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Diversity creates dimension

I am Ameerun Nisha from Silawathurai on the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. I’m a proud single mother and a community activist who believes that instead of waiting for a solution, we as women can create it together, for each other. I have been a social activist for many years, and I have found community work being multi-disciplinary, looking at things from different perspectives and consensus-building.

Being a SEDR Active Citizen and following the Active Citizens journey has made me realise that we were able to take something we were passionate about and learn how to use our skills to make a change. We learned how to navigate our issues through research, while learning more about networks, power dynamics, alternate dispute resolution approaches and teamwork.

Even though working for our community is a motivating factor, we still had to face challenges from the same community due to the customs, beliefs and limitation of our religious practices. We struggled with certain activities to bring people together without any discrimination of gender, caste or religious beliefs. We were forced to look for alternative approaches and activities to include everyone without any discrimination. Through this process we also understood that we need to cater for everyone’s needs equally to bring them together to move forward as a society.

Through this journey we were able to achieve a long-term dream of our two villages, Silawathurai and Koolankulam which is wanting a common playground for both villages. Through our Social Action Project, we mobilised the support and intervention of the Divisional Secretariat [3], Irrigation Department, Farmers’ Society and the local communities, and we were able to get a dedicated piece land temporarily assigned for the betterment of our children and youth from both villages to develop their extra-curricular activities. This SEDR Active Citizens journey also gave my team and myself respect and a great rapport with a cross-section of stakeholders from our society.

[3] The Divisional Secretariats (DS) are the grass root level administrative units which delivers most government services in Sri Lanka. Apart from extending services to public, the DSs are responsible in directing and coordinating all the development activities taking place in a specific division.

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