Decades of civil war ended in 2009 but tensions and mistrust remain, threatening the peace. The Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR) aims to reconcile previously divided ethnic and religious groups with a multi-level engagement with religious and community leaders and with youth.
To combat religious prejudice between Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, CPBR convenes interfaith conferences and collaborative events, and trains clergy from all faiths together in the skills of peacebuilding.
In 2014, CPBR launched a new project focused on female clergy and female community leaders in war-affected regions. Through this programme, 40 female religious leaders and 90 war-affected women from different faiths learnt peacebuilding skills and to collaborate on healing and livelihood ventures.
To reconcile divided communities, we also supported CPBR to expand the ‘Voice of Image’ project. This trains young people from all ethnic and religious groups to photograph their communities and to use an exhibition of the images as a catalyst for community dialogue on reconciliation, peace and inclusion. Last year 130 young people of both sexes took part. ‘I would never have imagined,’ said a villager after attending one of the local photo exhibitions, ‘that such richness of dialogue would come from displaying photographs as we have done today.’
In total, over 33,000 people in the east, south and north of Sri Lanka participated
in CPBR peacebuilding events in 2014.