Four solid days of training served as prep for the team prior to the tour. Sessions inculcated in them values and enhanced our leadership skills in order to help each of us pursue the mission with success. Following which, alongside the national director and those of the senior team, the Dream Team 2014 left Colombo on the 15th of January in anticipation of a successful tour in the North.
Having no previous experience in carrying out workshops and assemblies for over a hundred excited students at a time the team was feeling slightly nervous of what lies ahead of them. Nevertheless from the very first session it was a journey of experiential learning and identifying strengths and weaknesses. Each workshop or assembly that followed was better than the previous and so assured the smiles that would leave the halls. It was becoming more evident that the new Dream Team was making an impact by building peace and reconciliation in schools, giving students a better understanding of each other’s ethnicities. So from Jaffna to Mullaithivu did the team leave with more exuberance than before? By then the team had understood each other’s strengths and prepared for the following workshops in a more strategic manner bringing out the fullest potential not only in each other but all the students who enthusiastically participated in the programs. Many schools assured us of their support and participation throughout the year establishing or renewing their Sri Lanka Unites School Chapters within that very week.
The following week the team left in view of the south with more confidence than before. Not only were the workshops and assemblies carried forth well but the SHOW You Care Campaign too was wrapped up with success in Galle creating much needed awareness in regards to sexual harassment of women. A group of students supported the SLU team as they too rallied around in an effort to put a stop to women harassment. Ignored by some and accepted by others each individual boys and girls alike, spread the message of awareness and joined hands with the team to support us. The team was greeted with much warmth by all the schools from Galle to Tangalle, Matara and back. We were also able to organize a workshop in the Sri Lanka Unites Reconciliation Center located in Kamburupitiya and so ended the tour to the South upon establishing and renewing bonds with yet another strong coalition.
The much awaited tour came to an end in the East where the team gained immense experience. Verbal communication was not necessary; we now understood each other so well a simple gesture was enough to ensure the message was understood and so we made our statements from Ampara to Kalmunai, Batticalo and back. Simply under a tree, in a classroom or a large hall our message to the youth of the East too was conveyed. The new Dream Team also visited the school at which we hope to facilitate the highlight of our Flagship event which is the Future Leaders Conference. It was an encouraging visit, reminding us of the eventful year ahead.
As always a restless bus ride always completed our day’s efforts placing a smile on all our faces. Confusion and irritancy in an effort for one conversation to be heard over another the team travelled overnight and returned thrice to Colombo only to part from each other with disappointment much awaiting the next meeting. Memories made will last us a life time, from having to brush our teeth around a garden tap to enjoying dinner on the middle of a deserted road, from trespassing into kiddies playgrounds all over the country to engraving our names in the sands of beaches in point Pedro and beruwala, in arugambay, pasikuda and Trincos marble beach. Definite sense of accomplishment is encompassed in us all today and with a large turnout anticipated for the conference this year. The best is yet to come!
By - Shehara De Silva