Peace, Reconciliation and rebuilding lives through Livelihood Education and Youth Empowerment

©Omar Havana


According to a World Bank report, with a GDP per capita of $4,102 (2018), Sri Lanka has recently become a middle- income country. The country’s economy is shifting from predominantly rural to urban, with an emphasis on industry and services. However, an increase in the number of citizens aged 65 and over by 2030 will increase the dependency ratio, i.e. the number of people that each person of working age has to support. In addition to the demographic transition, Sri Lanka also faces many other challenges in the skills sector. Due to the precarious nature of employment and the stigma associated with certain industries (such as construction), available jobs are unattractive to young people. In many cases, labour market opportunities simply do not meet their expectations, especially among young people with qualifications but without significant work experience.

Once they graduate, their expectations are high, but they are disappointed by the choices available to them. Promoting quality education, entrepreneurship and women’s participation in the labour force can help meet these challenges. In Sri Lanka, the number of young people wishing to explore new livelihood options rather than traditional ones (farming, tea picking, rubber tapping, gemstone mining) is increasing. However, due to the lack of the required skills, these young people often find themselves trapped in small, urban jobs with no future.

Project objective

Addressing the education and skills development needs of those impacted by the 30-year civil war that ended in 2009, returning refugees and young people from poor and marginalised communities in the North, East, South, Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Aide et Action manages 10 “iLEAD” vocational training centres in 7 districts of the country. 7 out of 10 centres are located in former war-affected districts in the north and east of the country and meet the educational needs of young people who have been affected by the conflict. Among them are returnees from the state of Tamil Nadu, India. They were either born in India or were too young when their parents fled. The other three iLEAD centres are located in the central and southern districts of the country and focus on livelihood education for young people from disadvantaged families. The iLEAD programme has been very effective in reconciling, rehabilitating and rebuilding war-affected lives of young people with no future.


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Find all the other projects led by Aide et Action in Sri Lanka in our latest Activity Report

Project location / Sri Lanka - national level
Region / South Asia, Sri Lanka
Area / Lifelong and Livelihood Education, Vocational training
Duration / 2006 -
The project covers / In 2019: 962 young people were trained and 459 of them found employment. By the end of 2019, 2 iLEAD centres received National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) accreditation and 2 more centres were registered with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC).
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