The knowledge that Sri Lanka’s people have been free of civil war for only five short years, and that the majority of civil wars restart within ten years, seemed somewhat unreal when juxtaposed against the calm I found.
The still regular outbreaks of bloodshed between opposing groups in the country flew in the face of what I saw as a culture of tolerance, in which Sinhalese and Tamil, Muslim and Buddhist and Hindu and Christian, appeared to live together without issue.
The majority of border girls, who are from the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim ethnic groups, lost their partners, fathers, and brothers in the war, which pitted government troops against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas, also known as the Tamil Tigers.
Now these resilient women want to independently lead a change in Sri Lanka by pursuing their education and alter community attitudes so women have a leadership role in the traditionally male-led society.
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Peace Direct’s Quinn Zimmerman visits our Sri Lanka partner, the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, to find out more about their Voice of Image project, which uses the power of photography and story to strengthen interfaith and interethnic tolerance.
During my recent travels in Sri Lanka – from Colombo’s traffic snarls to Kandy’s lush mountains to Trincomalee’s empty beaches – the echoes of conflict rang silent to me.
Diane De Zoysa, 59, says she 'gave up everything' to live with husband Priyanjana, 26, in Ahungalla, in the south west of the country - but believes he had a second wife that he kept secret from her.
"Sixty people, including most of my family, died and my mother was seriously injured."Every family from the village lost someone in that bomb blast or some other attack on the village."Saroja was six when the attack occurred.
She moved with her mother to a makeshift refugee camp and was still able to attend school, albeit for few hours, a couple of days a week.
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