We are peace

We encourage and empower youth in Africa. We focus on Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Great Lakes Region – an area that has suffered years of violent conflict and extreme poverty.

We believe that there is an important spiritual component in being a peacebuilder, inner peace, that changes the way we respond to conflict and injustice. We value and pursue dignity, understanding, and compassion in action. We promote arts, sports and games in peacebuilding; and youth social enterprise. Together, we are working for social change.

Why youth peace?

A tree can only be straightened when it is young – Rwandan proverb

Peace camp youth visit the National Genocide Memorial, Rwanda (Photo: Johnny Lam)

We believe that youth have the greatest potential to be catalysts for peace. We focus on youth in Rwanda and the DR Congo, part of the Great Lakes Region of Africa that has been embroiled in decades of brutal conflict including wars and genocide. The conflict has often spilled across borders and caused fear and mistrust.

In Rwanda, an estimated 800,000  to one million people were killed in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.  In the DR Congo, over five million people died from war-related causes between 1998 – 2007, and more than 2.6 million people had been displaced (Enough Project). The eastern region continues to experience violence with unresolved conflict between rebel factions. Most alarming is the high level of sexual violence used as a tactic to terrorize and disrupt society.

Both countries have a very young population — in Rwanda, nearly 60% are under age 25! Tragically though, large numbers of children are orphans, often growing up in child/youth-headed households – a legacy of the genocide, HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. The story is much the same across the border in the DR Congo, with an estimated 4 million orphaned children (UNICEF).

Another tragic legacy – trauma and mental health issues. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly a third of Rwanda’s population is still suffering from severe psychological trauma.  And there are fears that it is impacting future generations. According to Enough Project: The psychological trauma children experience after witnessing or participating in violence that often includes their parents or loved ones is a dire indicator of DR Congo’s future as a stable country.

We offer a variety of programs to empower youth to be leaders of social change.

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“Love is the catalyst for peace … it sets you free yourself” – peace camp participant

At Peace Camp youth discover that peace starts within – inner healing that changes how we respond to conflict and injustice.

“I thought I was the only one who had such big problems,” shares Olivier. “At Peace Camp I was amazed to hear that others had the same problems in their life. It was really such a big help for me, you can’t believe how much. It changed me so much.” Olivier has had to cope with the impact of AIDS and the genocide on his family. He dropped out of school to work to help support his mother. After peace camp he helped to start a peace club in his village in Rwanda. Learn more about peace camp

Another group of peace camp youth started a peace club in Goma (DRC).  Today they help to care for orphans with visits, counselling, games, and planted a garden for better nutrition. They recently started a hair salon to generate funds to provide for the orphans.  Learn more about 10,000 Dreams

Big Dreams

Meet Jamillah. Her dream is to start a restaurant catering business. We know she’s a great cook as last year she was in charge of meals at peace camp. She is one of the first class of YAE – Young African Entrepreneurs – our newest project offered in partnership with Halo Highway to connect youth with business skills training and mentorship by business people and life coaches from Africa and North America.