Child Rights in Sri Lanka


Against a backdrop of civil unrest, economic collapse and natural disasters, Sri Lanka has done well to advance the situation of children across the country including action to address child labour - yet challenges persist. Today 2.3% of the country’s 4.5 million children are working, half of which are engaged in child labour and some engage in the worst forms of child labour. 


As many as 85% of Sri Lanka’s working children reside in rural areas and the majority of them work within the service sector. They are often in precarious conditions that harm their health and safety. A child rights risk assessment of Sri Lanka's tea industry carried out by The Centre for Save the Children in 2020 found that child labour, low wages of parents, poor living conditions and lack of day-care among others, all pose risks to children linked to the agricultural sector. Working children also face challenges accessing education, with only 39% of them attending school in 2016. 


The Sri Lankan economic crisis in 2022 is continuing to impact the nation's population. The economy contracted by 7.8 percent in 2022 and 7.9 percent in the first half of 2023 according to the World Bank. Despite being on a slow path of recovery, issues such as malnutrition, poverty and difficulties keeping children in school persist. Although price increases have been contained in 2023, the situation for children and families, particularly in rural areas in Sri Lanka, is still worrisome. 


Supporting You in Sri Lanka


The Centre has an office and full-time staff in Sri Lanka and is working in close partnership with Save the Children to implement the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business –  an initiative that is currently targeting business entities in the tea sector but will be scaled to other industries in the future. The Centre has also conducted child rights and risk assessments to help different actors along the tea supply chain to deepen their understanding of child rights risks in plantation settings. All of The Centre’s services are available in Sri Lanka. Interested in receiving updates on our work in Sri Lanka's tea sector? Please join our mailing list to receive our "Tea for Transformation" quarterly newsletter. 


Browse Our Work in Sri Lanka


“MCFS”: The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal Now Identifiable at Colombo Tea Auction
23/01/2024 | News
“MCFS”: The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal Now Identifiable at Colombo Tea Auction
The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business ("MCFS") logo is now featured in Colombo Tea Auction broker catalogues, making it simple for brokers and buyers to recognise and support businesses promoting positive impacts for women and children.
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/news-and-events/mcfs-the-mother-and-child-friendly-seal-now-identifiable-at-colombo-tea-auction
A Responsible Business Creating Real Impact: ETS' Pioneering Social Protection Programme
09/01/2024 | Stories
A Responsible Business Creating Real Impact: ETS' Pioneering Social Protection Programme
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/impact/a-responsible-business-creating-real-impact-ets-pioneering-social-protection-programme
Family-Friendly Workplaces - 2023 Impact and Achievements
15/12/2023 | Project Updates
Family-Friendly Workplaces - 2023 Impact and Achievements
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/impact/family-friendly-workplaces-2023-impact-and-achievements
The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business Initiative Highlighted in Sri Lanka’s Leading Business Magazine
05/12/2023 | News
The Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business Initiative Highlighted in Sri Lanka’s Leading Business Magazine
Read about the conference and Seal initiative in LMD magazine's December 2023 issue.
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/news-and-events/the-mother-and-child-friendly-seal-for-responsible-business-initiative-highlighted-in-sri-lanka-s-leading-business-magazine
Tea, Technology, and Tomorrow: A STEM Education Initiative at the Pedro Tea Estate
04/12/2023 | Stories
Tea, Technology, and Tomorrow: A STEM Education Initiative at the Pedro Tea Estate
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/impact/tea-technology-and-tomorrow-a-stem-education-initiative-at-the-pedro-tea-estate
The Success Story of a Company-Supported Child Development Committee on a Sri Lankan Tea Estate
20/11/2023 | Stories
The Success Story of a Company-Supported Child Development Committee on a Sri Lankan Tea Estate
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/impact/a-village-child-development-committee-on-a-tea-estate-that-works
A Responsible Business Creating Real Impact: English Tea Shop’s Pioneering Social Protection Programme
15/11/2023 | Stories
A Responsible Business Creating Real Impact: English Tea Shop’s Pioneering Social Protection Programme
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/impact/a-responsible-business-creating-real-impact-english-tea-shop-s-pioneering-social-protection-programme
Retailers and Brands: Join our Online Discussion on Creating a Family-Friendly Tea Industry
09/10/2023 | News
Retailers and Brands: Join our Online Discussion on Creating a Family-Friendly Tea Industry
We invite retailers and brands to join us via Zoom on November 1, 12:00– 3:30 PM (GMT+1) for practical discussions on how and why investments in family-friendly programmes are more important than ever.
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/news-and-events/event-sip-share-roundtable-discussion-nurturing-families-shaping-responsible-business-in-the-tea-sector
Sri Lanka International Children's Day: Spotlighting Business Initiatives to Support Children Wellbeing
05/10/2023 | Project Updates
Sri Lanka International Children's Day: Spotlighting Business Initiatives to Support Children Wellbeing
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/impact/sri-lanka-international-children-s-day-spotlighting-business-initiatives-to-support-children-wellbeing
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