The project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is the U.S. Government’s development agency. The overall goal is to strengthen community networks mentored by religious leaders and engage them in building consensus for transitional justice and a pluralistic identity.
Galle DIRC invited religious leaders representing each religion to the event. Ven. Milidduwa Sri Sudarshanarama Viharadhipati Thapovanaye Wimala noted that in the Buddha’s time, there had been 62 religions but there were no conflicts. “We need to educate people to live in harmony with each other. We should be able to respect one another and build a peaceful society,” he said.
Fr. E. H. Palitha Shantha, representing the Galle Baddegama Christian church, said, “During the time that has been given to us to live, we are given an opportunity to do good things. Every religion tells you to do good things. Religion helps to create reconciliation.”
The programme was the first one conducted by NPC focusing on prisoners. The idea was brought up by the Galle DIRC where members identified the need to pass the message of reconciliation, nonviolence and coexistence to a wider community.