The food insecurity in Sri Lanka widely and rather disgustingly denied by the authorities but is a malignant truth has unravelled yet another shocking story, as we investigated into the depths of low-income families as part of our corporate social responsibility operations, following reports on school children being victims of malnutrition in many parts of the island nation as a result of the worst economic meltdown it suffers from since independence.
Despite ignorance exhibited by many individuals of the Government, the current Administration has launched certain initiatives on providing a meal to children studying in schools with economic difficulties, whilst philanthropists of the Private Sector too have contributed to the cause at various capacities.
During our involvement in one of the CSR projects of the same nature backed by the Private Sector, a business figure on the condition of anonymity unravelled a shocking story, one that is too hard to believe that we have decided to lay it down in his own words;
“The principal of one of the schools which we provide food to called us and told us a story. I’m still in the process of believing what he just said. The principal asked us whether we can increase the volume of the food package provided to them a little. When I asked why, he said that many children eat only half of the rice pack provided to them and take the rest home to feed their mothers who are starving. So, he asked if we could increase the volume of the food package provided. We’ve heard enough stories of parents who’re letting themselves starve so they can feed their children. But now a situation has arisen in the country where the scenario has taken the other way round. When I looked into it, it does happen in some places. This is the actual situation of the country. All I have to ask is whether those who should be held accountable for this tragedy are sleeping.”
Listening to his words, the shock that spread across our spines was so immense that even the very moment in which this report is being written is shaky to handle the keyboard.
More than six hundred thousand workers in the Construction Sector have already lost their jobs. The figure nears one million, according to some sources. A considerable proportion of the small and medium-scale enterprises are being closed amidst the recession, making the roaming on the road the only option they are left with. In the backdrop, starvation has become a malignancy spread across the rural zone to almost an incurable level.
We urge everyone who is capable of finding solutions to the food insecurity in Sri Lanka to provide food and drinks to the schools and pre-schools of children from low-income families in their respective areas, for child malnutrition is not something to be easily overlooked, but is a devastating tragedy.
*Adapted by original Sinhala article, “බත් පතෙන් බාගයක් අම්මාට දෙන්න ගෙනියන සිසුන් : රටේ බඩගින්න ගැන ඇඟ හිරිවැටෙන කතාවක් !” (Bath Pathen Bhagayak Ammata Denna Geniyana Sisun : Rate Badaginna Gena Enga Hiriwetena Kathawak!) published on 12.11.2022