The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), together with Ministry of Education and Provincial Education Ministries has successfully completed the initial stage of the multi-religious, multi-cultural programme titled “A United Sri Lanka: Blessed with Diversity”, which aims at celebrating eight religious festivals of the 4 main religions in schools across the country.
The first phase was launched coinciding with the Tamil Thai Pongal festival in January 2016 and hundreds of students comprising of various ethnic and religious backgrounds took part in each event at schools in Zonal level. Within a 2-week period from the 15th of January 2016, a total of 35 different programmes have been held and over 15,000 students, teachers and parents have been part of these events.
The participants appreciated the fact that they were given an opportunity to learn about Thai Pongal festival, share the joy of and celebrate with students of other faiths in understanding the diversity Sri Lanka is blessed with.
The Chairperson of ONUR Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga highlighted the need for building mutual understanding among students by integration of students from various backgrounds in each school in the country by having an acceptable percentage of students from other communities also being enrolled in majority Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil schools.