With the continuing challenges of COVID-19, especially restrictions on gatherings and closed borders, we had to postpone our Peace Camp again (sigh) ……. BUT the work of Peace Clubs and Peace Camp alumni continued throughout the year. Praise God! Here are glimpses of how our year unfolded.
IN JANUARY … a new Peace Club was launched in Kako, DR Congo! It is the initiative of Vision Club (started by peace camp alumni and based in nearby Goma). Their new club in Kako is a bold move. Kako is in an insecure area, reeling with violence – killings, burning down of homes/villages, looting, kidnappings. Over 100 armed groups currently operate in the Congo, mostly in this region. Vision Club and Kako Club hope to build peace. They have created community dramas on conflicts and encourage youth to choose the path of peace. We look forward to seeing what they will do next!
IN TANZANIA … Kerika (a peace camp alumni) advocated for education for all, focusing on the vulnerable in society. He inspired friends and peers on his university campus to join him. Through their campaign “Save their dreams. Give them smiles” they gave school bags, notebooks and other materials to 150 primary students from vulnerable families. Their efforts encouraged other youth to also get involved and they donated 10 desks to better equip a poor school. He’s planning another campaign to encourage girls to stay in school.
IN MAY … a volcano eruption near Goma caused panic and chaos. Homes were destroyed in city outskirts. Tens of thousands fled in fear. With generous support from donors, we intervened with emergency relief. We provided food supplies for 2 Vision Club youth and their extended families (approx. 25 people) who lost everything. We also assisted over 60 young orphans temporarily living in an open field. Vision Club leaders brought urgent supplies – tarps for makeshift shelters, blankets, breakfast porridge, clean water. A few weeks later, when it was safe for orphans to return to Goma, Vision Club continued to visit, brought school supplies and with support from A Peace of Life continued to provide breakfast porridge and a special Christmas lunch with lots of fun and games.
IN OCTOBER … Prince (Executive Dir, A Peace of Life) made our first official visit to Burundi, to encourage and mentor Burundian Heart of Charity – a peace club started by Chanelle (a peace camp alumni). The club has grown to 40 youth. Though they struggle in life themselves, they faithfully collect their small funds together to support 2 destitute families with food and school supplies. “I don’t know how we would have been without these youth; my kids just sit home because I don’t have even the small funds for school books. These youth have really become part of our family,” shared one of the single moms, a widow with 4 children.
IN NOVEMBER … we held a one-day peace camp in DR Congo to encourage, train and strengthen 30 youth from Vision Club and the new Kako Club. It was a refreshing, energizing day with fun, games and learning, including a biblical approach on healing wounds of the heart that greatly helps youth cope with stresses, fears and trauma; to discover inner peace that comes from trusting in God through all circumstances.
IN RWANDA … Light of the World Club continued with their community dramas on local & family conflicts, but only online through their YouTube channel because of COVID-19 regulations on gatherings. They also collected their funds together to help a vulnerable girl access sewing training.
IN 2022 … After 2 years of postponements, we eagerly look forward to holding our Annual Peace Camp in August 2022 to reach and empower more youth in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It’s an experience that makes such a lasting impact on youth and the communities they return to after peace camp.
A big thank you to our donors for your continued support. You are the “wind beneath our wings” ensuring A Peace of Life programs and youth peace catalysts soar!