Blog Archives

Day: Fourteen

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Day Fourteen features a photograph by the BB team.

Fists Don’t Listen

by Abdul Halik Azeez

Fists don’t listen in my blurry state

I’m a dog without a home

My psyche can’t love; slave to a world

that never throws me a bone

The system rules the outer world

My task is your sustenance

The system makes me sub human

And my mind is past its penance

No, my fists can’t hear your blurry love

My fists are our survival

I’m angered by your garb of innocence

With no jungle nor a rival

So I beat and beat away from me

How incorrect can I prove you?

And somewhere inside I know it’s wrong

But ‘right’ is nothing I am used to

The economy’s gotten my humanity

My failings have gotten my heart

And what’s left of my morality

has gone without a spark

An animal inside human flesh

A clam a parrot an idle jest

Life is just a lark

And all I see is dark

The poem was inspired by a news clipping i read long ago about a retired champion heavy weight boxer. His son had given an interview saying that his father would come home drunk some nights and slam his mother (the boxer’s wife) with a combination. Anyone who’s watched boxing knows the power a heavyweight puts into a hard combination (a series of hard punches meant to destroy an enemy). Now imagine that combination slamming into soft, yielding flesh. imagine them pulping brittle bone. The bone of a person that loves you, or they would have undeniably left by now. I think men who beat their wives do so out of a sense of deep frustration about they way they are treated in the world. About how their illusions of reality don’t play out the way they think they should. Their ambitions are thwarted again and again and they have no moral or spiritual framework to release the tension. It is undoubtedly a failing of the man concerned, but it is also a societal disease, this shouldn’t happen in a healthy God fearing society.


Watch this blog for the next 2 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

The photograph concept was thought up by Halik– a board member of Beyond Borders. With the help of the BB team, a borrowed camera, bad lighting and a few doughnuts- the featured photograph was captured. Halik is a board member of Beyond Borders and blogs here when he is not bumming out or being a journalist/economist.


Day: Twelve

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Text can be changed.

Day twelve features a photograph by Salaf Tegal.

‘Violence’ is a harsh word. On hearing the phrase ‘violence against women’ what comes to mind may be brutal images of-  an acid burnt face, a severed limb, a broken bone or a black eye. Those are the more apparent forms of abuse. Equally horrendous but less visible is verbal abuse.

Many women are subjected to mental trauma- whether it’s their husbands, fathers or employers who issue the verbal onslaught. Derided daily in abusive and foul language most of these women believe they are worthless.

Recognising the severity of verbal abuse and the long term mental impact it has on women, Women In Need (WIN) provide counselling and other relevant services for victims of verbal abuse. Of the victims who have walked through their doors, WIN says they are severely psychologically affected.

All human beings deserve to be treated with respect.

Watch this blog for the next 5 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

Salaf Tegal is a guest contributor. He’s currently studying at Raffles- Malaysia, he’s an artist and photographer, more of his work can be found  here.

All Aboard for the Next 16 Days

We certainly are!

Joining the 16 days of (online) campaigning against gender violence- we’ll be blogging and tweeting more frequently from 25 November to 10 December.

Gender based violence is a pathosis in the world; no one- class, race or generation has been spared. The unpleasant truth is that you ARE affected by it directly or indirectly (friend or trauma induced behaviour in parents/ family). It’s been around for so long it’s deep rooted in all societies.

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been trying to weed it out. Celebrities and popular personalities have been trying to reach the world with a message to end gender based violence. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus sang about it with Facedown and author Amanda Adichie wrote about it in her book Purple Hibiscus. It’s going to take a lot more to bring an end to gender based violence– and your help can make a difference even if it’s in the smallest capacity.

Join the Women and Media Collective (WMC) in their 16 day campaign against gender based violence. Sing, write, tweet, draw- help out in whichever way you can!


At school; everyone's friendly after the play..

At school; everyone very friendly after the play.

Jerk? went well. The turn out was good and the cast was in top form. Many intervened and came up with their views and we are grateful to everyone who was present for helping us make it a success.

We are in the process of preparing a report on our findings and will share it as soon as it is complete. Also, optimistic plans are underway to do a few more performances to raise awareness of ADHD in the near future (fingers crossed). Pictures of the play will be up soon on flickr 🙂

Forum theater is one of Beyond Borders’ most eloquent modes of communication. If you’d like to do theater with us, well you’re in luck because we’re recruiting.

Our thanks go out to the following blogs which highlighted Jerk? before and after its screening; ASOB NQIM, The Abyss, The Ultimate Change, The Whackter’s Lair and to everyone who tweeted about it as well. Don’t think we missed anyone, but apologies if we did.

Fixing educashun


I was not a student who academically excelled in School. Whilst scoring high in subject such as Maths and Science, I was horrible at the subjects that required one to “study” for them. And even though I find writing absolutely enjoyable now, it was not so when I was in school. My teachers made me hate the subject.

A lot of people have been arguing for comprehensive reforms in Sri Lanka’s education sector. This would have to come in the form of reforming the methodology of teaching, reforming the systems of learning, and a complete revamp of the curricula.

Looking at how state funded schools are being used, we have to realize that schools are useless things, most of the time. Let me explain.

Read the rest of this entry

Here’s to the Crazy ones..

Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.

