Another Friday Fun Foto: “You got to put your butt into it” – learning to dance Congolese style at Youth Peace Camp in Rwanda.
Sometimes life just gets too serious and you have to have some fun. One of the most anticipated parts of the day at peace camp are the talent nights where youth create and perform their favourite dances, songs, skits, and poems. At last year’s camp, dances from the Congo were the most popular of all…well that, and watching some of the leaders take a shot at showing some moves. See more photos from peace camp and other activites
Youth are finding that song and dance are popular ways to create some common ground and to spread their message of peace. Club Unity in Mubago, for instance, have incorporated learning traditional dance in their community peace-building activities. They’re finding it’s also a great way to build more understanding between generations and learn more about their shared culture. See video clip of some of the kids performing
This November, we expect even more fun and cultural learning as we invite youth representatives from other countries in the Great Lakes region to attend Peace Camp 2012. Till then, however, our hearts and prayers go out to youth and their leaders from the DR Congo who attended camp last year and are currently having to cope with continued violence and unrest in their region. May youth continue to lead the way in peace-building and become excellent role models in all sectors of society for a better future.
“Youth are a national treasure,” says Dydine Umunyana Shami, one of the volunteer directors affiliated with A Peace of Life in Rwanda. She took this photo on a visit to western province over the holidays. We agree and are very happy to feature it today as our Friday fun photo.
School’s out…and many youth in Rwanda are now home for the holidays. But large numbers of youth continue to miss out on the opportunity to complete secondary education or even vocational skills training – it remains too big a financial burden for many families. At our last peace camp, several youth shared the burden of lacking fees and were in tears at the thought of not returning to school in the new term. Poverty is one of the big challenges that youth face and that causes conflict and hardship. Some resort to desperate measures to stay in school or to earn a living. Some become vulnerable to abuse by those in positions of authority. These are just some of the issues we discuss at peace camp and incorporate into dramas, songs and dances as part of peace-building. At our upcoming camp, to be held the last week of November, teams of youth will be working on scripts, do a pitch to a team of “celebrity” judges, with the winning script and/or script characters to form the basis of a new radio drama to be written and produced by youth. We will also be learning more about social enterprise with youth pitching their best ideas to start a small, youth-led business. Stay tuned for more exciting news as plans progress. We’re looking forward to another great camp! Learn more about peace camp
About today’s photographer: Dydine is dedicated to peace-building and to developing the potential of youth in her country, and Africa in general. She recently attended an international conference on forgiveness, “Healing the Wounds of History”, in Kigali. She has also just launched a non-profit organization, Umbrella Cinema Promoters, to “bring the light to Africa through cinema”, and empower more young African women to become invovled in filmmaking. We look forward to featuring her very first short film on AIDS at the next peace camp, and having her as one of our trainers and peer mentors. Dydine will help youth work on script-writing and share some of her personal experience as a young entrepreneur. More news shortly on other special guests to attend peace camp, including some possible young talent from Canada!
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Another Friday Fun Photo – Guess what happened split seconds after this photo was taken? Lots of fun – and soaking wet bodies – as camp leaders and youth splash the water around, enjoying some refreshment after an afternoon of planting trees and picking up garbage on the grounds of our host school. It was all part of a workshop on peace and the environment at last year’s peace camp.
Planting trees is an important part of helping to conserve the natural, beautiful environment of Rwanda as well as replace trees used as firewood for cooking. Every November, Rwanda launches a national tree-planting campaign to encourage environmental conservation and awareness.
Many youth peace clubs, including Club Unity in Mubago, are including the planting of trees in their peace-building activities. They are finding that it’s an easy and practical way to bring everyone in the village together to do a community activity as well as open a way to talk about other crucial issues they can work on together. Sometimes there is even a sharing of personal stories and an opportunity to offer forgiveness and build reconciliation among neighbours. It’s inspiring to see youth lead the way in this ground-breaking work.
The peace camp is an annual event offered by A Peace of Life with local partners such as AEBR Youth. Plans are underway for Peace Camp 2012. Help sponsor youth peace-building in Rwanda by making a donation today.
As part of celebrating World Water Day, we’re also pleased to present a multimedia presentation on water. It was created by youth who participated in a photography workshop at peace camp 2011. The workshop was facilitated by Johnny Lam, a professional documentary photographer who volunteers his time and expertise with A Peace of Life. Johnny has launched Gafotozi, to help empower vulnerable youth to use photography in peace-building and storytelling. Enjoy the show!
