Wishing everyone a very peace-FULL, hope-FULL, and happy new year….
Pictured: The newest graduates of Peace Camp, held Nov. 18-25, 2013, in Kigali, Rwanda. We had 65 youth and youth leaders attend this year (including a team of 11 from the DR Congo and three youth reps from Kenya). The camp is an annual event sponsored by A Peace of Life, thanks to all of our generous supporters including CBM, a major partner in this youth peace media initiative.
In addition to peace education through interactive games and learning, new activities at camp this year included visiting a pottery cooperative, making friendship bracelets, a traditional dance lesson and performance by NIYO Cultural Centre, a nightly radio news skit, a lively peace camp presentation during Sunday worship at the AEBR Kacyiru church, and the creation of a few short music videos with the help of our friends at Almond Tree Films Rwanda. See clips on Youtube.
But overall, was the emphasis on inner peace and personal transformation (living in love, forgiveness and reconciliation). An important workshop to help us in this process was Paulette Baraka’s session on trauma and peer counselling after our visit to the national genocide memorial. We were also inspired by hearing the personal experiences of Marc, one of the founders of Peace & Love Proclaimers, and Phanual. See more of Phanuel’s story.
See more photos from peace camp and our other activities throughout the year.
On the drawing board: we are dreaming big for 2014, which marks the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda,with plans for Solidarity Peace Camp – with more countries to be represented; an exciting peace club challenge; a new youth newspaper; a short film, and many other activities to promote youth peace using the arts and media.
See you in the new year!
All photos in this post: Dydine Umunyana
Happy Easter, with love from Rwanda
Think change is impossible? Be inspired by these Change Poems written by courageous youth as part of activities at Peace Camp 2012.
I was… hopeless.
I remember… little children encouraged to kill.
I heard… people calling others animal names.
I saw… people mistreating their neighbours.
I worried… about the day after that.
I thought …it was the end of life.
But I want to change.
I am… built up with peace.
I think… of the world with love and peace.
I will try… to live in peace with myself.
I feel… so strong.
I forgive… all mistaken elders.
Now I can change.
I will… be a peace-builder.
I choose… to follow the bright side.
I dream… of making the world more peaceful.
I hope… to live in a wonderful place.
I know… I will make it in Jesus’ name.
I will change.
View Change Poems 2012 Presentation for more inspiring youth poems.
As we enter Holy Week, a time of intense sorrow but also incredible joy, we remember, reflect and celebrate the world’s greatest example of love and forgiveness – the death and resurrection of Jesus so that all can be reconciled to God and to each other. It’s a message of true peace. It starts with a personal choice to change.
The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis occurred on the eve of the Easter season. Neighbour sat beside neighbour in church and then some went about brutally eliminating their neighbour. It’s a soul-wrenching reminder of the battle raging between good and evil in our world. Are we complicit? Complacent? Or are we committed to not being overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil by doing good? There are many youth in Rwanda who are committed to doing just that, to being peacemakers in whatever situation they find themselves in.
We believe it starts with treating each other with dignity, to listen, to show empathy, to help each other explore skills and talents. We encourage the use of the arts to stimulate creativity and sharing our stories, to discover common ground.
Photos: Johnny Lam Photography/A Peace of Life. All rights reserved.