The Paalam Project


    We are Paalam, a group of students and educators from both Penn State and northern Sri Lankan secondary schools that work in conjunction with the non-governmental organization, SJC 87 and Cultural Conversations, our financial and artistic supporter. The Paalam Project allows for school youth located in post-conflict Sri Lanka to use the creative art of playwriting as a tool for self-reflection and community-meditation. After giving youth a prompt (i.e., the youth's role in rebuilding and contributing to the future of Sri Lanka) and providing workshops in playwriting, Penn State Oxfam will form a group that will analyze the end-products of this creative endeavor. From the submitted plays, this group will pick four monologues and two short skits that are the most original and thought-provoking scripts, which will then be performed by actors at Penn State through a Paalam showcase, in addition to Cultural Conversations' New Works Festival. All funds raised will go to the youths' education.




     There is a need for such a project because playwriting will allow for others to see Sri Lanka’s social and political restoration, rebuilding, rejuvenation, and reconciliation through the eyes of the younger generation. This in itself is an opportunity that is rarely given and a gift that is rarely received, especially to American students who are situated thousands of miles away from the conflict. We also believe that playwriting can be used as a rehabilitative tool in the current post-conflict situation of Sri Lanka that allows youth to fully flesh out their emotions in what is initially a very private and artistic method to what ends up becoming a public sharing that opens the arena up for discourse and analysis at PSU campus and even within the playwrights' schools. We intend to use the winning scripts to set a play at Penn State, which will help raise awareness in a creative, legitimate, and representative manner.  

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