Successful Second Awareness Raising program for Religious and Community Leaders held in Jaffna

Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (BCGR) conducted an awareness raising programe concerning rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants into the community in Jaffna on last Wednesday (10-11-2010).

Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (BCGR) has been conducting series of Rehabilitation, Reinsertion, Reintegration and Reconciliation programs for the former LTTE cadres at the rehabilitation centers in northern Sri Lanka. As part of Community Based Reintegration (CBR) program the BCGR have planned to conduct a series of high-level advocacy awareness program for the religious leaders, community leaders, United Nations organizations (UN) and community based organizations (CBO) for the acceptance of rehabilitees in to the community. The Programme to be scheduled in three centralized places to cover North & East.

As an initiative the premier program was held in Vavuniya cultural hall on 21st October 2010 with the participation of Secretary, Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Government Agent Vavuniya, senior government officials and the representatives from UN and international organizations (IO) and CBO.

The second programme was held at Jaffna District secretariat auditorium on 10th November 2010 with the presence of religious dignitaries of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Catholic and Islamic faiths, Jaffna District Secretary and the other accountable officials from the district secretariat, civil affairs officers from security forces Jaffna, senior police officials, UN/NGO/CBO representatives, trade community, representatives of local ministries and the media.

Colonel MB De S Jayathilaka warmly welcome the entire participant on behalf of Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR). Next Mrs. Imelda Sukumar, Government Agent of Jaffna delivered a speech on "Community Acceptance of Rehabilitees" and pointed out the importance of conducting programs of this nature. After that Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe CGR enlighten the gathering on "’Rehabilitation Process so Far".

During the session a very important event was organized by the BCGR, is to award scholarships for 10 undergraduates (former beneficiaries of BCGR and presently on "catch up education") at University of Jaffna. These students will receive Rs 1500 a month for two years and depending on their progress of studies it’ll be continued further. So far CGR awarded more than 100 scholarships for school children as well as university students with the support of Dharma Drum Mountain Social and Charity Foundation, Taiwan.

Dr.Vinya S Ariyaratne the General Secretary, Sarvodaya conducted a lecture on "Community Based Reintegration" and he shared his experience in eastern province with emphasis on the importance of socio-economic reintegration.

Dr.Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, senior lecturer in conflict, religion and cohesion delivered a lecture highlighting the importance of religious leaders in the process of reintegration.

Ms Sushila Raja consultant, community empowerment expressed her views on "understanding and not judging" .Mr. Clive Jachnik the DDR program manager from IOM discussed the importance of ICRS (Information, Counseling and Referral Services) which will assist and facilitate the livelihood development of the beneficiaries.