The Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Sandasaya ( Peace Brigade) is a country wide youth force consisting of over 100,000 youth dedicated to peace building and community development.
The main objective is to develop youth leadership to help encourage a disciplined society free of violence and suffering.
Shanthi Sena is also engaged in changing the prevailing environment of war
to that of peace through efforts to promote cooperation between ethnic and
Shanthi Sena Movement holds events and gatherings which promote national unity and inter religious cooperation. Amity Camps, Peace Dialogues, district-to-district youth exchange programmes, Peace Education, meditation, Youth Leader Programmes on conflict resolution and Pen Pal programmes are proven and effective means of achieving our objectives.
The long-established team at Shanthi Sena offers years of experience in the field of inter-religious dialogue coupled with a nationwide network of communities in the north, south, east and west. In addition to a full-time Director, there are six permanent members on the staff and 34 District Volunteer Coordinators, supported by the Shanthi Sena Board which is made up of distinguished Sri Lankan university lecturers, lawyers, accountants and counsellors. Shanthi Sena welcomes your support to help it continue its work in bringing about a lasting peace in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka URI National Assembly
The inaugural National Assembly of United Religious Initiative was held on the 22nd of March 2014 at Trincomalee with the participation of 93 representing the Corporation Circles of Shanthi Sena CC, Colombo CC, Badulla CC, Kandy CC, Tricomalee CC, Baticoloa CC and Galle CC The National Assembly was a residential gathering held from the 21st to the 23rd of March.
This important occasion was graced by Dr.A.T.Ariyratne Founder president of Sarvodaya as the Chief Guest. The key note speaker was Mr.Sarath Abeyagunawardena the Chief Secretary of the Eastern Provincial council. His topic of the address was National Reconciliation through religious Cooperation. It was very well received by the multi - ethnic audience The occasion had a greater impact due to the presence of a six member URI delegation from South Asia URI headed by Dr.Abraham Karickam Executive Director who was the Guest of Honour. He was especially invited by the Director of Shanthi Sena CC Mr.Ravindra Kandage as the sole representative of the Global Body. The inaugural meeting was attended by many distinguished invitees. The religious dignitaries from all religions who represented their CCs lived together during the three days in comradeship and enthusiastically participated in the discussions.
Professor Kamal Waleboda was the moderator of the sessions on presentation of reports of the 7 CCs. It was followed by a session witch discussed the Preamble, purpose and principles of URI and evaluate how far it had been used in their activities. The future plans of the 7 Cooperation circles and also the need to increase the number of CCs were discussed. This session was conducted by Mr. Ravindra Kandage.
The Global Council member and the Assistant Treasurer of the Trustee’s Council Mr.Ravindra Kandage spared no pains to organize all aspects of this Inaugural National Assembly that was concluded on a very successful note. He was ably assisted by his staff. The Trincomalee CC president Mr.Jeewaraj was entrusted with the hosting of the invitees and participants. To conclude this important event a field visit cum sightseeing exercise were undertaken before they left for their home towns.
Batticoloa Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Religious leaders’ council organized conducted this workshop at Mangalagama. This location was selected because it was a Sinhala Buddhist village that had undergone sever hardships during the war. The volunteers who participated were mainly young religious leaders from Batticoloa and Ampara The significant fact was that they belong to different religious and ethnic groups. These participants in the workshops were based on the concept of finding solutions together. These discussions evinced a great interest as they looked at this issue in a different perspective.
At the temple situated in this village where they met the participants decided to provide cement to complete the Pagoda that was being built. The religious leaders visited some homes and gave their blessings. These activities and show of unbiased concern for their wellbeing gave the community a new hope and a message of non violence peace and harmony.
A programme of cleaning and healing at Government hospital Trincomalee was, organized by the religious leaders of Trincomalee on the 11th of November 2013 was concluded successfully.
