Peace and Unity through Religion and Sports in Sri Lanka
As part of AMDA Peace Building Program1 Part II (2011~) in Sri Lanka, AMDA International conducted "Peace and Unity through Religion and Sports" for three years in a row. This time AMDA collaborated with AMDA Sri Lanka and Religions for Peace and conducted the event from August 23rd to 25th, 2013 in and around Colombo. The aim of this program is to foster religious and cultural understanding among different ethnicities through religious, cultural and sports program. This was the first time that 20 Japanese junior and high school students from "KOUSEIGAKUEN" participated in this program with local Sri Lankan students from Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, and Christian background from 7 different schools in and around Colombo.
The program was consisted of three parts namely religion, sports and cultural exchange. The first part was religious program on the first day. Senior religious leaders from 4 different religions made a speech at the opening ceremony and explained the importance of peace and harmony. Then, all participants made a visit to Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, and Christian places of worship to see and learn about each others believes and customs.
The second and third parts were sports and culture program. Close to 130 students with their teachers were divided into mixed teams from 8 different schools and played soccer, netball, and other interactive games such as jumping rope and a 'centipede' race, which team members' legs linked together with two boards. Students overcame language and cultural barriers and enjoyed their time with each other. In the evening, students from each school performed drama, songs and dance and exchanged their cultural experience.
Through this program, students became friends beyond ethnic or religious difference after interacting and understanding each other through different activities.
Additionally, AMDA also conducted a free medical clinic and health education for pregnant women in collaboration with Panadura Lions Club. They offered different medical services such as screening for diabetes and for cataract, dental screening and care for children as well as health education for pregnant mothers. The total of 412 patients was treated at the clinic. Especially pregnant mothers were really appreciative that they could receive a lecture on nutrition and receiving gifts (dry food,
nets, bath tubs, baby shirts, napkins).
1. Peace Building Project is AMDA's unique program implemented to contribute toward peace process and to promote harmonious relationship among different ethnic communities through medical as well as health education and sports and cultural exchange program given equally to all parties.