THE RIGHT TO LANGUAGE: Effective implementation of the National Language Policy to enable bilingual service provision

This initiative aligns itself to the core objective and indirectly contributes to the second core objective of the National Language Fund (NLF). The initiative contributes to increase the capacity of local civil society organizations to ensure the entitlement of language rights and contribute towards national integration and reconciliation.

 

Language is a major issue for the estate people to access services from local authorities. This aspect has been overlooked from two angles: the point of the service provider and the point of the service receiver. From the service receiver’s point of view, in general, people who are confined to estates are not comfortable/confident enough to visit government offices on their own, and they prefer to have the company of a person who is knowledgeable about the procedure at such offices. This adversely affects the women in the plantation sector. Ability to speak in Sinhala is one main factor that gives confidence to attend to matters, especially, communicating with respective officials independently, since most of the government officers only speak Sinhala.

The initiative will;
• Facilitate Language competency of members of Praja Mandala and Community
Development Forums.
• Support Praja Mandala/Community Development Forum to initiate advocacy actions to
demand for their language rights.
• Conduct Forum Theatre Shows using a theatre group from the plantation communities to
create awareness on language rights.

  • Language rights are promoted in the overall interest of strengthening national integration and Reconciliation.
  • Increased awareness of language rights, while fostering engagement in, and support of, the implementation of the Official Language Policy.
  • Forums/conferences/workshops are conducted to facilitate collaboration amongst CSOs and respective public institutions through consultations, while fostering diversity and inclusion in discussions on issues related to language rights.