Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC is the social arm of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. The Social & Economic Development Centre (SEDEC) was founded in 1968 by Rev. Fr. Joe Fernando, a missionary priest who was motivated by the social teachings of the Church and the need to serve the poor and marginalized sectors of society. Over the years, SEDEC has grown and expanded its services and is now the National Centre of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development. It has a countrywide network of 13 diocesan centres covering all the districts of Sri Lanka.
The extensive range of Caritas Sri Lanka’s programmes and campaigns include:
- Assisting post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation in the North and East of Sri Lanka through housing, livelihood creation, psychosocial support and community empowerment.
- Promoting social justice and sustainable peace in post-war Sri Lanka.
- The Safe Migration programme – protection of the rights of Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East and assistance to migrant returnees.
- Bridge-building among communities to create understanding, trust and acceptance.
- Integral human development through community empowerment.
- Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programme.
- Child Rights and Child Protection Programme
- Study of human dignity from the perspectives of different religions
- Educational scholarships for deserving poor children
- Gender awareness programmes.
- Human rights education programmes.
- Water management and conservation programme in rural and remote areas of Sri Lanka.
- Green Gold Harvest programme to empower plantation populations living on tea estates.
- Awareness programmes on the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka.
- Awareness programmes on drug and alcohol abuse.
- Emergency relief for people affected by natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and landslides.
- Programmes to protect the rights of fishermen.
Caritas Sri Lanka’s national centre is located in the Archdiocese of Colombo. The agency employs 60 national staff and 210 volunteers to carry out its services to the far corners of the island through the 13 diocesan centres.
Caritas Sri Lanka’s work involves collaboration with Caritas Internationalis members such as Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas Australia, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Korea, Caritas Denmark, Caritas England & Wales (CAFOD), Caritas Spain, Caritas France (Secours Catholique), Caritas Germany, Caritas Italy, Caritas Japan, Caritas Luxembourg, Caritas Norway, Caritas Poland, Caritas Portugal, Caritas Scotland (SCIAF), Caritas Slovenia, Caritas Sweden, Caritas Switzerland, Catholic Relief Services USA and Caritas Singapore-CHARIS.