Regional business leaders meet
Regional business leaders through the Business for Peace Alliance,
BPA and the Polonnaruwa District Chamber of Commerce, joined hands with
the Secretariat for Co-coordinating the Peace Process, SCOPP in
organizing a three day residential program to empower youth from border
villages in the Polonnaruwa District.
The participants were from the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Communities.
The theme of this programme in Polonnaruwa tailored to create future
leaders was, “Towards a prosperous tomorrow through business”.
The program was developed against the background where the regions in
the conflict areas and border villages have been severely affected as a
result of the conflict that has ravaged our country over the last three
decades and the economy has faced set backs.
Due to the war stricken environment, services provided to villagers
in the border areas were restricted. Agriculture, their main livelihood
was also affected and their future was bleak.
These villagers have led a day to existence in fear of their lives.
Elders have been concentrating mainly on how to protect the lives of
The participants in the program hailed from such the border villages.
The villages were Manampitiya, Karapola, Kadhuruwela and Welikanda .
Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities have been living together in
The youth empowerment program was held at the Hingurakgoda Rajatara
The participants were able to learn from one another and share
Personality development, leadership skills development and training
on health care were provided through special lectures and practical
motivational sessions. The program also featured field visits, games,
swimming and a cultural event conducted with a lot of fun and excitement
around a campfire.
A highlight was a special session conducted by regional business
leaders from various districts who represented BPA at this event. These
business leaders, led by BPA Chairman, Suresh de Mel, shared their own
experience in developing successful business ventures in the regions.
They enlightened the children on the benefits of embarking on
entrepreneurship as a career option. They stressed that as successful
business leaders, they adhered to responsible business practices and
Over 50 student leaders who are Prefects in schools in the Border
villages, speaking diverse languages were selected for this program.
The services of a professional translator were provided to facilitate
communication amongst the children who spoke different languages.
At the conclusion of the event, the children were committed to
peaceful coexistence amongst the communities in Sri Lanka and to
contribute to build bridges to bring together people of diverse race,
religion, social and geographical backgrounds and unite as Sri Lankans.
The Chief Guest at the event was Director of the SCOPP, Himali
Jinadasa. Delivering the keynote address, Jinadasa maintained that the
Government of Sri Lanka was carrying out programmes to uplift the
standards of rural communities and provide opportunities for development
of youth who were affected by the conflict.
The Polonnaruwa District Chamber of Commerce under the able guidance
of it’s Chairman, G. M. G. Dharmasiri, made all the arrangements for the
Officials in the Schools, Education Offices, Assistant Government
Agent’s Office and Business community in the Polonnaruwa District gave
their fullest support to ensure the success of this event.
The Business for Peace Alliance, Sri Lanka’s network of regional
business chambers committed to regional empowerment, national unity and
corporate social responsibility is planning to organize similar
empowerment programmes for rural youth leaders throughout the country
under it’s “Learn and Lead” programme.