Sri Lankans are suffering through massive inflation, the year to date figures are tracking at around 70%. Food and fuel especially have increased significantly. Adding to existing woes there have been recent tariff increases for power and water, and telecommunications. Years of economic mismanagement have been exacerbated by supply chain disruptions worldwide and the global energy crisis.
For the typical Sri Lankan this means walking or bicycling (where possible) and reducing the weekly food budget. According to recent research, as many as one in four skip a meal and many are forced to reduce meal sizes. For daily wage earners, these troubles are acute. Children go to school hungry and have to walk home from school rather than taking the ubiquitous tuk tuk ride.
At a local creche in Colombo, the Mia Fratino foundation sponsored meals for the all 40 children in the month of October. The children, who are from the nearby slum, are often from broken homes, and their parents have intermittent work. The meals provided are a lifeline for the parents, who are already stretching their meagre budgets. The children receive a cooked lunchtime meal of rice or pasta, vegetables and dhal, and an afternoon snack before they return to their homes.
We are planning to do further work with the creche. It’s an uplifting place to visit, the creche has been recently refurbished with donations from abroad, and a local business renovated the garden. Days spent here must be in stark contrast to evenings spent in the slums.