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Sunday, 28 September 2008

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Marching forward with children

Children of the world, I pray You’ll stay alive to see the day,When calm, peace, and love will show In each and every place you go. Throw away those deadly guns and knives And try to salvage those many lives Whose hopes and dreams will never be fulfilled By hate and bullets they’ll be killed.

These few words penned by Jocelyn Sxheer will tell us of the nature of the world that children need to grow up in. But caught in many social evils and terror, the children of today yearn for peace. The prolonged nature of terrorism in Sri Lanka and the extent of violence and conflict children’s experience have negatively impacted their lives in relation to gender, age, socioeconomic status and religious affiliation. It is hoped that by sharing the experience of inter-religious harmony and by creating a platform for interaction among these children, this event will enable to foster positive relations among different ethnic and religious groups and promote inter faith dialogue.

If children of another country can voice together with the children who live in a terror stricken land for peace, wouldn’t that effort deserve warm welcome?

Being the members of an award winning world class brass band, children living in Thailand will beat drums together with the Sri Lankan children praying for peace in Sri Lanka on the forthcoming ‘World Children’s Day’.

The main objective of the team, with over 100 children who are Buddhists is to voice their plea to the world to bring peace to Sri Lankan children.

A band, normally in its early days martched giving the bitter message of the commencement of a war. These children will march the roads of Negombo, Nochchiyagama, Balapitiya, Tangalle and Colombo heralding the message of peace.

“We believe that when we love what the children love, then they will give what we want”, Rev. Fr. Anthony Pinto, Provincial Superior of Don Bosco Sri Lanka said.

He said these children who belong to poor families in Thailand were happy to visit Sri Lanka as they were waiting to contribute their share to create an era where the peace doves fly in the skies of Sri Lanka

“They had a door-to-door campaign to collect money to buy air tickets to Sri Lanka and the voice of these award winning drummers will merge with the drum beatings of over 1,500 Sri Lankan children coming from the four corners of the country including Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Mannar. Ven. Konde Gammulla Gnanasiri Thera of the Agurukaramulla Temple, Negombo said the event would be jointly organised by the Buddhist and Catholic priests and would show the world that yearning for peace has no barriers.

“Priests of Don Bosco and the Buddhist monks in Negombo worked for the betterment of the children for years. “We voiced against child abuse for years. We all believe that we all can do a lot to make the world a better place for children”, he said.

Taking a big challenge of cooking food for over 1,500 children, the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka will provide meals for these children who take part in the children’s day event.

The award winning Sarasit Phithayalai School Marching and Show Band are the gold medal winners at the 2006 World Marching Show Band Championships in Korea. The children from nine to 18 years will perform at the event and they have been invited by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to perform at Temple Trees.

The band with the theme of ‘Marching with Children Towards Peace’ will perform music and sing a few Sinhalese and Buddhist songs.n

 

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