*Photos in today’s post taken by some of the youth from the photography workshop
A Friday Fun Foto…..girls in focus
We post this photo today in honour of the three women (two of whom are from Africa) who were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Tawakul Karman (Yemen)! It’s a great acknowledgement of the crucial role of women in peace-building and community development. Through your work, you’ve highlighted the need to address issues of poverty and gender inequality as part of the peace process.
Pictured (left to right): Prencesse, Claudine, Germaine – three inspiring young women who are peacebuilders in Rwanda, and members of our gafotozi, learning to use the arts and media for social change.
Photo taken by Johnny Lam, documentary photojournalist, as part of our first photography workshop. Next month, he and the gafotozi will be at peace camp and also back in the village, working on more photo essays. We look forward to posting their new creative!
Another Friday Fun Photo: Go Team Go! Tugende muze Tugende!
Pictured: Club Courageous in Gisenyi – quite possibly some of the next U-17 players for Rwanda! We love your team spirit – you’re already champions – keep your hopes and dreams alive!
Next week FIFA U-17 World Cup begins in Mexico and guess who’s there? Congrats Rwanda U-17, the first team from Rwanda to make it to a FIFA world championship. Follow all the action online - Rwanda’s first big game is on the 19th, when they take on England.
A Peace of Life is planning a fun youth event in Kacyiru (Rwanda) as part of U-17 World Cup. Stay tuned for more exciting news!
We also kick start planning of activities for our next annual peace camp, which will include learning on the use of sport and media to build common ground, peace and unity. One great example that’s inspiring us these days: The Team, a sports soap opera, that’s a ground-breaking, multi nation television project, as well as other innovative, locally written and produced projects of Search for Common Ground. Play on!
Join our team. Make an online donation today and support youth working for peace and development in Africa.
Friday Fun Foto: Hello, BBA – welcome to the world! We’re pleased to announce the launch this Saturday, Mar. 12, of Basic Brilliant Africa (BBA) the very first student peace club at INATEK University, Kibungo, in eastern region of Rwanda. There’s going to be lots of singing and dancing!
If you’re in the area, don’t miss all the fun. Guest artists to perform include nationally known musicians as well as new artists from the grassroots, a new film, Maibobo (highlighting issue of street kids) by Almond Tree Films Rwanda and the gafotozi exhibit.
A peace of life is proud to be one of the participants and sponsors of this event.
Our Friday Fun Foto today: Creative use of water in a drought-prone region. It’s a fun photo but a serious issue, many denied access to safe, clean water in our world. Learn more at World Water Day.
Photo taken by Germaine, one of the gafotozi, as part of developing her photo essay on the environment.
Together with the other gafotozis, Germaine attended peace camp as our “official photographers”. See more photos.
We’re now fundraising for peace camp 2. Please help us today!
Uncle (Tonto in kinyarwanda) gives his advice to questions of love, conflict, and everything in between, in a new youth peace newspaper launching in March. It’s just one of the exciting things to burst out of peace camp and the partnership of a peace of life and AEBR Youth to empower and equip youth to be leaders in peace and development. See more about peace camp.
Special thanks (and a very BIG SHOUT OUT) to the talented illustrator, Colanthony, for volunteering his amazing skills. He’s one of the featured young talent in a new book, Toronto Graffiti. Love to have you at our next peace camp!
It’s Friday Fun Foto….So You Think You Can Dance, Rwanda? Yego! (Yes!)
Just some of the song, dance and slam (poetry) that we had at our youth peace camp, held this past November in Nyange. Our photographer is Anthony, one of the gafotozi.
See more photos by the gafotozi at peace camp.
Gotta see this…clips of some of the song, dance and slam (poetry), live and unedited, from nyange youth peace camp.
Learn more about our first peace camp and how you can help sponsor another one.
Racing into a new year….Happy New Year everyone and welcome to our first friday fun foto of 2011…
One of the fun relays and activities at Love 4 Life, our special event for World AIDS Day 2010. We held it at IFBK school in Kigali. Several youth and youth leaders from the Nyange Peace Camp also participated. Both of these events were held by a peace of life, in partnership with AEBR Youth.
See more photos of the fun that day, from water challenges to painting t-shirts.
