While state-led efforts to address Sri Lanka’s fraught history have fallen short, civil society actors have found innovative ways to promote peace at the grassroots. Kiyawana Muddara, one such grass roots organization, uses the study of postage stamps as a vehicle for dialogue and reconciliation. The group’s “Send a Card and Bring a Smile” campaign, conducted with AHA! Project grant encouraged participants to write postcards and explore a rarely considered art form—the postage stamp—as a reflection of shared values and national identity. By sending affirming messages and gaining a greater appreciation of Sri Lanka’s history and diversity through stamps, these leaders sought to counter the pandemic-related trends of poor mental health and social fragmentation. This case review highlights Kiyawana Muddara’s unique approach to peacebuilding, and explores applicable lessons for other practitioners across South Asia.
AHA! small grant recipients work to mitigate specific impacts of COVID-19 in South Asia, focusing on threats to social cohesion, the spread of hate speech and misinformation, and the pandemic’s unique religious and gender dimensions. Kiyawana Muddara’s campaign, and similar initiatives offer significant potential to contribute to a more peaceful and inclusive Sri Lankan society