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July 18, 2010

North – South peace dialogue by Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena




The youth members of Shanthisena from Matara and Monaragala visited Mannar and Jafna respectively. The atmosphere was ideal after the 30 year scourge of war to hold this gathering with a view of bringing the youth of the South and the North under the Heart to Heart initiative that enabled them to solve their problems with an open attitude of friendship and cooperation. These events which helped the youth of Matara to join the youth of Mannar and Monaragala youth to encounter the youth of Jaffna for the first time which brought forth very interesting episodes
At Mannar 102 delegates from Matara and in Jaffna 135 from Monaragala attended a four day camp. They were held from 27th June to 30th June in Mannar and 2nd to 5th of July 2010 respectively.

When the two peace delegation arrived they were warmly received by offering Lotus flowers. After the inauguration ceremony a Tamil youths from Mannar and Jaffna accompanied a Sinahala youths and similarly all of them left for their homes to start a home hospitality exercise.

The notable feature was the warmth with which these people experiencing such an event received them. Some with inquisitiveness and others with a real feeling of comradeship made their guests who came with some trepidation very comfortable. . The four day camps began with an introduction and accommodating the guests at host families . The next day was allocated for group discussions Their theme was to identify the role of the youth to build a nation sans the ethnic and religious divisive feelings.

It was transpired at the discussions that living separately ethnically leads to violence, break down of the social order proliferation of hate and a hindrance to the path of development of the country. Similarly the opposite of it is true when the country is at peace and working in harmony.

There is no doubt that these opportunities helped to reduce the attitude of suspicion and mistrust that existed among the religious and ethnic groups and it turned to friendship and brotherhood. It was abundantly clear that this outward expression of goodwill helped to practically display its efficacy. Thus they were of the belief that the number of Shantisena units should increased and the need to learn each others languages were emphasized

The usual items of Sharamadan (gifting of labour) and cultural displays occupied the other two days. In Mannar the Maradamadu Church and in Jaffna the recently constructed Tellipalei hospital lying in the high security zone needed clearing as it had been neglected. This was a huge project that earned the admiration of the community. It also demonstrated the fact that they can achieve purposeful results with united effort irrespective of harbouring differences.

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for the People in Need.