For the 8th time in their 15 years of operation, Sri Lanka Unites (SLU) conducted their annual peace tour across the nation, in an effort to spread the message of peace, unity, equal opportunity, and justice. It is a truth to say that every annual tour has been special in its own way, and this year, far more so. Sri Lanka has been shaken to her core with so many challenges, while it is easy to lose hope, this year especially SLU sets out with a determination to revive hope and to set the pathways for a better tomorrow.
The resilient team managed to cover all districts across the nationand achieve so much in what seems like a small duration, considering all that was done. Given the current crisis faced by Sri Lanka, the goal was to solve problems of Sri Lanka with the foundation of peace and unity. The focus of Sri Lanka Unites has always primarily been to create platforms and raise up young leaders to take up the baton in leading through multiple avenues that’ll raise the standards of this country.
One such movement has been through the Shark Tank movement, connecting young entrepreneurs to business leaders who can invest and guide up and coming innovative ventures. This year the programme was launched through a new face called the Accelerator and a new database of 78 young entrepreneurs across multiple sectors were identified through the tour.
SLU continues to encourage any young visionaries especially interested in the export sector to join this movement. Official registrations are set to commence this September, with opportunities now open for information to be sent across;inviting Sri Lanka’s young leaders through their social network. Aside from the business proponent, young leaders were encouraged to get more involved on ground in general leadership, politics, and cultivation. A union of young leaders was set up in every district, and inter-religious networks have been organised to respond to the current crisis and coordinate relief efforts across the nation.
All this is set in place, to promote the act of working together in unity to come up with solutions. To further help address the issue of Sri Lanka’s humanitarian crisis, especially when it comes to the upcoming food shortages; 20 acres of farming land that had been neglected was identified, and for every acre an investment of LKR 100,000 is underway, to prepare the land to help farmers and youths progress and lead in farming and cultivation as a means of combating a food crisis.
Taking it a step further the SLU Kids Department was formed with the objective of nurturing ‘Peace agents’ within an inclusive generation and to cultivate their bold ideas and innovations that will create a just and thriving country.
The Kids Department currently has five initiatives, the reconciliation centres around the country provides value-based courses as well as English and IT courses, the ‘Future Leaders’ Conference’ is an event held Nationally, regional events for the kids twice a year, the SLU team takes part in School assemblies and finally it has a Kids YoutubeChannel, through which the message of the department reaches a wider audience. During this tour, the team had the pleasure of conducting graduation ceremonies for 140 kids from the 2nd cohort of the Kids Department. With over 249 total graduates from the 1st and 2nd cohorts, the SLU Kids Department is strengthening and gaining momentum.
To further support education of the younger generations of Sri Lanka, a scholarship has been set up where 300 university students without any government aid will be provided with LKR 5,000 a month. Education is a powerful tool to equip the generations to come, and SLU is making every effort to champion supporting children and youths in their pursuit of education.
Another great initiative carried out by this tour ‘with many thanks to Keells’ was the distribution of dry ration packs to families in need. Through the tour, 1250 dry ration packs were given to families across the nation. Each pack has a value of LKR 1,500 and will be donated monthly to families, through the partnership with Keells. Keeping in line with the goal of supporting younger generations, the National Tour team identified many familieswho were struggling to provide basic nutritious meals for their young children.
These findings were confirmed through a study conducted by SLU, Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD)and theNational Child Protection Authority (NCP), where it was revealed that the top two priorities for 80 per cent of the households are Food and Education. To address this, SLU has created an avenue to provide nutritional packs for families with children under five who are currently at risk of malnourishment. The link for donating towards this initiative is available on the SLU website.
In times like this, where the old methods of leadership have been futile, SLU has got the right mindset to turn towards the new. The generations to follow, would be young passionate leaders who could be mouldedto be devoid of violence and disunity and to lead and coexist in peace. A genuine nurturing of leaders who care about the nation and her communities which aim for progress; not just for themselves, but for all. It is initiatives like this that make Sri Lanka’s future seem brighter. To the SLU team, and everyone across all districts who participated and supported this movement and continue to do so; ‘A Big Salute’ is deserved for the active work contributing to a better tomorrow for all Sri Lankans.