The court system in Sri Lanka is overwhelmed by a backlog of nearly 28,000 cases for the country’s 85 judges. Some criminal and civil cases, however, can be resolved through community mediation boards, a system staffed by volunteers who heard more than 220,000 cases in 2016. This is the story of two women who brought their disputes to mediation, as well as a look inside a school classroom where mediation takes place.
Sri Lankans are plagued by tens of thousands of cases of mosquito-borne dengue each year, but recent public-health measures have helped dramatically reduce the death rate of this year’s particularly bad outbreak. Public-health teams are inspecting locales where cases have arisen, and careful treatment of dengue patients and public-awareness campaigns have also helped combat this year’s epidemic.
The process of making toddy, an alcoholic beverage, begins at the top of a coconut tree, where a toddy tapper climbs to gather the sap. Toddy tappers face danger as they work, walking tightropes between trees. That danger is just one reason why fewer people than ever before are going into the work.