We came as strangers but we are now a family
By Larry Marshall
“This has been a life-changing experience. We came here as strangers but we are now a family. We have learned so much about how similar we are.” Shyama (Muslim woman participant)
The Sri Lankan Diaspora community in Australia numbers over 100,000 and nearly half live in Melbourne. This community was a unique actor in the long civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009. However, the Diaspora is not homogenous and represents all faiths, ethnicities and language groupings as well as political opinions and experiences. A key challenge therefore for peace building and reconciliation is to acknowledge grievances, respect multiple opinions and bring diverse groups together to address the needs of all the people who suffered in the war.
This is why when the Uniting Church’s Uniting Journeys program decided to support a pilgrimage back to their roots by the Sri Lankan Diaspora it had to be an interfaith journey for peace and reconciliation.
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