North/ South Student Sports Exchange Programme

The Foundation of Goodness was privileged to receive a Sports and Reconciliation Grant from the American Centre which enabled us to conduct a very special North/ South Student Sports Exchange Programme in 2014. It took place in two stages, the first being a visit by the Jaffna U17 Cricket team to Seenigama in November, followed by a visit to the north by the FoG Sports Academy U17 Cricket Team and the students from the FoG Tamil Class in December.

In November, the MCC Centre and Sports Academy were abuzz with excitement as they prepared to host a delegation of youth from the north. This was not an alien experience for them having previously hosted student exchanges from the north, during programmes such as the Cartwheel Initiative Arts and Multimedia Workshops, but each visit is special and unique in its own way, bringing new friends and new experiences for all those participating, and so the teachers, coaches, students and cricketers from the south were eager to meet their new friends from the north.

Having slept off their long and tiring journey at the FoG Sports Academy Accommodation Centre on the 28th, the 15 cricketers, their coach and MIC from the north delegation were fresh and eager to start their day with the Seenigama boys and girls on the 29th, and so the first order of the day was to take them on a tour of the Sports Academy and MCC Centre of Excellence, after which they settled in for a discussion and ideas exchange session with 15 students from the FoG Tamil Class along with their Tamil Teacher.

Their time together was a roaring success, with youth from both ends of the island coming forward to sing, dance and get to know each other better while laughter rang out across the room. After their morning of fun, the children from the south had a very important question for their new friends, they were planning to come visit them in the north soon, was there anything special from the south that their friends would want them to bring? After discussing their favorite foods from the south, the North U 17 cricket team headed out for the first friendly match of the visit, following which they spent some time in the Bryan Adams Swimming Pool, having a lot of fun and cooling down while training in the water, which was a novel concept to them. The boys ended the nights with a hearty dinner at a local hotel.

On the 30th was the 2nd friendly match between the North U17 and FoG U17, followed by lunch and an excursion of Galle, when they went sightseeing to broaden their own experience of the south before bidding a sad goodbye that evening.

But the separation did not last long, as the FoG U17 Team and the Tamil Class students were soon packing their bags to be reunited with their friends in the north. On the 21st of December, the group from Seenigama were on their way to the north, with delicious packages of food that had been requested by their friends during the visit to the south.

After visiting a few sights in Jaffna, the Seenigama kids retired for a refreshing night’s sleep, the 22nd brought a day filled with excitement and activity for the students. The girls and boys from the Tamil class spent the day interacting with students from St. Patrick’s College and Jaffna Central College while the north and south cricketers spent the morning and evening battling it out at two friendly matches. Everyone was sorry to say goodbye to their friends but we hope these friendships will continue as they grow older and light the way towards creating understanding and awareness between communities separated by years of conflict.


20th January 2015



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