Sunday, May 13, 2012

Voices for Change: An ancient interview on the Colombo Spirit

November 1, 2011 (TCS) - It’s an unpleasant reality but human rights are violated on a frighteningly regular basis. Children are bullied, teenagers are ragged and adults are subject to domestic violence. This continues and is constantly swept under the rug – why? Because people are too afraid to speak out in their own defence.

The [Red] Movement is the voices of all these people, finally calling for a change.

While it’s widely known that it is ‘bad’ to steal and beat up people, this cause looks into the darker nooks and crannies, into issues that plague schools, homes and workplaces – bullying, abuse and domestic violence. The Movement, with a changing adjective according to the headline issue being addressed, was founded with the aim of promoting awareness among citizens of their human rights. They’re not addressing issues that make the front page every day but more sensitive, emotional situations that tend to be overlooked or ignored by society

It is of paramount importance that in today’s society, people – especially young children – know that these rights exist.
Sri Lanka is a country that’s seen war so up-close that people are almost accustomed to the violence. In comparison to the bombs and mass civilian deaths, an instance of bullying might seem insignificant. Quite on the contrary, this too has an adverse impact on society.

Founder of The Movement Senel Wanniarachchi states that the issues they’re aiming to bring to light are ones that people don’t talk about. “Situations like teenage suicide, bullying and domestic violence are issues conveniently avoided by society” he says.

There are a range of issues that The Movement plans to target. Bullying, ragging, teenage suicide and domestic violence are a few. Being that there are a significant amount of ragging-related deaths and suicides over the years, Wanniarachchi hopes to organize campaigns such as ‘Suicide Prevention Weeks’ as are commonly seen in Western countries.

“Society has set a range of stereotypes, what’s ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ but we want to show kids that it’s alright to not conform to society’s expectations” Senel says. By collaborating with respected sports and society icons, they hope to project the ideology that it’s okay to break the ‘mold’. “We want to change the mindset of the people” he expressed, adding that they want to make society more sensitive to people with psychological conditions and other disorders that aren’t well understood.
The Movement is just getting off the ground and their main tool for spreading their message is the media. “It’s still a lot of mere ideas but at the end of the day, we want to get people talking” Senel says, awareness being their basic yet most powerful strategy at the moment.

Young, committed voices for change are what The Movement in looking for. Anyone interested in writing, graphics and helping the team get their word across can write to for more details.

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