The Birth of the Global Peace Village

Sri Lanka has been a victim of the Civil War since 1983 with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists claiming the Northern Part of the Island as a separate state for themselves. In the year 2000, the Government initiated peace talks of which the outcome was a temporary ceasefire agreement.

Escort BayanWhen the late Major General Janaka Perera was serving in Minneriya (a border village), he requested BPW Sri Lanka to provide food, clothes and medicine to the displaced people in the refugee camps who have been suffering for 20 years with the on-going civil war. We visited Illukpitiya, and we saw to our horror the over-crowded camps with the appalling sanitary conditions. However, the people they themselves had realised that the situation was unbearable and had moved into the jungle and were living in make shift shelters. These shelters consisted of four sticks and a plastic sheet for the roof. Ms. Gunawardena with her Committee initiated finding ways and means of obtaining funds to build permanent housing for these displaced people.

The foundation stones were laid for the first three houses with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Army. Dr. S P Wickramasinghe donated the first house. The second house was donated by Mr. Nimal Kariyawasam, and the third by Ms. Gwendolyn Kuhadewa and other members.

……….This was the birth of the Global Peace Village

With handing over of the first three houses, the members and the invitees realised the need for more housing. The 2nd Phase of the project was to complete another fifty houses and the keys were handed over to the recipients in the presence of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the then Prime Minister, Hon. Ferial Ashraff, Hon. Maithripala Sirisena, Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Hon. Siripala Gamlath, M.P., officials from the Diplomatic Missions in Sri Lanka, and Members of BPW International who had flown down to Sri Lanka and who had donated generously to make this village the 1st Peace Village in the world where three ethnic groups live in harmony.

At this occasion Hon. Minister, Ms. Ferial Ashraff donated 50 houses.

Now the area consists of three villages - Illukpitiya, Gaminipura and Palliyagodella with over 500 houses in 40 perches of land; electricity is from the main grid; and there is a 50 km. of paved road.

With the generosity of the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan whose President at that time was Mr. Anil Cooray, a water tank was constructed providing purified drinking water to 150 families, costing over Rs.2.5 million which is a privilege enjoyed by the peace village dwellers, as the water in this entire district is polluted and kidney decease is prevalent in the area.

Ms. Rohini Cooray, President BPW Sri Lanka donated a fully-fledged playground to the village children. They also have a place to worship - a gilded statue of Buddha was gifted by the Hunupitiya Ganagaramaya and a Mosque was donated by a Muslim philanthropist.

To make this village a perfect working model, we need to provide sustainable income for the villagers. We have received a grant of 150 acres of cultivatable land from the Government which we hope to develop in to a corporative farm where the assets of the village will be enjoyed commonly by the entire village. Before we embark on the farming project, we need immediately a source of agricultural water. For this purpose we intend cleaning up the abandoned ancient tank ‘wewa’ situated in close proximity, the cost of which will be over rupees three million.

Business and Professional Women Sri Lanka Bring Fame & Prestige to Sri Lanka through the Global Peace Village Concept
The message from the President of Sri Lanka on the 1st Global Peace Village at Illukpitiya reads; “This model I believe will help nations in strife to secure peace in their countries”

The Prime Minister’s message describes this unique venture as “a model for interaction and sharing of best practices between such global villages.”

“Cooperation amongst all people cannot remain a dream, but something that must become an actuality if humanity is to survive. We cannot afford to wait long in this changing and changed world. It is now that we, men and women of all nations must recognize that as no man lives unto himself, and no country can live unto itself." This is a quotation from Dr. Lena Madesin Philips, Founder of BPW International.

Business and Professional Women Sri Lanka was awarded the Medal of Excellence for An Outstanding Project and a Certificate of Merit at the 25th BPW International Congress at Luzern, Switzerland.

The Outstanding BPW Medal & Certificate were presented to Ms. Janaki Gunawardena at a ceremony held at the auditorium of the Urban Development Authority by Ms. Ambika Shrestha, the Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific BPW International who flew in from Nepal.