The religious leaders seemed to have been looking forward to engage in a social welfare activity when Karuna Center for Peace Building provided some funds to continue the good work they started ion nter-religious cooperation.. They had planned it with great dedication, zest and commitment. They had contacted other resource persons and with their help done a wonderful job considering the limited support we gave. 112 Religious leaders’, youth and elders participated in this programme. Their activities included the cleaning the compound of the mental health ward and washing the doors and glass windows. Furthermore they separated the aluminum partitions and enlarged the wards at the request of the hospital authorities. This job is being done over 4 days by the aluminum fabrication training team of our center. In addition Play area of the children’s ward was supplied with equipment like Tricycles, etc. Few items like mosquito nets, baby commodes and gift packs including toiletries and other items were also provided with the help of the we; wishers. Some patients of selected wards were blessed by the religious leaders as a common endeavor. Significant feature as commented by the hospital staff was that this service was done for the first time as an organized group. The visitors too were very impressed and it carried a bigger mileage than the resources expended. Please find a few photographs of the event.
Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena and URI CC celebrated the Inter National peace day with a programme in Gampaha District on the 21st of September 2013 at the Mirigama Divisional Secretariat. Religious and civic leaders participated in a conference. The theme of the conference was Peace education. The theme was well described by the speakers. They stressed the need to change attitudes and debunk the myths and misunderstandings. The need to solve the problems with corporation of the public was stressed. The youth who have under gone training in peace studies attended the conference.
Asia Youth Centre held its 9th Global Assembly on the theme “The duty of youth to help distressed children” in Sri Lanka. Japan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines and Canada participated with Sri Lanka hosting the event. AYCs of Asian region were actively engaged at the event.
There were 30 local participants and 30 foreign participants who attended sessions on a full time basis. The organizations working for the children representatives from Universities and youth organizations were included.
The Chief Minister of the Central Province Mr. Sarath Ekanayake and other distinguished guests including Rt. Rev Mitsui Miyake the International President of AYC were present for the inauguration. Dr A.T.Ariyaratne the Founder of the Sarvodaya Movement and Patron of the Sri Lanka AYC graced the occasion.
The Conference was held at Hotel Thilanka in Kandy over two days and the keynote address was made by Rev Dr James Christie from Canada. There were two more sessions with “Distressed children – Sri Lanka scenario”, followed by Q & A session, conducted by Mr.S.Ranugge director of the Transparency International Sri Lanka and Presentation 2: “Role of civil society working for children”, followed by Q & A session, conducted by Prof. Kamal Waleboda. The days programme included a Sharamadana done at a children’s home
The Kandy Charter focusing on the activities that could be done in the future years by the AYCs was presented to the Governor of the Central Province Hon Tikiri Kobbekaduwa. The conference was concluded on a grand note with a cultural show that pleased the audience.
The conference was organized under the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Chapter Mr Ravi Kandage, General Secretary Kamal Suneth Perrera Treasurer Nishantha Prithiviraj, Asst Sec Rasika Geethanga, Vice Chairman Rohana Hettiarchchi and other activists of the Sri Lanka Chapter.
Inter-religious National Conference entitled “National Reconciliation and Development through Inter-religious Coexistence” was held at Committee Room B in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH)-Colombo at 2:00 pm on Saturday the 02nd of March, 2013. The conference hosted over 650 religious leaders from all corners of the country including venerable religious leaders and distinguished guests including the members from the URI CCs in Sri Lanka. The objective of the conference was to share lessons learnt from the inter-faith activities carried out by the religious leaders under the project of Inter-religious Cooperation for Community Development and Social Empowerment which initiated in Trincomalee, Batticoloa and Padaviya districts in collaboration with Karuna Center for Peacebuilding-USA and generous support from USAID. Recommendations for national religious harmony were presented by the religious leaders from the project and they empathized vital factors of religious cooperation as a key element of the conference.
Youth Exchange camp - “village to village heart to heart” organized in Kandy from 5th October to 8th October 2012. Youth from districts of Trincomalee, Kegalle and Kandy participated. Along with them Mr. C.N.N. Raju, president of the Indian Foundation for Global Peace Education and 7 engineering students from Bangalore, India joined the 134 locals and 7 Indians making up 141 and had an enthralling experience of a life time. An URI member of United States of America, Mr. Zain Jeewanjee also visited the camp as a special guest. The inauguration was attended by professors, Government officials, Religious leaders and civic leaders. Shanthi sena president professor Kamal Waleboda made the opening address emphasizing the objective of this novel experience is that those present are going to experience. Briefly the four day programme included introducing the participants and the 60 host families that provided home hospitality. Key note addresses, animated discussions, cultural and sports programes were culminated with development component of shramadana (Giving free labour) which helped to renovating a canal to take water to the fields
At a time when reconciliation among nations were being discussed it was felt by all that bringing the Indian team gave credence to the feasibility of such a move.
A thought expressed by one participant would suffice to sum up the whole scenario “ I came as a SinhalaBuddhist but I am leaving as a Sri Lankan” Thank you sir. There were many such expressions which were heartening and augurs well for the future
The duty of youth is to help distressed children” Under this theme International assembly of Asian Youth Center will meet in the historical resplendent city of Kandy in salubrious Sri Lanka from the 24th to 27th May 2013. At a recent ex-co meeting of the AYC Sri Lanka chapter held under the auspices of its Sri Lanka chairman Mr Ravi Kandage decided on the preliminaries. Delegates from all 12 countries under the chairmanship of Rev.Mitsuo Miyake of Japan shall attend the conference. Mr Sukumar David General Secretary has convened a meeting on the 28th September 2012 to finalize all arrangements.
Shanthi sena CC Attended the Traveling Peace Academy sessions of URI in Kerala India from 23rd to 29th August 2012. Four member delegation headed by Mr Rasika Geethanga Deputy Director of Shanthisena CC participated. The assembly was enriched by the attendance of members of 12 other counties. At this gathering subjects like conflict transformation and peace building took pride of place. It was conducted by S. Asia Coordinator Dr Abraham Karikam. There was an animated discussion about the challenges that peace builders had to face considering the different scenarios that had to be encountered. This gathering had a very fruitful experience considering the representations from countries of widely differing backgrounds. Mr Ravi Kandage Global Council member and Asst treasurer graced the opening ceremony.
On the 13th to 17th May there was residential program under the above project conducted by Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena at Trincomalee Sarvodaya training center. Trincomalee is a unique place with a spread of all ethnic and religious groups equally not only strategically important place over the last few centuries, it is also place where Shanthi Sena feels is potentially important to bring about peace and harmony for the rest of the country. The beneficiaries were youth leaders from Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mulative, Polonnaruwa, Padaviya and Trincomalee. See more
As a unique exercise in religious harmony the religious leaders comprising of Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian clergy undertook a mercy mission of good faith and understanding by meeting their counterparts in Batticoloa in Sri Lanka. This visit enabled them to exchange their experiences of a different scenario altogetherhere was an air of much cordiality as they received the visitors from the South. A group of Buddhist monks. Hindu Krukkals Muslim Moulavis 25 from each religion and 15 Christian priests made this long journey in the quest of harmony and wellbeing through a dialogue. A workshop was organized at the Sarvodaya center in Sathurukondan in Batticoloa. . On the 22nd of May there was an official inauguration of the workshop organized by Shanthisena CC under the patronage of Mrs P.C.M.Charles the Government Agent of Batticoloa and attended by 150 other religious and civic leaders . Among them were representatives of all religions, Mr Susantha Thilakaratne commander of the Batticoloa division. Mr Ravi Kandage Director Shanthisena. See More..
A project called Inter Religious cooperation for Community Development and social empowerment of one year duration was inaugurated by Sarvodaya Movement and Shanthi Sena under the sponsorship of KARUNA Center for Peace Building, (USA). The project is designed to cover the following districts. Batticola,Trncomalee and Padaviya, It will engage 80 religious leaders 20 from each belonging to the four major faiths viz Buddhist, Hindu Christian and Islam The purpose of the project is bring about amity and peace through capacity building of religious leaders and creating opportunities for them to interact through dialogue. The proposed activities are Inter and intra faith Workshops, community dialogues, community development projects, (Classes in Singhala Tamil Language, Computer " Sewing and Small Scale industrial training and Home grading) Interreligious district meetings exposure visits etc. This project would be implemented by Shanthi sena CC. Under this project See more
Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Inter District Youth Exchange Camp
On 09 th to 12th March 2012 at Villavadduwan, Batticaloa
In our quest for bridging the ethnic and religious divide we have taken amny initiatives. The recent effort of Sarvodaya Shanthisena Movement is to hold an Inter district Youth Exchange camp in Batticoloa. This hamlet called Villawadduwan has been inhabited by Tamils and was beyond the Army control. Hence they have not been influenced by the ongoing peace efforts. We were bold enough to get them to play host to 143 Youth from Badulla and Ampara majority of whom were Sinhalese. They received home hospitality for 4 days at these homes which was a new experience to both parties.
