the intermediate term, the need to provide intense ‘after-care’ and support to the resettlement process remains.

Recognised by the military and civilian authorities for its non-confrontational humanitarian agenda throughout the conflict and post-war period, Caritas Sri Lanka and the Catholic Church have been granted access to implement humanitarian and development projects, often where access is denied to others – providing the church both with unique challenges as well as unique opportunities.


Nirangini's story
Compelled to leave home because of war in Sri Lanka and forced to move nearly a dozen times, Nirangini, 31, has finally returned to the safety of her childhood village.

Read Nirangini's inspiring story »

Program details

  • Issues: Education; Water and sanitation; Peace building and reconciliation
  • Partner Agency: Caritas Sri Lanka (SEDEC)
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: AU $160,000
  • Geographic location: Northern, Eastern, North Central, North Western, Western and Southern Provinces
  • When established: 2002