University of Sheffield holds vigil for Sri Lankan bombing victims

Nearly a hundred students came together at Sheffield University last night to pay tribute to victims of the Sri Lanka bombings.

Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians conducted prayers, and a moment of silence was held as part of the vigil.

Roxanne Bechu, the Student Union’s International Officer who organised the vigil with the Sri Lankan society, said: “As a Catholic, I am heartbroken, as an international student I feel lost and I don’t know how to heal from this.

“I know this is how a lot of people here feel today.”

Two hundred and fifty three people were killed in the Sri Lanka bombings on 21 April. More than 500 people were injured – five of whom were British nationals. Three Catholic churches and three hotels were targeted by nine suicide bombers in coordinated attacks.

After the vigil, mourners were encouraged to bring objects that reminded them of Sri Lanka and leave them by a line of candles set up in remembrance of the victims.

Among the objects brought were Sri Lankan flags, photos, flowers and notes written in various languages as messages for the victims and to their families as well.

President of the Sri Lankan society, Dinura Gunawardena, thanked everyone for attending in his speech remembering the victims.

“The very next day I got a call from them asking if everyone and their families home were alright. Those are the sort of little things that matter a lot for us,” he said.

“What has happened has shocked us all. The country is probably in one of the worst places it has ever been in its history.”

Sri Lankan societies from universities across the UK have started fundraising for the Sri Lanka Emergency Relief.

Their appeal says: “We, the Sri Lankan community of the UK, have more security in our lives than anyone of our loved ones and general population back in our country. We should take this privilege to go above and beyond to extend our hand to the ones in need of more security right now.”

You can find their GoFundMe page below: