The Sunday Leader

Unity Mission Unique Events At Gurutalawa

The 100 selected youth leaders

Unity Mission Trust held its 33rd grassroots level unity and integration programme since May 2009, from 21st to 24th April, at Gurutalawa.

This third such Programme included three distinct integrated components. The first being an intensive three day programme with 100 selected Youth Leaders to build up values and their mind-sets, termed as “Empowering Youth: Building Bridges of Friendship”. The 2nd was termed as “Ray of Hope”, where culture diversity from across Sri Lanka was appreciated.

The final significant and very special third component was the Unity and Integration Awards. This is the only such Awards scheme in Sri Lanka for recognition of youth involved with fostering unity and integration.

Mano Tittawella, Secretary – General, Secretariat for Co-ordination of Reconciliation Mechanisms was the Chief Guest. He delivered a thought provoking address as well as distributed the Unity and Integration Awards. The Winners included: Harindi Suriyarachchi (Kandy), Vijitha Thangarasa (Jaffna), Stephen Amos (Mannar), T. Purusothma (Jaffna), Wasana Maltharika (Ambalangoda), R. Rishangan (Mullaitivu), Niroshani Sandamali (Elpitiya), Sithy Shadla Raslan (Galle), M. Saibubeen (Vavuniya) and Donovan Arunachalam (Colombo).

Major General (Retired) Lohan Goonewardena, Chairman of the Trust, as well as Founder Trustees Bertal & Shyamala Pinto-Jayawardena participated in the Awards Ceremony.

Methunshanka Suduwelikondage (Matara), outgoing President of the National Youth Leadership Council of Unity Mission Trust, made a very striking point in his speech when he said “I was born into a small family. But today, I have a much bigger family of 7500 brothers & sisters across Sri Lanka”. Previous Award Winner and Compere Shehani Rajendra stressed the point of how important the Awards she won in 2013, was to her, in her view of life.

Shadla Raslan, in her welcome address invited other youth to reach out to build bridges of friendship, so that Sri Lanka would grow stronger and be more successful. She also pointed out that she and other members of her community always felt that it was really “One Sri Lanka” after becoming actively involved with Unity Mission Trust.

Unity Mission Trust (UMT) is a Non-Profit, voluntary Trust governed by a Board of Trustees and by a fully volunteer based Operations Team.

A further delightful and beautiful aspect of the three day programme was multi-cultural Avurudu-Puthaandu Celebrations. All youth were in their traditional attire, making the event extremely colourful, vibrant and full of fun.

The Programme concluded with the election of the National Youth Leadership Council of the Trust. The senior positions were filled by the following:

President – S. Mayuran Raj (Mannar), Senior Vice President – Elon Newton (Colombo), Vice President – Harindi Suriyarachchi (Kandy) and General Secretary – Nimesha Jayamanne (Colombo).

This is the third major event of Unity Mission Trust in 2016, following  the National Conference in January and the Independence Day social-care projects carried out in 14 districts in February. The Unity Mission Trust brings together students between the ages of 17 and 20 years as well as 7500 former Unity Campers, who are now young adults. The Trust focuses on Leadership Development, Personal Capacity growth and self-confidence empowerment to foster unity, integration, healing, reconciliation and the building of bridges of friendship across Sri Lanka.

The Integrated Project to build the future of Youth, is a follow up Programme to a series of Unity Camps held across Sri Lanka that seeks to bring together Youth Leaders who have recently exited the Schools System and to further foster bridges of friendship amongst them. In addition, the content of the Programme focuses on mind-development and confidence empowerment, thus facilitating their future personal growth and success as well.

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