02/15/2012, 00.00
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A photography course to protect Sri Lanka’s environment

by Melani Manel Perera
Theoretical and practical lessons aimed at 10 Sinhalese and Tamil boys and girls between 18 and 28. An environmental organization and two former professional photographers have organized the course to educate young people about nature conservation.

Moratuwa (AsiaNews) - A free photography course aimed at 10 young boys and girls to protect nature and the environment of Sri Lanka. This is the idea of ​​Eco Friendly Volunteers (Eco-v), an association of environmentalists who with the help of two former Canadian professional photographers organized lectures and practices of photography at the Centre of Sarvodaya Moratuwa (Western Province). At the end of the course, entitled My Story photo project, the students presented an exhibition of their work.

The My story photo project was started six years ago by Susan and Nathaniel Tileston, a Canadian couple who worked for over 20 years in Chicago and New York. After visiting a refugee camp on the Burmese border with Thailand, Susan decided to exploit her work as a photographer to give people a creative outlet. This is the first year that the Tilston have organized the My Story photo project in Sri Lanka.
The Eco-V chose Sinhalese and Tamil youth between 18 and 28, from various districts of the island. "We feel responsible towards nature and the environment - Kaanchana Weerakoon, founder and president of Eco-V tells AsiaNews. Instead, today's young people are less interested. Thus, photography seemed the ideal tool to raise awareness of these issues. "

Rishanthini Jayakumara, 25, is Tamil and comes away from the Matale district (North Central Province). She has been working as a graphic designer for her brother's print shop, and followed the course because she wants to devote herself to protection and conservation. "These lessons - she explains to AsiaNews - were a gift, I learned so much. In my opinion, beautiful and meaningful photographs can communicate something to people. Let them know how to love the nature that surrounds us."

"My goal - says Dhanushka Maduranga, a 23 year old Sri Lankan from the district of Ratnapura - is to share what I learned from this course with the young people of my village, even with elementary school children. We are primarily responsible to protect our nature , of which the country is so rich".

For the couple, who followed the young people and showed them some photographic techniques, "it was a success and a pleasure to work with such talented young people. They will have a great future."

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