Sri Lankans are charitable, but within reason

June 19, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lankans give generously to help the poor, the needy, the religious and their old schools, but fight shy on giving to civil society organisations, a preliminary study showed. However, the long-term potential of these practices – and where they may lead – remains an open question, the researchers noted.

Suspicion and hostility

First, due to hugesuspicion and hostilityfrom the government and many ordinary people, civil society organisations are limited in how they raise funds.

“We know we can’t collect money locally,” said the director of a Sri Lankan NGO, “because people think we’re a front for the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam].”

The ruling party of the day, often sees successful charities and philanthropists as a political threat.

The result has been dependency on foreign donors, but almost every organisation, the researchers spoke to, expects this money to dry up soon.

Avoid donating to causes

Second, although Sri Lankans do give generously, they don’t give to the kinds of causes that international donors gave to.

For many organisations, the researchers contacted, the loss of foreign funding is creati