The Beyond Borders Project, initiated by the Sunera Foundation with the aim of forming a social union between two towns, intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and in turn used as a tool towards peace and reconciliation between two communities, was carried out during the months of May and June 2015. The two towns selected for the project were Jaffna and Anuradhapura where Sunera has ongoing workshops for the disabled. These two communities have two extremely different cultures, lifestyles and languages. A selected number of regular workshop participants were chosen to be a part of Beyond Borders project as per the criteria given in the project proposal.
The participants from Anuradhapura together with the trainers and accompanying parents went to Jaffna for a 3-week residential programme, and likewise, a group of participants and trainers from Jaffna went to Anuradhapura for the same workshop. Whilst living together they learned each others lifestyles, cultures and toured the respective hometowns exploring another part of their country while building lasting friendships.
The groups also created a theatrical piece together which was the highlight of the project and was performed to a large audience in both home towns.
Sunera started work in the tea plantations in 2007, in Hatton and Maskeliya. The pilot project was funded by the bilateral programme of the British High Commission. With this project, we have expanded our outreach to persons living with disability in the up-country region of Sri Lanka, which faces serious disadvantages in key areas such as health, education, access to justice and fundamental rights. Our workshops aim at empowering disabled youth in this region, through creative expression.
Over the years, we have run regular performing arts workshops, leading to theatrical performances, such as stage plays and street theatre, as well as seminars and counselling programmes for schoolgoers and parents.
The Tsunami Theatre Outreach Project (T-TOP) was specially designed for children and young people who were traumatized by the Tsunami of 2004.
Using our tried and tested workshop methodology, we worked with over 1600 children in all the tsunami affected areas. Our trainers were selected from those who had followed a drama therapy course in the National Youth Services Council (Sri Lanka).
This project covered a period of 2 ½ years.
• The Deutsche Bank
• The East-West Centre in Hawaii
• Siege Social Jules
• American Jewish Joint Distribution Centre
• Global Fund for Children and Force of Nation Aid Foundation
Medical Camps – 2008
Sunera, in collaboration with Sarvodaya, conducted medical camps for its workshop participants across the country. The comprehensive medical examinations which were conducted under this programme benefited every participant, who was able to seek out medical treatment from the hospitals. This project was funded by the Jewish Joint Distribution Council.
Parents’ Counselling Programme – 2009
A counselling programme was organized by the Sunera Foundation and conducted by Sarvodaya, for the parents of our workshop participants. Approximately 1000 parents benefited from this project, which raised awareness amongst parents and caregivers on how they could interact more effectively with their family members living with disability.
Sunera/Amurt Livelihood Project – 2009
Sunera, in partnership with the Japan based INGO – ‘AMURT,’ implemented a livelihood project on therapeutic benefits of horticulture for the parents and participants of our workshops in the Galle district.
Jewellery Making – 2010 & 2011
Singapore- based jewellery designer, Rashanta Devanesan, conducted two jewellery-making workshops for the participants and parents of our Panadura and Maharagama workshops. These workshops were much enjoyed.
Crossing borders through forum theatre, Sunera has venutred into a new form of theatre, to Sri Lankan audiences. The Forum Theatre project was launched in June 2008 funded by FLICT – Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation.
With Resource person, Shastri Mallawarrachi, Sunera successfully completed 4 Forum Theatre performances in the Kurunegala District. Participants from all the workshops took part in it. The performances were held four times in Nikaweratiya, Kurunegala city area, Wariyapola and Narammala.
Sunera Goes Beyond Borders – 2006
“Beyond Borders” is an initiative by the British Council that seeks to create links between the UK, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As part of the ‘Beyond Borders’ project, a two-day festival was held in Colombo in March 2006, titled ‘Junction’, for over 40 delegates of British Council branches from around the world. At the culmination of this project, our Colombo workshop participants performed ‘Hansa Geethaya’, which was a combination of a poignant story, excellent acting and truly remarkable dance sequences.
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of British Council in Sri Lanka – 2009
British Council of Sri Lanka celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2009. On this occasion, Sunera Foundation was invited to be part of the activities. Sunethra Bandaranaike, Chairperson of Sunera Foundation, addressed over 40 delegates from around the world on ‘Sri Lankan Focus on Disability’, in April 2009.
On the same day, Sunera’s Kurunegala workshop presented a play title ‘Face to Face’, for the delegates and invitees at the British Council Auditorium. This production was produced and directed by Senior Trainer Prabath Attanayake.
The gala event of the celebrations was a play titled ‘If I were You’, produced by British Director and Playwright William Scott Richards. This was a trilingual play which was staged in Colombo and Kandy in November 2009. Two of Sunera’s hearing and speech impaired trainers, Indika Bandara and Chatura Dayananda, performed in this production, and received much acclaim and appreciation from the audiences.