You can quote them.
Disagree with them.
Glorify, or vilify them.
But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

From a well known advert by Apple for a little morning inspiration. Here’s the video.

Activiating Youth

First appeared in the Sunday Times Mirror Magazine on 30th March 2008.

One in every six people in the world is a young person. And all over the world, young people almost always have been the first to speak out on issues that are affecting them, and their communities. Be it in the form of a silent protest, an uprising or a publicity stunt, youth activism is seen as a key component in an active and vigilant civil society.

We spoke to a few of Sri Lankan young people who are active in the social sphere of youth activism. Whilst some of them explicitly identified the work they do as youth activism, some were in the opinion that they are simply “doing something they like.” Some see youth activism in Sri Lanka as being limited to an elite group, who are from the urbanized areas, who have had a privileged education etc., who are the offspring of individuals who are active in the civil society movements.

Bimsara (26) was of the view that youth activism in Sri Lanka is either non-existent, or is short lived. She went on to say “Even the ones who get involved, do so for a short period of time or with very limited activities.” The main issues which young people in Sri Lanka focus on are seen as issues like employment, as they are more heartfelt, personal issues and some of the youth uprisings in the past are generally tied to issues around employment. “Young people are active or aware that they can play a role at the policy level.”

A few initiatives are visible in Sri Lanka as examples of youth activism. One such organization is the Beyond Borders project. This was initially founded as a project by an international organization working in Sri Lanka, but today has evolved into a completely youth run voluntary body. They work on issues ranging form sex education to conflict studies, all under the main theme and objective of promoting active global citizenship. Beyond Borders project takes on a direct approach, with most of their efforts focused on action instead of policy. They also use new media such as blogging and alternative media such as forum theatre in reaching out to the communities. More information can be found at their frequently updated blog (this!)

Deane (21) whose passion lies in liberal economics, does not see himself as a youth activist. “I just do what I like doing.” And his view is most young people are motivated by what they do, and do not see it as “activism.”

Another example of young people working on social change, is the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament. Regarded as Sri Lanka’s first youth-led, youth-run initiative, SLYP works under different areas of action, with the final goal of creating a cohesive Sri Lanka. This organization differs from the Beyond Borders project, as SLYP has access to national level policies, and has contributed to various policies relating to young people. The approach SLYP incorporates is a self-empowerment process for young people, where the young people themselves are the social change agent. They are in the process of organizing the second cycle of action, having completed two years of active social change. More information on the Youth Parliament can be found on their website

“Its young people today who will take over tomorrow. Therefore it’s important that they have a sense of social responsibility about what’s happening around them,” said Sachith (20), whose passion includes environment and global warming. However, he doesn’t think the level of engagement in Sri Lanka is adequate. “I don’t think we can be proud of the level of involvement”. His view is that more awareness is needed in young people, and that some young people tend to ignore issues affecting them. Talking of the socio-political environment, he’s of the opinion that young people are seen not seen as partners, but are expected to remain dormant. Young people are usually seen as the leaders of tomorrow, but they are now also playing a part as partners for positive social change today, taking control of issues which affect them, and working for the betterment of the society as a whole.

By Pink Boxing Gloves.

Thinking Beyond

The Sunday Times has an article about the recent Peace Camp facilitated by Beyond Borders; it talks about participatory learning, change and the viability of this sort of interventions. Here’s from Thinking Beyond :

The 3 day camp had a combination of sessions on issues related with peace – identity, stereotypes, conflict transformation, critical thinking, social activism, with more lighter things in life, like evening cricket (and rugby, football, volleyball), Baila-sessions, paintings, and a cultural night around a fire with performances from every District. The BBites strongly felt that learning should be fun, inclusive, and participatory – so there were no lectures or lengthy monologues (there might have been a couple!), the learning was primarily through activities and discussions.

They felt that the best way to “teach” this kind of topics, was not to teach at all, but instead, for the facilitator to become just that – a facilitator – an explorer, if you will, and walk with the “students” and not ahead of them, getting them to come up with the answers and maybe get them to see what you see.

The BBites learnt a lot too – as one of them put it, he has new found respect for his 7th grade teacher! Handling a bunch of 100 noisy teenagers is tough work but besides that, they did an exercise where they split the group into districts and asked them to write the 10 most pivotal events for Sri Lanka since independence. The disparity between the Trincomalee – version of history and most of the rest told its own story, something space constraints prevent us from relating here. Suffice to say that they have a long way to go and lot of work to do.

The idea of this sort of camp, according to the members of Beyond Borders, is to get young people to think about social issues in more depth and develop a more holistic understanding of subjects such as peace, conflict and identity. “More often, most of us have a general idea of what these terms mean, we hear them quite often but rarely do we take the time to actually think this deep into these things or learn more about them and that’s what this camp was all about – creating a space for these teenagers to think through things and experiment with alternative ways of thinking at problems and breaking stereotypes and misconceptions,” said one of the members.

o the million dollar question is, do these actually work? Will this bring peace? Frankly, the members of Beyond Borders don’t know, though they certainly hope it will help, and studies have shown that interventions like these do have an impact. As they put it “We do think “change” is possible and we believe that sustainable change can only come through an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary one. “We also think that change can come through young people not only because “we are the future” (like many adults like to think of us) but also because, we are the present.” [link]