Sri Lanka has been ranked as the 61st best country in the world for children to grow up in, outperforming neighbours India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, a new Save the Children report revealed.
However, Save the Children is concerned that millions of children in Sri Lanka are still being denied their right to complete a happy and fulfilling childhood, in part because of the more than one million Sri Lankan parents who migrate to other countries for employment, leaving their children behind.
Stolen Childhoods examine countries on a range of indicators related to childhood, with Sri Lanka performing relatively well in most categories. However, more than 10 percent of children in Sri Lanka are out of school while almost 15 percent are stunted, according to the report.
National statistics also reveal significant disparity between the well-being of children in different areas, with children living in some rural areas almost twice as likely to be stunted compared to those in urban centres.
“We see the result as mostly being positive for Sri Lanka, which outranked all others in South Asia other than the Maldives. However, there is room for improvement,” Save the Children Country Director in Sri Lanka Chris McIvor said.
“We cannot underestimate the impact parental migration has on the children they leave behind, who are then become more likely to drop out of school, experience protection issues, face discrimination, join the work force or suffer stunting.
“The impact on children is significant, taking away their right to a safe, happy childhood. Childhood is a precious time when children need their parents – not a time for children to spend worrying about whether their mother or father are ok and when they’re coming home.”