Shanti Community Animation Movement

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Template:Infobox organization Shanti Community Animation Movement was founded in 1977 by Jesuit Fr. Michael Catalano. His work began among shanty dwellers along the canals in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and extended to refugees from the 29-year civil war. The work depends largely on the contributed labor of volunteers and includes educational and building projects, while fostering peace, reconciliation, and human development among the diverse peoples of Sri Lanka.

History

Fr. Catalano began his work among shanty-dwellers along the canal banks in the densely-packed capital of Sri Lanka, and spread to 12 centers. Besides those living along the Wellawatte and Dehiwela canals in Colombo, Shanti serves the resettlement areas in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. It received approval from the Presidential Taskforce in its work for reconciliation in areas affected by the wars.[1] The restorative justice aspect of the movement has been greatly helped by government soldiers working alongside the poor to build homes, schools, and community centers in the resettled areas.[1] Professors from the Catholic University of Milan have trained teachers in giving psychosocial support to victims of war,[1] and volunteers from abroad come to assist in the project.[2] Shanti also participates in an environmental training network.[3]

Programs

Over 39 years SACM has evolved and grown to include the following programs at most of six centers.

  • Pre-School. Education and nutrition program for those under 6.[4]
  • After-school and skills classes, for children and young people, as well as skill training for women; included are generators, sewing machines, computers, and bicycles, along with training in dancing, singing, and Hewisi Band.[5]
  • Awareness programs. For youth, mothers.
  • Elderly care. The centers host Saturday programs for the elderly to relax, enjoy music, dance, have lunch, and chat with friends; they are taught activities that provide therapeutic relief in their lives, like making carpets and baskets.
  • Poverty reduction program, through programs like he distribution of fishing nets. This includes much of the zones of Kilinochchi & Mallavi-Thunukkai.[1]
  • Peace and reconciliation. For the resettled victims of the war in Kilinochchi, SCAM has directed its effort toward building permanent housing, with the help of soldiers.[6][1]
  • Relief after natural disasters. Assisting children affected by flood and war in Trincomalee, and helping victims of erosion from the sea in Moratuwa and from floods in Trincomalee. SCAM's cross-cultural projects foster bonding between people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.[1][7]

References

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