More about the photographer: Thanks so much to our official volunteer photographer of the day, Lene Amstrup-Jensen. Lene is one of the leaders of Tugende, a project by Danish Baptist Youth and AEBR Youth.
Friday fun foto…the wash cyle. Water is a precious commodity – whatever you manage to carry back to the house – and used sparingly. Little Miss Independent (below) does a great job with what she has.
A little more about today’s featured photo and photographer: Claudine, one of our gafotozi, took this photo as part of learning about the use of patterns, sequences, colors and shapes in photography. It was one of her favourite shots and selected to be included in the village art exhibit held on the final day of class.
Special event: If you’re in the Toronto area, there will be a special showing of the gafotozi art exhibit along with a surprise film screening as part of International Day of Peace activities. More details posted next week.
Like what you see? Claudine would love to go to peace camp. You can help her realize this dream.
It’s friday fun foto again…Time to eat! Family supper by candlelight. Electricity can be hard to come by in Rwanda, either too expensive or unavailable, especially in rural areas. Food can be hard to come by also, especially when prices rise on basics like rice, beans and cooking oil.
A little more about today’s photo and photographer: Anthony, one of the gafotozi, took this photo as part of exploring his essay on “village life”.
Like what you see? Anthony, the photographer, would love to go to peace camp in November. You can help make that dream come true. Make a donation.
Welcome to Friday Fun Foto. Cowzilla??? You’ve heard of bridezilla (those difficult brides-to-be), while cows are the big deal in Rwandan nuptials, an important part of the bride price for all groom wanna be’s. How many cows you give or get indicates your wealth and/or status. In fact, cows are a big deal in general, greatly treasured and cared for. And like any other source of wealth and status in our world, cows can also cause conflict. Rwanda’s economy is mainly dependent on agriculture, so land scarcity becomes an important factor for social tensions and conflict.
Today’s photographer: Germaine, 15 years old, one of the gafotozi.
It’s another Friday Fun Foto from Rwanda. Here’s looking at you, kid!
A little about the photographer: Olivier, one of our gafotozi, loves fixing things and wants to become a mechanic. He also loves his mom and baby niece who lives with them. Olivier’s mom says he has lots of courage. Perhaps that’s why he chose to explore the personal impact of HIV and AIDS on one family – his family – for his photo essay. Olivier lost his dad to this disease and now his mom is ill. He’s happy that she has access to antiretroviral treatment which can help her live a long time. Olivier says that his biggest hope is that life improves for his mom. Stigma is still difficult to deal with and that’s one reason why he wanted to focus on this issue.
You can also help his mom. Learn more about Guardians of Hope, a remarkable grassroots program among families most impacted by HIV and AIDS. Olivier’s mom attends one of these support groups and is greatly encouraged.
It’s Friday Fun Photo. Market day in Rwanda. Enjoy!
About the photographer: Anthony, another one of our gafotozi, explored his photo essay on “village life” with a trip to market. He is a top student at school and wants to become an architect. He is also deeply spiritual: “It is God who protects us in our bad conditions…is with us all the time…even though the problems are there, we pray.”
A little of Anthony’s story: Anthony fled with his mom and sister to Tanzania during the genocide. But in the refugee camp, he and his sister were abandoned by their mom. They eventually managed to return home and rejoin their dad who had remarried. They still don’t know what happened to their mom. Tragedy struck again, when their dad and step mom became sick and tested positive for HIV. His dad died a few months later but his step mom is alive today because of ARV treatment. Stigma was one of the hardest things to overcome: “At beginning, it was hard, people wondering, when they saw someone sick they would stay away. But now it is seen as a common problem.”
Hello Friday. Hello Fun Photo. Welcome to our new column. Each Friday we’ll feature a fun shot. Today’s photo was taken by Germaine, one of our gafotozi, as part of her essay, “the environment and our relationship”. It’s also one of the photos in our new postcard series, a peace of life in rwanda. If you’ve got business or travel contacts, we’d love to connect. Enjoy the photo – and have some fun today! It’s Friday!
A little more about our featured photographer today: Germaine (15 years old) loves nature and gardening and school. Her favourite subjects are biology and chemistry. On holidays, she likes to cultivate bananas to sell to help her mom. She says that she wants to become a doctor because “I see lots of sickness like malaria, AIDS, and parasites.” She lost her father and young brother (he was one year older than her) in the genocide and now lives alone with her mom.