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Karava in Sri Lanka

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Karava in Sri Lanka map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,105,000 Sinhala Buddhism 7.40 % Unknown No   

Karava in Sri Lanka

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Introduction / History
Sri Lanka has been called one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately, a 26-year civil war starting in 1983 took place in the island country. Up to 100,000 died and there was millions of dollars in property damage. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Since that time Sri Lankan economy has begun to rebound and tourists have returned to the island. According to ancient records the Karava people moved from the south coasts of India to Sri Lanka in the 13th century. They became Buddhists and began speaking the Sinhalese language. The Karava are a seafaring people who make their living from fishing and in shipping goods across the sea. The Karava also served in the Sri Lankan and Indian navies that fought against the European colonial powers. With their wealth the Karava often bought tracts of land that other people work. Today they own rubber, tea and coconut plantations. A revised Sinhalese complete Bible became available in 2009.

What are their lives like?
The Karava were on the winning Buddhist side in the Sri Lankan war. However, they lost many people in the war and much of their property was destroyed or damaged. The Karava are considered an upper caste in Sir Lankan society. The encourage their children to obtain college degrees and learn English. They are still making their livelihood from the sea by fishing, oyster farming, shell collecting, moving goods and serving in the Sri Lankan navy. The emblem of their people is the sea god Varuna.

What are their beliefs?
The Karava practice Buddhism, the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha. He lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, declares that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of right intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation. The majority of Buddhists also practice animism, a belief in the spirit world. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in December.

What are their needs?
The Karava need to begin to see themselves as sinners living before the one, true God. Only Jesus can forgive their sin and give them eternal life. Their high status in Sri Lankan society can be a hindrance to accepting the gospel.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to send workers to the Karava to tell them about Jesus. Pray that the Christ followers in this people would grow in the faith and live exemplary lives. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Karava of Sri Lanka in this decade. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to the Karava people.


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Country: Sri Lanka
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:1,105,000
Largest Provinces:
Western (503,000)Southern (209,000)
Central (126,000)North Western (108,000)
Sabaragamuwa (74,000)North Central (47,000)
Eastern (13,000)Uva (10,000)
Northern (800)
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Country Map:Political map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Karava
People Name General: Karava
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 118217
Joshua Project People ID: 21411
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,105,000
Population all Countries: 1,105,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Karava
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Sinhala (1,105,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): sin    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism92.60 % 
Christianity7.40 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have only a very small representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1739-1966
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1823-2009
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Sinhala
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGospel resources links
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Text / Printed MatterBible: Sinhala
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Sinhala
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Karava in Sri Lanka

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Buddhist     Asia, South    
      Karava Sri Lanka    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Karava in Sri Lanka          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Sinhala  
    All Religions                              

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