Islander Civil Society Network Festival 2013
From March 26 to 29, 414 Sinhalese and Tamil religious leaders, citizens' group campaigners and others gathered at Islander Civil Society The Islander Festival has the aim of going beyond religious, ethnic, and ideological barriers to promote wide-ranging dialogue and interaction. Based on the results of this conference, the network of religious leaders built to date was further deepened and expanded.
At 6am on the morning of the workshops held on the 27th and 28th, the Sinhalese and Tamil participants jointly carried out cleaning activities known as 'Sharamanda', or "Shared labor". Next, a spiritual session to experience other religions was conducted by the religious leaders. Participants were able to choose freely from six different types of activity: Hindu worship (Ganesh puja), Islamic prayers, Christian hymns, Pirithchanting, yoga, and meditation. Through these activities, the participants deepened their understanding of other religions.
The highlight of the workshops, the 'learning sessions', was held for two hours in the morning and afternoon, respectively. The morning sessions covered obesity prevention, the history of tea cultivation in Sri Lanka, and five programs on conflict experience in the North, East and South, while in the afternoon, four types of production methods were covered, namely, production of organic compost, Jeevamurtha (fertilizer), juice, and nutrients for freshwater farmed fish. The participants selected four of the five programs, and learned skills and knowledge necessary for daily life.
Every evening, after the end of the workshop, the Market Fair was set up to sell regional products, food and household items, furnishings, and so on. On the last day, the stalls with the best food and miscellaneous goods were acknowledged. Cultural exchange events also took place at the same time, with traditional cultural performing arts such as songs, dances and short plays. Following the official end of the program at 10pm, most of the participants continued to spend time in each other's company and deepen mutual friendships.
Sewalanka Foundation (Sri Lanka)
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