The objectives were the reconciliation of the ethnic groups, building
trust among the religious and ethnic groups and paving the way for a
sustainable peace and harmony. These four days were utilized to conduct
Educational, Cultural and sports activities. It culminated with a sharamadana
bringing a development aspect which helped the people to remember in their
hearts the act of goodwill that these visitors displayed. Thus our theme
village to village and heart to heart bore fruit in a very practical way. After 4 days of a new experience they
dispersed rather emotionally.
Case study of participant at the camp.
My name is Maduwantha from Ampara, There was definitely a change of heart as far as the Tamil people were concerned. The aspirations, humane aspects, and common love of them were easily understood by this experience. Living in their homes was an experience that I had not understood before. Whatever the general view of the Tamils this particular experience gave a very heartening feeling about them.
Cooperation for Community Development and Social Empowerment program attempts
to mitigate conflict by establishing strong cooperative relationships between
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders who will influence
their peers and followers towards inter-communal tolerance. the primary target group is 80 religious leaders with
20 coming from each of the major faith groups, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and
Christian. Over the course of the project, these leaders will come together to
implement inter-faith community development and social empowerment projects,
community dialogues, shared religious festivals, and youth-run peace committees
in their respective communities. >>>
During the height of Sri Lanka’s civil war an incident between two neighboring villages captured the extent of ethnic rivalries within the war-torn island. On the 12th August 1990, Muslims from the village of Samanthurei in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka attacked the Tamil village of Weeramuni killing nearly 200 men, women and children. After the attack enmity between the two villages remained intense; the only interaction coming through sporadic eruptions of violence. As a memorial the Tamils of Weeramuni built a statue of a woman carrying a child that served as a constant reminder of the atrocities committed against them and perpetuated their ill feelings towards the rival village. >>>
collaborated with Leads to conduct an International Training session on
leadership for Reproductive Health (LRH2) for 35 cohorts from Islamabad
Pakistamn . It was conducted from the 19th to 25th
November 2011. The opening ceremony was graced by Dr A.T.Ariyaratne and he
delivered the key note address. The logistics was handled by Sarvodaya
Shnthisena under the direction Ravindra Kandage , while educational
aspect was conducted under the Community health unit of Sarvodaya . Dr
Harishandra Yakandawala on the directions of Dr Vinya Ariyartane Secretary
General of Sarvodaya Movement. The main idea of the training session was to
learn lessons from the Sri Lankan experience of combating RH situation with
Government and NGO sector. Lectures were given by eminent doctors
engaged in this field of activity. Two field visits were done to familiarize
the participants of on the spot activities at various Institutions. The
participants praised the organizers for the valuable input and the efficient
way the programe was conducted Mr Asad Hameed General Manager
Projects, Mr Waqas Shiek and Yumana from LEADS lead the
group. The closing ceremony included the certificate distribution and
cultural display much appreciated by the Guests.
In the period under review Shanthi Sena CC has been very active in organizing three Corporation Circle meetings in Colombo, Kandy and Galle. All these meetings were graced by the distinguished presence of Rev.Cannon Charles Gibbs Executive Director of a Worldwide Organization - United Religious Initiatives based in San Francisco and Dr.Abraham Karikkam Executive Director URI South India.>>>
Two young girls from Sarvodaya Santhi Sena had a golden opportunity to visit Osaka and Nara on the invitation of Japan Asian Friendship Society Chaired by Rev.Dr.Kimihiko Murakami for the 2nd Asia Youth Summit. There were delegates from 18 countries. The main theme of the summit was “For the happiness of the children”. The youth leadership was another them that evinced a lot of interest. >>>