Over 200 students from Northern, North Central and Eastern provinces board the Peace Train
Badulla, April 21, 2013
Over 200 students representing 21 schools from the Northern, North Central and Eastern Provinces boarded the Peace Train from Badulla to Kandy marking the end of the Finale event of the Twinning Schools Programme (TSP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), an initiative which aims to improve interaction, understanding and co-existence between young people from different backgrounds and regions in Sri Lanka.
The Finale event of the TSP, was held from April 18 to 21, 2013, at the Uva Wellassa University in Badulla, brought together students, aged 14 to 16 years from 21 schools from the districts of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ampara. The Programme is implemented under UNDP’s Transition Recovery Programme, with support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
Commenting on the finale event, Mr. Subinay Nandy, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka stated, “Over the years, the Twinning School Programme has proven to be a powerful vehicle for encounter, exchange and understanding between communities. While this event marks the finale of this particular initiative, UNDP will continue to support efforts for strengthening relations across different groups as part of its programme of developmental support to Sri Lanka.”
The Finale provided a platform for students to learn and develop a variety of new skills in sports, aesthetics and communications, showcase their talents, and more importantly strengthen ties with one another. The Finale also hosted a learning event for partners to exchange experiences with the objective of informing and improving similar initiatives in the future. The event culminated with the students boarding the Peace Train from Badulla.
The TSP is the third successive twinning schools initiative implemented by UNDP and supported by AusAid, since 2005. Robyn Mudie, Australia’s High Commissioner said “Australia is proud to have been a partner in the Twinning Schools Programme which is designed as a catalyst for deeper and sustained learning and sharing between communities across the country. We hope that the connections and commitments made during the program will be maintained by teachers, parents and children into the future, and that the positive effects of this program will be long-lasting”.
The TSP initiatives have reached over 1200 students and 150 teachers across 12 districts in Northern, Eastern, North-Central and Southern Provinces.
“Young people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and regions were provided a space to discover each other and to enhance own skills and self-esteem. Children, teachers and parents were enabled and supported to change their perceptions and stereotypes” noted Mr. Rajendrakumar Ganesarajah, Assistant Country Director UNDP Sri Lanka. “We are happy to see some of these communities continuing to stay in touch and educational authorities showing interest to organize other twinning activities on their own initiative” he added further.