An Experience Exchange Program from East to North

A group of Thirty members of the Eastern Province Inter Religious Council members from Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalie and Polonnaruwa districts participated the experience exchange program with Nothern PIRC on June 27th to 30th, 2012.

This observation tour was organised under the project “Enabling Humanitarian needs through inter religious cooperation and collective community action”. The main objective of this tour was to understand the cultural values of various religions and to realise how the humanitarian needs of women and children affected by war differ from region to region. This will help share the knowledge acquired, with the people of their own areas.

This group had the opportunity to discuss with women and children, now living at Menik Farm in Vavunia, Chavakachcheri in Jaffna, Malainthoduwai in Mannar and also those of Thalaimannar and Eluwankulama of Puttalam.

During these discussions, they highlighted the problems with regard to resettlement of displaced persons, lack of livelihoods, psychological trauma, mental stresses and educational problems.

One of the participants Rev. Udagama Dhammananda Thero, a member of Polonnaruwa DIRC agreed in these discussions to provide some money monthly for the education of two Tamil children. This was positive evidence that our expected objective of improving the relations among communities has become a reality. Moreover Trincomalee DIRC agreed to provide counselling services to those who are under psychological trauma and mental stresses.

Rev Udagama Dhammananda Thero expressed the view that this tour provided space to realise the true conditions of various regions with their own experience than those they get from media information.

The participants of this exchange program were in agreement that the inter relations that they had been developed should be continued without a break.