St James Ivanhoe supports reconciliation project in Sri Lanka
September 30 2015St James Ivanhoe has partnered with TEAR Australia to support a project aimed at reconciling the Sinhala and Tamil communities in an area in which some of the worst violence of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers took place.
The project was developed by Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Services (LEADS), the Sri Lankan partner of TEAR Australia, and funded by TEAR. Training was provided in producing handicrafts from Palmyrah (palm) leaf and making leather products. At the end of the training period LEADS helped the women set up small home-based industries in Palmyrah leaf products, but it lacked the funds to purchase the machinery and material for the leather workers.
At this stage the Rosanna Life Group at St James stepped in to fund the purchase of machinery and also the raw material and working capital required to set up the leather workers in small business.
The project has been a resounding success. The two villages have come together after almost 30 years of estrangement due to ethnic violence. In April 2015 the two communities held a combined celebration of the Buddhist and Hindu New Year. This was followed up with an excursion for families from the two villages to visit Jaffna and Trincomalee, the provincial capitals of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
LEADS was selected to make a presentation of this project at the 6th Global Consultation of the Micah Network, held in Lima, Peru in September.