Reconciliation has been identified as an important factor in the quest for lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Coming out of a protracted three-decade long war, reconciliation between communities is of paramount interest in the face of rifts and misunderstandings. Dilmah Conservation having recognised this need for reconciliation among the younger generations initiated an environmental programme to build a common Sri Lankan identity. Together with the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) and the Centre for Children’s Happiness, Jaffna (CCH), Dilmah Conservation will conduct the project, reconciliation through the power of nature, which focuses on bridging the gaps between communities through nature oriented programmes.
The project will concentrate on educating the children from the North, East and other provinces on birds and nature of Sri Lanka and will be conducted in an interactive manner in order to break down communication barriers and negative attitudes between different communities. As a starting point, children and youth, who were deprived of visiting and appreciating many locations in Sri Lanka due to the, will receive the opportunity to attend a series of classes, workshops and share information on the study of birds and nature, through exchange programmes and field excursions to the North, South and the East. Additionally Dilmah Conservation, will establish inter- institutional links between schools, nature societies etc. in the North, East and the other areas of Sri Lanka. Nature sites in Thalaimannar have already been identified for field visits and field excursions will be conducted to the Sinharaja Forest reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the south west of Sri Lanka.
FOGSL will provide the expertise and staff to conduct classes, workshops, field visits and training related to nature and birds of Sri Lanka. Centre for Children’s Happiness will assist Dilmah Conservation and FOGSL to translate publications and coordinate with the schools. Dilmah Conservation is privileged to be one of the first private sector organisations to support the translation and publication of nature books in Tamil in the North and East.
The University of Jaffna will assist with the project evaluation of the progress and outcome of the project.
The expected outcome of this project is to reconcile communities, to create a common Sri Lankan identity and to integrate future generations through nature.