Muslim Aid and AmeriCares bridge links with Muslim and Tamil villages in Mutur
On Thursday 26th of February, a ‘Friendship Bridge’, built jointly by Muslim Aid and AmeriCares was opened to traffic between the Muslim village of Arafa Nagar and the predominately Tamil village of Amman Nagar. These two communities in Mutur were left displaced after 20 years of conflict where over 57,000 people were forced to flee their homes due to the bombings and gunfire.
In 2006, the communities of Arafa Nagar and Amman Nagar decided to return to restart their livelihoods. However, when they arrived back, they had to rely on boats or swim to cross the river. Their land was covered in debris, buildings were damaged and the water wells were dirty.
With the help of Muslim Aid starter kits, the people were able to clean up their land in order to start farming as well as build temporary shelters. Muslim Aid also helped to clean the well providing access to clean drinking water. Muslim Aid, AmeriCares and UMCOR were also able to help the returnees in restarting their livelihoods by providing small grants giving people the chance to start their own businesses.
The bridge was finally handed over to the communities on the 26th of February in a special ceremony. The bridge serves as a testament to empowering communities to work together for the future and linking them in a post conflict era.
"The new 19 metre bridge unites more than 300 ethnically diverse communities in the Arafa Nagar and the Amman Nagar villages,” said AmeriCares Sri Lanka Country Director Lisa Hilmi.
"Building bridges is always a challenge and this bridge has had its fair share of challenges" said Amjad Saleem, Muslim Aid Sri Lanka's "What is even more important however is building bridges between communities."