Mr Nandana Wijesinha, the Academic from the University of Peradeniya who was appointed as Director, Social Development Affairs to the Presidential Secretariat had a difficult challenge to tackle.
It was a challenge that needed to faced with Courage. The long drawn war had created scars across all communities. Harmony had been submerged in division.
The war was raging on and hearts had to be won.
The experienced sociologist probed roots familiar to him and it took no time to understand that the next generation in the areas scared by the war was the core of any long lasting effort to create peace and harmony.
Nandana wasted no time in getting to work while the dust raised on the battle field was settling down in the North and east , soon students from diverse backgrounds were speaking a common language ;the language of love and harmony. Even at the height of the war communities were talking to each other.
The Tamil Tigers were defeated on the battle ground bu there was another battle to be won.
The battle of reconciliation had to be won and the terrain was pretty difficult.
A web of activities developed around the Sisu Diriya and now it’s developing as a nucleus of social transformation in the North and East.
Those who were traumatised received counselling, the cultural activities organized by the programme drew out hidden talent, the setting up of school based sisudiriya provided the students with organizational skills, The educational seminars facilitated the chase for knowledge.
Now Nandana Wijesinha and his team are planning to take Sisudiriya a step ahead by creating harmony centers’.
The centers’ are modeled as community based recourse that will allow people from all communities to interact in search of a common identity without loosing their own.
It will be recourse for those who are dedicated to create a common understanding and respect for each other to take forward their work.
“We will have the first Harmony Centre in the North and it’s something that the community is going to build and the decision makers will be the youth” said Mr Wijesinha.
These centers’ are going to be places where the communities will not only enrich their cultural lives but also nurture their lively hoods.
“The academic community of the Universities are very much behind this initiative, they have pledged to support these centers with academic and practical inputs. It’s going to be a social laboratory for the academics and a opportunity of interaction for the community. Explained Mr Wijesinha.
The Sociologist in Nandana Wijesinha sees much more than a community based lively hood programme.
“The symbolic interaction in this venture opens up a new space that was constrained by the war.Communities affected by the war did not feel that they had space to interact with others. They were cornered but now they are haveing a space where they could interact with others with respect and dignity “Mr Nandana Wijesinha, Senior Lecturer university of Peradeniya and Director, Social Development Affairs to the Presidential Secretariat.