On the 23rd of August 2017, GNRC–Sri Lanka conducted a roundtable meeting themed, “Ethics Education to Strengthen Families and Nurturing Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence Against Children”. The event was organized by Arigatou International’s Ethics Education for Children, Sarvodaya Movement, Walpola Rahula Institute and The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
The objectives of the roundtable discussion was to reflect on the state of violence against children in Sri Lanka, particularly in the family setting and its effects on early childhood development. The role of religious communities in challenging cultural and social norms that justify violence, as well as their role in supporting families through nurturing values and spirituality in children was reviewed by participants.
Participants shared good practices from religious communities and civil society organizations that help prevent and address violence against children in the family context, particularly in areas that were affected by the civil war. The roundtable meeting proved to be successful as there was active participation, especially insights from faith leaders. This resulted in a commitment by religious leaders and faith based organizations to take action to endorse the Panama Commitment on Ending Violence Against Children and to protect children by providing safe space to express themselves.
As a follow up to this roundtable discussion, GNRC–Sri Lanka, End Child Poverty and Sarvodaya Movement proposed to create a Sri Lankan Network of religious leaders and faith based organizations to work on issues related to children at the community level.