“The School education in the country can play a major role in building national reconciliation and peace. We should take steps to build mutual trust and brotherhood among the children irrespective of their race and religion, through school education”, Mr. J.K Rajapaksha, Director of the Education unit of the Office for Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) said.
He made these remarks at the five-day residential camp call “Sahodara Paasal / Paadasalai” held from 22nd to 27th June 2018 at Y-Gro Social Development Center in Kurunagala organized by the ONUR.
He pointed out that, the key objective of “Sahodara Paasal / Paadasalai” programme is to create a pool of facilitators specialized in reconciliation, among teachers and education officials in the Provinces while connecting thousands of students to become change-makers in their communities. The unique way in which the programme is organized, allows the students to interact with and experience each others’ ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious differences, and to appreciate them and respect the diversity we are blessed with as Sri Lankans,
He also said that this camp will support to build a better future generation with positive thinking.
The camp in Kurunegala was attended by schools from the Western, Uva and Eastern Provinces, with 180 students and 36 teachers from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Hundreds of students representing diverse ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds came together for a five-day residential camp where they learned to live together. They had the opportunity to understand and appreciate diverse subjects related to reconciliation. They engaged in activities, and formulated an action plan to follow up before heading to their respective communities to work towards reconciliation.
During the programme, teachers from the respective schools participated in sessions on conflict transformation. They developed their understanding of their role in the process of creating national unity and reconciliation.