An awareness session was conducted at the National Seminary in Kandy on 12th of May 2023 with the objective of enlightening the major seminary brothers and the staff regarding the social issues and structural discrimination faced by the plantation community in Sri Lanka for the past 200 years.

Rev. Fr. Michael Rajendram, National Animator for the LLPP program addressed the gathering. Mr. Sajith Silva, Manager for the Ecological Conservation and Plantation People’s Unit and Ms. Vaishnave Lavaneswaran from Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC also took part in facilitating the sessions.

The session began with a basic introduction and history of the LLPP program, which was delivered by Mr. Sajith Silva. Later, Fr. Michael Rajendram presented the social issues faced by the Plantation community in various human aspects. He also narrated how the Catholic Church initiated the empowerment programs in the early 20th century targeting the community especially through the establishments of education and vocational training institutes in the areas where majority of the plantation communities reside. He pointed out, how the young church leaders could shed more concern in the emancipation of this highly marginalized and vulnerable community. He also invited the brothers and fathers who have come from the plantation community to play an active role in this endeavor while nourishing the communities with spiritual guidance.

Mr. Sajith Silva also explained the activities conducted under the LLPP program such as the scholarships for A/L students, career guidance to children, legal clinics to provide necessary legal documents to access the government services etc and many other activities such as the formation of CSOs to work for favorable policy changes to benefit this community.

Fr. Michael further stated that this program is not project based however; it is designed with a 10-year plan to achieve realistic transformation. He said, “This program is based on advocacy and lobbying for the rights of the community, which is the basis of the program.”

The session ended fruitfully. Thereafter brothers from the Plantation community spoke to the LLPP team stating that they love the initiative taken by Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC, the National Centre to uplift their community that has been suffering for 200 years facing uncountable number of issues.

The session was organized under the leadership and guidance of Rev. Fr. Expeditus Jayakody, Rector, for the National Seminary of Our Lady Lanka.