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7-year journey of love and care: Building bridges and changing lives of youth


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In celebration of its seven year, the Unity Mission Trust recently held an event at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute to unveil a publication that commemorated the unique journey of the organisation committed to foresting unity, reconciliation and healing amongst Sri Lankan youth.

This book held stories of youth from across Sri Lanka who had transformed their lives and circumstances with the support and guidance of the organisation. The event was attended by trustees Maj. Gen (Rtd) Lohan Goonewardena – Chairman, Dian Gomes, Rukshan Perera, Ramola Sivasundaram, Nirmali Wickramasinghe, Anushya Coomaraswamy, Reyaz Mihular, Chandra Schaffter and Founder Trustees Bertal and Shyamala Pinto-Jayawardena

Unity Mission Trust commenced a unique journey in May 2009 to bring together and unite the Youth of Sri Lanka. The Trust set about achieving this objective initially by conducting four-day residential ‘Unity Camps’ for 550 student leaders from across Sri Lanka and also through one day ‘Zoom-In’ programmes for 200-300 student leaders across Sri Lanka. 

The greatest success and the joy of the Trustees is that very many of the 8,000+ students who have been touched by the message of the Trust, have continued to be associated with the work of the Trust. 

“Sixteen and 17 year olds who first joined us, unsure of what was happening, have now transformed into s a vibrant group of 20 to 24 year aged young adults, who are self-assured, confident and with the deeply ingrained belief that they are all equally valuable sons and daughters of ONE Mother Lanka,” stated Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena, Founder Trustee and Co-ordinator of the Trust. 

“These youth have now entered into various vocations and pursuits to better themselves. A number of them, who faced traumatic times in the past, particularly in the north, are today completing their university education; others have now spread out into fields as diverse as tourism; marketing; commerce; accounting and auditing; the Police Department and , said Major General (Rtd) Lohan Goonewardene, Chairman of the Trust. 

The work of the Trust has now grown and activities evolved from Unity Camps into different types of activities, all of which are ultimately focused on achieving the overall objectives of the Trust, which is to foster unity, integration and build bridges of friendship and understanding amongst the youth of our nation. 

“Constantly inculcating good values for the conduct of their lives and guiding these youth to undertake social care activities, builds up responsibility, respect for others and strengthen the personality profile of our youth,” explained Shyamala Pinto-Jayawardena, Co-Founder Trustee. 

The Trust has now built up an integrated action agenda for the years 2017 and 2018, commencing with a proposed National Action Plan to foster unity that will be presented to the President, as part of the celebration of a seven-year journey of love and care. 

The activities of the Trust are now carried out at regional level as well as centrally driven programmes at national level. UMT now has 14 active Regional Councils, a National Youth Leadership Council and a National Centre that drives and co-ordinates unity and integration activity at Regional Level. 

UMT Youth have now taken the message of unity to their own communities, as a result of some very creative and meaningful social care activities that are carried out on National Independence Day and on the UMT anniversary date of 29 October. 

UMT has an open door policy for volunteers who are interested in building up Sri Lanka through unity and integration. 

Trustees: Anushya Coomaraswamy, Kushan D’Alwis-PC, Dian Gomes, Maj. Gen. (Rtd). Lohan Goonewardena RSP, VSV, USP, ndc, IG (Chairman), Reyaz Mihular, Prof. Rohan Gunaratne, Dr. Wimal Karandagoda,, N. Vasantha Kumar, Rukshan Perera ,Shyamala Pinto-Jayawardena (Co-Founder Trustee), Chandra Schaffter, Ramola Sivasundaram, Jayakumar Thangavelu,  Dushyanthi Thusheetharan, Sanath Weeratunga, Nirmali Wickramasinghe, Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena (Founder/Co-ordinating Trustee)

More information on the work of the Trust can be obtained at Unity Mission Trust (UMT) on FB and @unitymission on Twitter and from the web on www.unitymission.lk.


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