Results and evaluation of the programme in Sri Lanka

Butterfly Peace Garden
Butterfly Peace Garden celebrated its 11th birthday this year. Approximately 385 children and adult community members attended the festivities in Batticaloa town. There were also special events arranged for International Children's Day, International Peace Day, cricket matches, Islamic New Year, Christmas, New Year and International Women's Day. These celebrations increased awareness and stimulated peace building within the community.

Children at War Child activity Security
As a result of the ongoing conflict, there was a large influx of refugee children into the region in which the programme is conducted. War Child responded to this by developing and implementing a special programme in the centre of Thiraimadu for these refugee children. There were 160 children present at this programme every Thursday and Friday morning. Another example of a non-planned activity was the implementation of a security training session for workshop leaders in response to increasing violence in the area. War Child provided them with security training (what to do in the event of an attack) and also arranged for workshop leaders to escort children to school or to the centre in order to ensure the children's safety.

Several other adjustments have been made by the foundation as Batticaloa has become increasingly violent in the past year:

  • Senior workshop leaders from each centre update the main centre management concerning the current situation or any problems in their area on a regular basis. 
  • Children and youth are instructed not to leave their homes during shooting after the sudden declaration of Hartal, a general strike. 
  • Workshop leaders and participants are trained how to respond to shootings while they are in the centre.

Kalmunai Peace Foundation
Even in incredibly difficult circumstances, as many people were displaced by escalating army attacks in surrounding villages, the centre in Karballa was successfully opened and programming there was launched on in March. Among other things, the foundation organised focus group discussions with children, parents and community members in each of the border villages. The outcome of these discussions was a determining factor in developing the structure of the programme, and as a result it better matched the needs of the group for which it was intended. Because the war continued and the situation worsened, the employees organised a session to increase the awareness among the workshop leaders so they could improve their own safety and that of the children. 

Lessons learned
The danger in the region made it difficult for a number of the preschools to host community activities. In response, War Child made sure only the essential activities were organised and that no one was put in danger by organising or attending them. Unfortunately, tensions between the various groups prevented any community-building activities from taking place in the border villages.

The Kalmunai Peace Foundation has difficulty getting fathers to attend seminars or parents meetings. It is usually the mothers who attend these activities. In the future the foundation will concentrate on involving fathers through special awareness campaigns or by organising sporting events that men are likely to attend. To continue implementing its programme in 2008, the Kalmunai Peace Foundation has been conducting local fundraising initiatives, but to date has not been successful in securing funds.

Door de bril van

Rutie Atsmon director of War Child’s partner organisation Windows

Rutie Atsmon is director of War Child’s partner organisation Windows in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: “Prejudice makes place for mutual understanding.”

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