The Republic of Sri Lanka was established in 1972, and is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Sri Lankan culture is regionally diverse. The country is recovering from over thirty years of painful civil war (1983 – 2009). Its violent impact was felt most in the northern part of the country, but every aspect of the life of the nation was affected adversely - personnel, financial resources, safety and wellbeing of citizens, morale of the nation. The country has also faced serious natural disasters within the last decade.
Despite this, Sri Lanka is economically ahead of other countries in the South Asian region. Although there may be politicization of separate ethnic identities, there is a core of cultural beliefs, practices, and values that are largely shared among the people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka elected the world's first female prime minister in 1960 - Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Education is important for both boys and girls in Sri Lanka. However, sexual harassment and assault of girls and women, while seldom reported to the authorities, are common experiences.
Four Sisters of the Good Shepherd were sent to Sri Lanka from the Motherhouse in Angers, France in 1869. St Mary Euphrasia had begun the arrangements for the new foundation before she died.
From the beginning, the Sisters were called upon to devote themselves to education, and set up a number of schools.
Over the next century, they also developed:
Residential Re-education Centres for socially vulnerable girls.
Children's Village to create living conditions for children deprived of home support.
Houses for single mothers and babies.
Orphanages for poor and destitute children.
Day Creches to help working mothers in urban areas.
Crisis intervention Centres for young girls and women in crisis.
Centre for empowerment of women (Women’s Desk).
Ministry to families within slum estates.
Homes for Elders.
Parish Schools for religion and National Catechetical Apostolate.
Support for migrant workers.
Development of fisher families.
Non-formal education to young people who drop out of mainstream schools.
Visiting prisoners and care of their children.
Care of families displaced by war.
Development work in City slums.
Poverty alleviation programmes.
Networking with NGOs and other congregations in issues of Justice and Peace.
Hostels for working girls.