OneWorld South Asia Home > News > News:Education skip to main content
OneWorld.net_home_link Logo_ Go to homepage
Search for
04 October 2005

About Us    Contact Us   

Fostering peace through education in Sri Lankan communities

05 September 2005

“I will go back and teach my friends the songs I have learnt here,’’ said 15-year-old Yasodara from Rakwana. “It is a great experience being in this camp meeting so many new people and making friends with boys and girls from different communities.

Yasodara was among some 140 students who attended the Annual Peace Education camp organised by Serendib Sri Lanka English Camp Foundation at Mahaweli College of Education in Polgolla.

Wearing white and sky blue t-shirts students and teachers from all over the island honed their English skills at the camp. For seven days they spoke to each other in English and sang English songs.

“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver the other is gold,” said Isuru Dhananjaya, a 15-year-old boy. “Such songs were taught to us in the camp. All of us enjoyed being here. It was very easy to communicate with boys and girls from Trincomalee because all of us spoke English.”

Mazeen from Katugastota said he had made many new friends in the camp. “I will keep in touch with them and write to them regularly,” he said. “By writing to them I can also improve my English.”

Over the past nine years Serendib Sri Lanka has organised over 50 big and small camps where students and teachers came together to learn English. After this annual camp, several smaller camps would be held all over the country where teachers would carry the message of peace forward.

“We try to impart leadership qualities and develop some relationship between participants from different communities,” said Jeuspillai, Principal of St. Jochim Tamil Vidyalaya, Ratnapura. “Participants will continue to work on the peace theme when they go back from the camp.”

Jesupillai has been working with Serendib Sri Lanka for the past nine years. “It’s really encouraging to see how students from all communities interact in the camp. In my experience most participants go back with the message of peace and try to improve their English,” he said.

For Samsudeen, Divisional Education Officer of Kuchchaveli division in Trincomalee district, the camp was an opportunity to encourage teachers from his area to learn English. “We don’t have English teachers in our division. This camp gives the teachers from Kuchchaveli a chance to learn English.” The teachers, parents and all participants of earlier camps visited the children during the camp period.

The idea of bringing peace through English is the brainchild of Tucker McCravy, who came to Sri Lanka as a Peace Corp volunteer in 1995. Since then he has come back every year to hold such camps.

This year’s camp brought students and teachers from all over the country together and was supported by Oxfam.

“We decided to support the camp under our relationship building programme because Serendib’s aim is to promote peace and harmony between different ethnic groups,” said Aruna Dayaratne, programme officer Oxfam.

Arunasalam Vaithyalingam is Project Officer, Relationship Building, Oxfam GB, Sri Lanka

User comments

There are no comments

UNICEF’s latest Progress for Children report says that though more girls are going to school worldwide, the gender gap in many regions is still very high. The report says the number of children not in school may have dropped for the first time, to below 100 million, but the world will miss the goal of universal primary education by 2015 unless there is a dramatic jump in the number of children who go to school.

OneWorld thematic channels and collaborative projects include:
AIDS channel digital opportunity channel open knowledge network support centre tiki the Penguin, Kids Channel