Sri Lanka

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is located east of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. It includes 9 provinces with approximately 21 million people.

Our partners in Sri Lanka, the “German Sri Lanka Friendship Association” is located in Potuwila, Payagala in the western province on the west coast, about 50 km south of Colombo.

Three types of landscape form the island. In the heart of the central highlands, the great tropical plains are surrounded by the only coastal belt which is just 30 meters above sea level, with it's the famous sand and palm beaches. Sri Lanka is rich in mineral resources, where various ores and gems are mined. The climate is tropical with different rain periods.

The flora impresses with its lush abundance and richness of species.

In Anuradhapura you find the oldest known tree in the world – the Bodhi Tree – . The tree is an offshoot of the original Bodhi Tree in India under which Buddha was illuminated. At every Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka there is a direct offshoot of the Anuradhapura. Local agriculture includes coconut, rice, sugar cane, tea bushes, tobacco, coffee, Peruvian bark and many spices such as chilies, cinnamon and turmeric.

The animal kingdom offers Monitor lizards, crocodiles, guinea, monkeys, Asian elephants and Sri Lanka leopards. The bird life is particularly colorful and species-rich.

Sri Lanka has a complex history. The natives, the Vedda people, are genetically related to the Aboriginal people and threatened with extinction because of the reclamation of the land. Today, Sri Lanka is a country of ethnic and religious diversity.

The Sinhalese make nearly 75 % of the population and belong almost exclusively to the Theravada Buddhism. The Tamils are the largest minority at 17 % are mostly Hindus. However, the local Sri Lanka Tamils must be distinguished from India Tamils, plantation immigrants, who arrived during the colonial era. Muslims and Christians are small minorities. Buddhism is, preferred by the state and is protected in accordance with the Constitution.

The Portuguese and the Dutch took into possession only the coastal regions of Ceylon during the colonial era while in 1818 the entire island became British. In 1948 Ceylon became independent within the British Commonwealth. In 1972 Ceylon became a republic named Sri Lanka.

The colonial period already brought the potential for conflicts between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The “indigenous” who were Sri Lanka-Tamils were preferred by the British because they knew how to write and so they were taken as administrative officials and given colonial power which was not liked by the Singhalese.

After Sri Lanka's independence from Briain, the Singhalese wanted abolish Tamil and English as languages. The Tamils did not speak Sinhala and could not accept this change. This led to protests and separatist movement. This conflict in 1983 escalated into a civil war. By the end of the civil war in the spring of 2009 there were tens of thousands of casualties. The war paralyzed the country for 26 years. Tourists and investors stayed away,resulting in lack luster commerce that created tremendous poverty for the population. Adding to the devastation, the Sumatra-Andamanen earthquake caused to 2004 Tsunami which resulted in 35,000 deaths in the east, in the south and on the west Coast south of Colombo.

Since 2011 the economy is booming in Colombo as a result of the export and infrastructure projects.The situation in the slums along the coast remains dire. Education is limited along the coastal region, and students are typically offered compulsory education from 5-14 years of age. Many children break off training during the primary school because they must contribute to the family's income.

Without education and social programs, there are limited job oppertunities.

Through education “EDUCATE ONE WORLD e.V.” aims to assist the people of Potuwila by giving them an oppertunity to take responsibility for personal success and independence.