The Building Bridges Project was originally conceptualised as a year-long arts initiative, funded by the Princeton ReachOut 56-81-06 “Building Bridges” Grant for the year 2012-2013, and is now working with Connect, a dynamic Colombo-based youth volunteer group, to expand this initiative to other regions and communities in 2013 and beyond. It is also indebted to many individuals who have freely given of their time, money, and advice in moving the project forward.

The Building Bridges Project envisions a safe space in which youth from Sri Lanka’s diverse communities can come together, encouraging self-expression and sustained dialogue – two key factors for moving forward from conflict to harmony.

The current initiative has a two-pronged mission: to nurture confidence and creativity among recently rehabilitated Sri Lankan youth from diverse ethnic and religious groups, and to harness these skills to effect communication and conciliation. The programme encourages the children to employ a range of creative media – drama, creative writing, and arts and crafts – as well as team-building games to express themselves and work together.

Our first project, Building Bridges Through Drama, is currently taking place in Kakkaiyankulam, a Muslim community in the Mannar District, and in Chiraddikulam, a Tamil community bordering Mullaitivu. It was launched in May 2012, focusing on children from the Primary School (ages 9-11), and is scheduled for completion in March 2013, culminating in a performance by the children for their communities. Building Bridges Through Drama is supported by Citizens Initiative, a volunteer organisation based in Colombo.
The second initiative, Building Bridges Through Language, will commence in March 2013 and will focus on children in the Middle School (age 12-15). It is supported by Citizens Initiative and Connect.

If you would like to contribute in some way to this project, please have a look at how you can help. Feel free to contact us with any questions, suggestions, or advice – we would love to hear from you!

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