As the economic crisis in Sri Lanka deepens, UNICEF and Rotary International are partnering to deliver lifesaving medicines, clean drinking water, education materials, and other critical supplies to children and families in the country.
The partnership will capitalize on Rotary International‘s global network along with the alumni of Sri Lanka’s leading schools to raise funds from the Sri Lankan community living overseas. Well-wishers can also donate through the online platform www.lifelinesrilanka.rotary.unicef.org.au to give a lifeline to Sri Lankans during the current crisis. UNICEF will use the collected funds to procure essential medicines, medical equipment, water purifiers, and school stationery to support vulnerable communities facing severe shortages across the country.
The partnership was launched today in Colombo by UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Mr. George Laryea-Adjei and UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Mr. Christian Skoog together with Zone Director of Rotary International, Mr. A S Venkatesh, and Sri Lanka Rotary District Governor Ms. Pubudu de Zoysa.
“UNICEF is delighted to partner with Rotary International. The partnership is timely and comes at a time when families are struggling to afford regular meals, medicines stocks are depleting rapidly, and schools do not have basic stationery. Time is of essence, and we need to urgently meet the needs of the most vulnerable children and families.” said UNICEF Regional Director George Laryea-Adjei. “Through this partnership, we are hoping that our combined strengths will help deliver timely support to the families that need it most,” he said.
Complimenting the UNICEF and Rotary teams in Sri Lanka, Rotary International’s Zone Director A.S. Venkatesh said “I was very happy to support the idea of this unique partnership when the Rotary International Board met to discuss this proposal. Our Board fully endorses this project and is happy that Rotarians in the country are playing a critical role in supporting Sri Lanka in this time of distress.”
Speaking on behalf of Rotary, former Global President of Rotary International, K.R. Ravindran said “The significance of this historic moment is vested in the fact that these two prestigious organizations have come together to lend their support towards aiding one singular nation in distress.” Ravindran added, “Such a unison mandates absolute credibility, transparency, and accountability for success and both organizations possess these attributes in abundance, thereby giving Sri Lankans living all over the world an opportunity to donate in their respective currencies for life-saving causes; knowing their funds are being put to the best use.”
The crisis in Sri Lanka has impacted 5.7 million people, including 2.3 million children. Vital social services systems, such as healthcare and education, have been stretched to their limits. UNICEF has made a global appeal calling for urgent assistance to meet the critical needs of the most vulnerable children and families in Sri Lanka.
UNICEF and Rotary have a longstanding history of collaboration since 1988, especially in the global initiative to eradicate polio across different regions.