Youth peacemakers

The “Be Peace, Make Peace” project continues to inspire youth and children in the municipality of El Bagre, as they continue to offer opportunities for learning and for action. On July14, the youth leaders of the project organized, with the participation of other community groups and foundations, the first “Peace Fair” in this community. Together they created as space on one of the local soccer fields for the community to come out and engage the themes of peace and reconciliation in creative and interactive ways. Over 240 children, youth, and adults came out to participate in the Peace Fair. The fair consisted in 5 different stations, each focusing on a particular theme such as Forgiveness and Reconciliation, No to Violence, Fair treatment, Peace and Good Living, and Truth and Justice. The participants were divided up into groups and traveled together to each of the stations, where a leader led them through the activity that gave room for discussion around the particular theme. The community was grateful for this experience and the youth leaders are organizing another “Peace Fair” for the end of August, which will take place in another neighborhood.

We had the privilege of getting to know 13 young adult leaders who are participating in the “Be Peace, Make Peace” project as they traveled to Medellin to participate in a two-day workshop on Trauma and Healing, led by North Park University and Seminary professor Elizabeth Pierre. They came because they want to be equipped to help those in their community who have experienced trauma. On Friday we came together for an evening meal and they shared with us the way this peace project has impacted their lives and the lives of the youth in their community. One girl shared that she never imagined that so many youth would want to come together to learn what it means to be peacemakers. There are currently 25 youth/young adults actively involved. Others shared how much they have learned about peace and that it is posible to resolve conflicts in nonviolent ways. They are inspired and they are moving forward. They want to see change in their community and equip children to live in ways that encourage peace and reconciliation.

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