I first started working with the British Council with the Women of the World (WOW) conference which was held in Colombo in December of 2017. We found the team to be focused and committed to fostering a discussion around gender and sexuality, and also cyber exploitation and violence (CEV), the latest manifestation of gender-based and intimate partner violence in Sri Lanka. We were encouraged by their open-mindedness and their willingness to offer us a space to discuss these difficult issues.
The WOW planning meetings were always an experience, and my opportunity to learn during a session on cyber exploitation that we conducted for the staff of British Council, where participants were ready and open to discuss the varied manifestations of CEV.
I feel that the British Council has a significant role to play in arresting gender-based and intimate-partner violence, and making sure everyone enjoys being a free citizen of Sri Lanka.
My first visit to the British Council was as a kid of eight. It was always a space that I identified with an opportunity for learning. Their support of The Grassrooted Trust’s online education initiative bakamoono.lk with a WOW grant, following the conference, helped us further build content and identify a pool of writers in Sinhala and Tamil that we continue to work with even after the completion of the grant. This grant also allowed us to work with a grassroots women’s empowerment community in Kurunegala, to help them develop their 'Athwela' community magazine.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
The journey has just begun, and I feel that the British Council, with their education mandate, has a significant role to play in arresting gender-based and intimate-partner violence, and making sure everyone enjoys being a full and free citizen of Sri Lanka regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.