The Foundation of Goodness is a holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide, and reached over 307,000+ beneficiaries in 2022 alone by way of 15 Empowerment Centres, free of cost.

Talking about taboos: Nurturing Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness in rural youth

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Navigating the complex realm of reproductive health is a crucial aspect of adolescence, and it becomes even more challenging for rural teenagers who often face limited access to comprehensive information and resources, as the subject is considered a taboo topic, which parents, nor teachers often talk about at home or at school. 


At the Foundation of Goodness, we have recognised the importance of equipping these young individuals with knowledge and skills, which is why we recently held a workshop focused on reproductive health, organized specifically for rural teenagers. The event aimed to educate and empower participants, enabling them to make informed decisions and take control of their sexual and reproductive well-being.

The programme was sponsored by the FPA Sri Lanka and the UNFPA and was coordinated by Mr. Milinda Jayalath and Mr. Chamith Jayasuriya as well as Dr. Mandrika Wijesuriya of Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, who contributed valuable resources. On the day, 30 participants at the Women’s Empowerment Centre engaged with the Doctor and had the opportunity to ask any question in a safe and open environment. 


The workshop was specifically designed to cover a wide range of topics related to reproductive health. It began with a comprehensive overview of the human reproductive system, emphasizing the physiological changes during puberty and the importance of maintaining personal hygiene. Facilitators provided detailed information about various contraceptives, their usage, and their effectiveness, enabling participants to make responsible choices in protecting themselves against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

One of the participants stated “We learnt a lot of new things that we aren’t told about in school. We feel like this subject is important to us and our family life in the future and should not be something we are ashamed to discuss.”


Due to socio cultural taboos that often hinder young people from learning about their bodies and what the lived experiences that are in store for them are, reproductive health workshop such as these are an invaluable resource in empowering participants with comprehensive knowledge and skills. By addressing the specific challenges faced by rural communities, the workshop aimed to bridge the information gap and provide teenagers with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, conducted in a safe and open environment. Empowered with this knowledge, these young individuals are better equipped to navigate their journey toward a healthy and fulfilling future. 

It is crucial to continue organizing such workshops to ensure the well-being and empowerment of rural teenagers in matters concerning their reproductive health and breaking the stigmas surrounding topic. We hope to promote more of these workshops across our 16 Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres island-wide in the near future. 


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