2019 was a challenging and painful year due to the Easter Sunday bombings. The attack took place after a decade of peace and hence caused a great amount of pain and shock for the communities that were impacted by this and even the entire nation. Many of our nationwide programs and efforts had to be postponed and canceled and we invested most of our time and energy responding to the crisis and supporting the victims and their families.
We also played an active role in countering growing tensions and hate across religious lines in the aftermath of the attack. This aspect of our work continues as we see the ebb and flow of tensions and a growing segregation and toxic nationalism across the nation.
Easter Sunday Attacks Vigils in Kochchikade,Katuwapitiya and Batticaloa
One month later after the Easter Sunday Terrorist Attacks the Sri Lanka Unites team organised three vigils at Kochchikade-Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.
Burials and memorials for the victims of
the Easter Attacks
When we first visited the cemeteries of the victims of the attacks at Katuwapitiya Church, we wanted to make sure they were not treated as a statistic, we worked with the church and local authorities to create a dignified burial.
Sri Lanka Unites was able to give the victims of the Easter Attacks an honorable burial and memorial. Their poverty and the circumstances of their death robbed them of this dignity. This was made possible because of the courage of this community, the generosity and love of our donors and the hard work of our staff and volunteers. Doing so we were able to have a place to memorialize them, remember them and to acknowledge that every Sri Lankan life matters, that they are not a statistic but they are our people.
We donated a total of nearly 4 million in to the student savings accounts of children who lost one or both parents or were injured during the Easter Sunday bombings.
Many children died during the attacks and from those who survived, many of them experience severe trauma, have lost one or both of their parents or lost limbs as a result of these attacks. Many of these children didn’t have any financial assistance for their future. Especially those who lost one or both parents.
We worked with the churches and created savings accounts for 50 children and donated a total of nearly 4 million to each account. We have also been able to have other local and international donors continue to invest money to these accounts in the months to come. This ensures that at the age of 18 these children will have a strong financial standing to pursue higher education and their preferred careers.
Sri Lanka Unites hosted a Sri Lankan version of Shark Tank Season 1 in the month of March. Out of 15 entrepreneurs, 3 secured investments. These three represented Sri Lanka Unites centers in Mullaitivu , Matara and Monaragala.
Special thanks to Mr Harpo , Mr. Fousul , Mrs. Nayana and Mr. Barnes our business role models and investors.
University Conference – Season 2
A new batch of passionate, persistent and powerful Sri Lanka Unites University Leaders unleashed to 25 state and private universities who all committed 110 hours of volunteering for the cause during the next 12 months. That’s a total of 11000 volunteer hours.
Celebrity Chef Fundraiser for the victims of the
Sri Lanka Unites is honoured to have been the official charity at the celebrity chef fundraiser event. Contributions were further contributed towards the savings accounts of the children who lost their parents from the Easter Attacks.
Puttalam Reconciliation Center Opening
Our 6th reconciliation center in Puttalam was officially opened on the 2nd of October by the British High Commission Colombo, our founder Prashan De Visser and our Co-national Director Chaminda Jayasekara. The Puttalam Center together with the other Reconciliation Centers will offer diplomas in business entrepreneurship , English and IT.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon meets
with Sri Lanka Unites
Following the visit the British Government announced 10 million pounds in donations for projects in Sri Lanka aimed towards long term stability . This was announced by the Minister of State for the Commonwealth, UN and South Asia and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, who visited Sri Lanka on 1-2 October. Lord Ahmad also met with Sri Lanka Unites, among his other meeting with political and business leaders. He discussed and commended Sri Lanka Unites on their outstanding impact as a grassroots movement and our commitment to continue to engage to see long term stability and transformation in Sri Lanka. SLU is proud to have had an influence in making a compelling case towards this decision.
For more on his visit and announcement, follow this link.
Full-time District Coordinators
District Coordinators go from volunteer positions to being recruited as fulltime staff of Sri Lanka Unites. Recruiting District Coordinators as fulltime staff increased our fulltime staff at Sri Lanka Unites to 50.
School Relations Tour 2019
The Sri Lanka Unites School Relations Tour for 2019 was carried out from the 14th of October to the 2nd of November. Our Dream Team consisted of 40 individuals who were divided into 2 groups that engaged 4760 students across 25 districts.
Be The Break Art Exhibition
From the 19th-21st of October, “Be the Break”, an art exhibition in collaboration with The Platform was held. This exhibition explored the break in human nature that has perpetuated cycles of violence & hatred in Lanka for decades. The aim was to reinforce & encourage a #neveragain stance by highlighting the required commitment to say “NO” to hate and violence.
Students from our 6 reconciliation centers showcased their art along with other notable artists on the theme of #neveragain
Launch of Sri Lankan Son: Global Diplomat by Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala
The 14th of December, 2019 marked the official book launch of ‘Sri Lankan Son:Global Diplomat’, a selected collection of articles and speeches by Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, the chairman of our Board of Trustees and the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs. Sri Lanka Unites also hosted its annual fundraiser.
Trusted Partner of Facebook
We were honored to be recognized by Facebook for our work to counter hate speech on social media. Hate speech on the platform was fueling tension across ethno-religious lines in our country and Facebook was compelled by our efforts and chose us as one of their local trusted partners in Sri Lanka.