Cartwheel Initiative was founded by New York based photographer Ashok Sinha after a 2010 visit to Sri Lanka, a country that was emerging from a three-decade old civil war.

In his own words,

“My first time in Sri Lanka was in October 2010.  The country was slowly emerging from a long hiatus after a bitter 30-year civil war and attempting to become the next must-see travel destination.  Everyone in the industry was writing about Sri Lanka’s new found Eden-like paradise.  The New York Times even named it #1 in its list of “The 31 Places To Go In 2010.

Most of Sri Lanka is beautiful, no doubt, but once I reached the northern part of the country where the war was primarily fought, I felt like I was in a different world.  The scars of battle were visible everywhere and even more prevalent was a silence – one that is synonymous with my memory of the post-9/11 days in New York.

I realized I had to do something.  But what could that be?  How can art raise awareness about the human condition and also help spark a conversation about the positive?, I thought.

That is how the idea to create the first Cartwheel Initiative project took root.”