A discussion was held on 16th of March 2023 at the Caritas Sri Lanka, SEDEC Auditorium to seek support and collaborations from the Colombo based media institutions, to highlight the issues faced by the plantation communities in Sri Lanka. In 2023/24, Sri Lankans would remember and commemorate the 200 years of arrival of the plantation community ancestors to then Ceylon from the Southern part of India to work in coffee, tea and road development work under the British Colonial rule.
Caritas Sri Lanka spearheaded this unique initiative in 2022 to voice for the rights of the plantation community and while heavily thinking of the empowerment of the plantation people. The approach would be to collaborate and network with like-minded and other civil society organizations who are already implementing projects, programs or any humanitarian interventions for the welfare and progression of this marginalized community.
Under this above initiative, Caritas Sri Lanka invited the Editors, News Editors and journalists from the Media Institutions such as MTV Maharaja, Hiru Tv, Sooriyan FM, The Island, Virakesari, SLBC, Tamil mirror and Sunday Times.
Mr. Sajith Silva, Unit Head of the Ecological Conservation and Plantation People’s Unit explained the importance of networking, especially when working for the rights based issues such as that of the plantation community in Sri Lanka.
He also invited the media personal to join hands with Caritas Sri Lanka to uplift the lives of the Plantation people and to bring their real human and pathetic stories to the other communities with the objective of changing the hearts and minds of the other ethnic groups towards the agonies of this marginalized community living in Sri Lanka.
Rev. Fr. Michael Rajendram, the National Animator of “Lighting the Lives of the Plantation People” Program stated that we should all work to make the plantation people become meaningful citizens and endeavor to integrate them into society on par with others. He also said that Media should give more spaces to the unheard voice of the plantation people.
“Better to allocate more space for article and air space for the programme on the plight of the Plantation people. Especially Sinhala Media should pay more attention towards the cries of this marginalized community and their unsolved issues,” he said.
All the participants assured their fullest support to Caritas Sri Lanka and promised to give more publicity and space for activities related to the empowerment of the Plantation people.