Happy Birthday, Peace Camp!
This past July we celebrated the 5th year of peace camp in Rwanda. Pictured above (left to right): Vestine, counsellor & program assistant; Laurena, co-director; Esther, Miss Peace Camp 2014; Joseph, Mr Peace Camp 2014; Pastor Gibbs, Team Canada leader; Alain, Headmaster, Gashora Girls Academy (host site for this year’s camp).
Our fifth annual peace camp (held July 27-Aug 2, 2014) was the largest to date, bringing together 90 youth and youth leaders representing four countries – Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and our very first team of youth from Canada! It was an intense week of fun, new friendships, and interactive learning of skills in conflict mediation/transformation to build peace, peer counselling to reduce trauma, sports, and the use of arts to explore creativity, critical thinking and reflection. It was all wrapped up in a focus on inner peace – personal transformation made possible with God’s love and grace.
And so, of course, we celebrated BIG, with lots of food, fun and good times – from campfire and cultural night to the wildly popular talent night (a late, late night, full of skits, songs, dance, spoken word, and even a fashion show). All of the activities were reported each day by our camp radio news team (pictured below in their makeshift booth).
We can’t wait for next year! Thanks for all of your support.
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*All photos in this post by Shanice Brooks, a youth on Team Canada
Together we stand, divided we fall! April 7, 2014 marked the beginning of the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide – Kwibuka 20 – a time to remember, unite and renew. (kwibuka – “remember” in Kinyarwanda). We pray for healing and renewal to continue in Rwanda and for hope to burn bright in the lives of youth determined to be catalysts of peace, love and unity.
Pictured above: A time of prayer and reflection at the mass burial site of over 250,000 people at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Youth from Rwanda, DRC and Kenya visited the Memorial as part of A Peace of Life’s 2013 Peace Camp, held this past November. (Photo: Dydine Umunyana)
Peace Camp 2014 and 10,000 Dreams Challenge
Plans are well underway for the next peace camp which will be held at a new time – during July’s school break – at a new place (Gashora Girl’s School) – with new participants (a team of Canadian youth). Keep checking our facebook page for more news including exciting updates from our visits to peace clubs during May and June to launch the 10,000 Dreams Challenge and the new youth newspaper, Voice of Peace!!
Pictured: Mugisha Prince (A Peace of Life youth coordinator for Rwanda) visits with Imirasire (Sun Rays), one of the newest peace clubs, to hear of their plans for the 10,000 Dreams Challenge. The peace club was started by Petite, a participant and staff at the 2013 peace camp.
Good luck to all peace clubs with your 2014 plans! Persevere in hope and remain strong and courageous in God’s love for all people!