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Youth Ambassadors for Peace

A total of 23 village level youth groups have been formed in all the Dioceses with the aim of empowering youth as Ambassadors of Peace under the project to Promote Healing and Reconciliation, supported by Caritas Australia.

Beginning in January this year, several of these youth groups have been visiting remote-area schools attended by children of an ethnic group different to that of the youth themselves. This has given them the opportunity to meet and interact with children across all ethnic and religious barriers, and to befriend them by carrying small gifts as well as by joining them in several hours of activities, fun and games. These gestures are used as stepping stones to reconciliation and building bridges of understanding, trust and mutual respect.

Thirteen Sinhala and ten Tamil schools were identified for this purpose and the approval of educational authorities in the respective areas was obtained for the youth visits.

During these visits, the Youth Ambassadors also made it a point to meet other youth in the villages where the host schools are located.

Up to now, Caritas Youth Ambassadors from Jaffna and Ratnapura Dioceses have mutually exchanged visits and so have the Dioceses of Mannar and Kurunegala as well as the Dioceses of Anuradhapura and Batticaloa. In addition, the Anuradhapura group has also visited Trincomalee Diocese.

It is notable that on all such occasions the Principals and teachers of the relevant schools have warmly welcomed the visiting Youth Ambassadors and given their fullest support for this reconciliation program.

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