CARE International Sri Lanka is part of CARE International, a non-sectarian, non-political confederation of 12 members which works in more than 70 countries around the world. CARE traces its roots back to the days following World War II, when emergency food rations in the form of CARE packages were rushed to war-torn
Europe. As the economies of the former wartime nations improved, the focus of CARE's work shifted from Europe to the problems facing the developing world.
Today, CARE promotes social and economic development by tackling the underlying causes of poverty and social injustice in over 75 countries spread across the world. CARE places special emphasis on working alongside women and youth, because equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help communities escape poverty and create permanent social change.
CARE Sri Lanka was established in 1956. Initially the organization focused on food-related programs and addressing maternal and child health issues. In the 1980s CARE Sri Lanka diversified its program portfolio in response to the changing needs of the country and the organization's wider objective of poverty alleviation. This diversification emphasized programming in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, small economic activity development, and relief and rehabilitation.
In the 1990s CARE Sri Lanka continued to decentralize its service delivery structures and began implementing programs through a network of field offices around the country. During this time CARE Sri Lanka's project portfolio continued to reflect a commitment to poverty alleviation. In recent years CARE Sri Lanka's programs have sought to move beyond addressing the traditional causes of household and community vulnerability, to address the underlying issues of marginalization and exclusion.