FOOTSTEPS TO FREEDOM | Sunday Observer

FOOTSTEPS TO FREEDOM

Courage, Compassion and Commitment team
Courage, Compassion and Commitment team

Today thousands of young people walk to maintain a toned body, which is a good thing.

However 3 young people are going to walk, all around the coastal areas of Sri Lanka for a very noble cause covering a distance of 1460 kilometers in 72 days. I met up with Ranil Thilakaratne, who was junior to me at college. Whilst at school amiable Ranil displayed his prowess in rugger. Today he is the head of the CCC counseling hotline 1333, which has its roots in Australia. The CCC (courage, compassion and commitment) line which answers hundreds of calls daily is staffed by a team of trained volunteers and acts as a suicide prevention lifeline. Ranil was brought into this service by Bill Deutrom in 2014.

So how did this idea to walk come about?

In 2016 clinical psychologist Nivendra Uduman commenced a determined walk across the island from Point Pedro to Dondra. This dynamic young man had asked Ranil to commence a walk this year and the duo are now joined by a vibrant young female-Sara Nazoor.

I met up with Ranil, who has been busy practicing. He explains ‘For the past month we have been daily walking a distance of 10 kilometers, starting at 6 am. We want to be focused on our long task ahead, which we will complete in 72 days. We begin the walk on April 1, (Sunday) and hope to complete it on June 10. We start from Mount Lavinia and the walk will culminate at Independence Square”.

Ranil, Nivendra and Sara will also stop at major cities along the coast and distribute leaflets about the counseling line, as their aim is to break the silence. They want people to be able to share their problems and get guidance, it is about saving lives. The CCC line founded by Jeta Deweperuma also has an annual bikethon (cycling event) every August. Ranil invites other young people to join them along the way. The walk can be traced on the Footsteps to Freedom facebook page. -(DJ)

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