Sunshine Festival for tsunami affected Trincomalee children

[TamilNet, Friday, 29 July 2005, 01:03 GMT]
About three thousand children and two thousand adults affected by tsunami and decades old conflict in the Trincomalee district are to participate in a "Sunshine Festival "scheduled to be held in Trincomalee Mc Heyzer Stadium for two days, on July 30 and 31, sources said. The Community Empowerment Network of Trincomalee (CENT) comprising international aid agencies, local non-governmental organizations and community leaders is organizing this event.

Sunshine Festival
(L-R) Mr.David Lamin, Mr.Andy Le May Ms Anne and Mr.Sutharman

This is the first time in Trincomalee and in the North East such an event for affected children and adults is to be held, organizers said.

In meetings with children, they said they needed an opportunity for them in tsunami-affected areas to come together and take part in social activities that give them an outlet for what they have experienced. To help them achieve this objective, the CENT decided to organize this festival to bring children together.

The event will promote greater healing for tsunami hit children and their parents, create sense of hope for children and foster unity among children in the Trincomalee district, Mr.David Lamin , Child Protection Officer of the UNICEF in Trincomalee district office said at a press briefing held Wednesday at the UNICEF office.

The aim of the festival is to create a space for children to express themselves in a fun, positive and creative manner, said Mr.David Lamin

The name "Sunshine Festival" was selected by young people involved in organizing the event, he said.

During the festival children will participate in sports, games, cultural dances, songs and drama, art exhibitions and story telling. The festival also aims to foster inter-ethnic and religious amity among the different groups in Trincomalee. Each ethnic group and religious group will present dances, songs, arts, games and drama, organizers briefed journalists.

The program for the festival was developed taking into account children's inputs, especially from those in the welfare centres, and from five divisional secretariat divisions of the district, Eachchilampathu, Muttur, Kuchchaveli, Kinniya and Trincomalee Town and Gravets, organizers said.

Children from all parts of the district will be brought to Trincomalee town Friday evening by vehicles escorted by international agencies based in Trincomalee. They will be provided accommodation in schools and public buildings in the east port town till they return to their respective village Sunday, organizers said.

Mr. Andy Le May, Ms Anna of TOUCHSTREAM, Ms Elizabeth of International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Trincomalee and Ms.Rajakumari of UNICEF in Trincomalee also attended the press briefing.


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