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Religious Youth Service

RYS-Sri Lanka: Peace Through Interreligious Dialogue & Service

 Participants: 40 Religions Represented: 5  National Project

Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Duration: August 9 - 13, 2003

Central Work: We finished constructing and painting walls, building a small room, and laying a roof of a preschool. In addition, we donated furniture and play equipment for the school and repaired a fence and planted trees and a garden.

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The signing of the ceasefire agreement between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka has paved a way for people of South and North Sri Lanka to travel back and forth without much hindrance. People now are visiting friends and relatives who in some cases they have not met in 20 years.

Though there was a movement of travel between the two provinces and a political will to settle deep-rooted problems, no effective mechanism was created to bring people together to meet in heart and reconciliation. RYS decided to fill this vacuum by following up on the project run in Vavuniya last year. The Jaffna peninsula was chosen as the location for the project.

Since the first international RYS in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka in 1992 the RYS has offered 11 service projects in various regions of Sri Lanka. This project was the 1 st project held in the former war zone and it drew participants from various communities representing all parts of the nation.

The program was highlighted with a variety of inter-religious programs including joining pilgrims in the Allure Festival. The community was deeply moved with the heart and spirit of the volunteers who worked on the local school. Our cooperation became a substantial model of the peace building spirit of reconciliation so needed in this nation.

 

The program was highlighted with a variety of interreligious programs including joining pilgrims in the Allure Festival. The community was deeply moved with the heart and spirit of the volunteers who worked on the local school. Our cooperation became a substantial model of the peace building spirit of reconciliation so needed in this nation.
 
 This was the second RYS project in New Zealand and the 1 st international program. This project drew much support from Australia and pulled in participants from a wide variety of nations and religious traditions. Networking with organizations was a key to the programs success as Habitat for Humanity, the local civic leaders and the Moreau Youth Movement worked to model the pattern of cooperative living so critical in building a culture of everlasting peace.

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