Dawning of a New Horizon
When a seed is planted it sprouts into a plant and slowly spreads its branches growing into a tree. It shelters all animals, birds and humans regardless of the species. As part of their process of healing, the survivor group of the Human Rights Office decided to go beyond themselves to reach out to the war-torn areas in the North.
The exposure at Nedunkerney in Vauvniya District was an indelible experience to our survivor group. The people they visited had so much to share, especially about their traumatic experiences. But the language difference set a barrier in communicating with the people. After the language problems at Nedunkeney the suggestion of the survivors was to train a committed Tamil speaking group to listen to the people to ease their pain and suffering.
The suggestion was presented at the Human Rights Workshop in September 2012 at Galaha Retreat House. The priests of the Mannar diocese gave a hearing, took up the challenge and cooperated fully. Thereby 15 Youth of Mannar and Vauvniya were sent to Lewella Fatima Retreat House Kandy to be trained as “Befrienders”.
The workshop on “Befrienders” was conducted by a psychological counselor and a therapist from Mannar. The expertise she had gathered in the midst of the war, working with the war survivors is invaluable and this fact greatly enriched the workshop.
It will be a 15 day workshop consisting of three parts. The first part of the workshop was held in Kandy - Lewella Fatima Retreat House from the 3rd to the 8th of November 2012. The other two parts will be continued in the year 2013. The workshop consisted of input sessions, group work, personal reflection, games and relaxation exercises.
The participants were open in their sharing and were bold enough to go through a process of inner healing. Saying “Good Bye” to the unfinished business was a very emotional experience where the participants grieved over their losses. A sense of relief and a general tone of joy prevailed as they achieved the much desired closure.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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