Impact of Cultural Education on Social Cohesion after a Sudden Disaster: With Reference to Two Flood Affected Locations in Colombo


Unexpected disasters may destruct people’s day-to-day life. Recent history about disasters occurred in Sri Lanka shows that non-victims of disasters tend to sense that such situations as ‘our’ problem rather than ‘their’ problem. In order to create such shared collective feeling cultural teaching play noticeable role. During May 2016 Sri Lanka went through severe flooding condition in Colombo district. Six to ten feet flood water were observed in some households. Throughout this flood, majority of affected people had no choice but to leave their houses and stay in flood shelters. Mainly religious places, schools and community centers within affected area used as flood shelters. Random people all over country, organizations and government united to recover victims. People offered food and other essential items for affected people. This research try to understand how cultural education influence on building social cohesion after a disaster. The main objective of this study was to identify how social cohesion emerge after a disaster and cultural impact of it. Other objectives are to find out the ways of informal education of cultural norms and how cultural norms and valued effect the process of recovery. Two highly flood affected areas in Colombo district, Ambathale and Egodawatte were selected using purposive sampling method. Affected people randomly selected from each registration list. Religious leaders, and community leaders of flood shelters were interviewed. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected using questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Observation method was used to observe the various types of goods collected by different groups of people and civil organizations. Outcome of the study reveals cultural education plays considerable role in social integration that emerged after a disaster. It showed that throughout disaster period using informal methods, religious leaders inspired people by notifying importance of helping victims. This moral guidance had played significant role in non-victims’ decisions and attitudes towards victims.

Author Information
Wathsala Abeykoon, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Udari Samarakoon, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2017
Stream: Education for intercultural communication

This paper is part of the ACEID2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon