Building bridges in Sri Lanka
A new UnionAID project is currently being piloted in Sri Lanka which seeks to build relationships, and community activity, across ethnic groups who have been divided by the bitter civil war.
UnionAID has forged a new partnership with the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union which has a record of effectiveness in a very difficult environment.
The FTZGSEU has not only successfully organized workers in the Free Trade Zone factories, but has also previously worked with Christian World Service to establish Women’s Centres for the women factory workers, and to build new housing in the wake of the destructive Boxing Day Tsunamai in 2004.
The new project will work with Tamil Hindu and Moslem workers and Singhalese workers and others, to develop an exchange programme so women workers can stay in the homes of fellow workers of a different ethnicity/religion, in another area of the country for several days and to jointly attend seminars and cultural activities.
The objective is to build a network/organisation which would work together in a community development model to address issues, and to jointly advocate as women workers. There will be lectures and group discussions on the issues faced by them as women and sharing of different and similar aspects of their lives.