“I have always perceived Gahigi as a killer—but I now see him as a human being because of his confession today.”
- A participant in the Bugesera Dialogue Club
By Seth Karamage
Karuna Center Peacebuilding Associate Seth Karamage shared these reflections after a meeting of a community Dialogue Club in Bugesera district, where he has been mentoring new dialogue facilitators as part of our Healing Our Communities program in Rwanda. The program is strengthening social cohesion and reconciliation in 16 communities throughout Rwanda, as people continue to cope with the effects of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
by Amra Pandžo
A wartime cemetery in Maglaj, the setting of the film we screened.
Amra Pandžo, Karuna Center's Bosnia Country Director, wrote these reflections after a public film screening held as part of Project STaR (Social Transformation and Reconciliation). We recently began this project together with 4 organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with funding from USAID.
Project STaR uses a whole-of-community approach to reconciliation where opposing, wounded identities and narratives run deep. The team is currently opening youth club sites in divided communities; training young people to identify and counteract hate speech; and bringing religious leaders together to help communities address the ongoing effects of the Bosnian War.
Today, the day before Giving Tuesday, we would like to share our gratitude for the incredible generosity of the Youth Champions in the Healing Our Communities program—who give help, hope, and inspiration in their communities and beyond.
The Youth Champions are a powerful force for change as Rwanda continues to recover from the 1994 genocide. In just the past year, 232 active youth club members within Healing Our Communities have led 209 activities. They have built homes, gardens, kitchens, and latrines for vulnerable elders, widows, orphans, and families, bringing communities together as they go.
They have led commemoration events; cleaned memorial sites; held plays about peacebuilding in many neighboring communities; and organized sports tournaments with themes of peace. They have pooled their own savings to bring food to those less fortunate or buy materials to complete their projects for those in need. These youth regularly speak up at district and sector level meetings and have become known as peacebuilders in their communities.
Youth Champions have also emerged as skilled media producers, with support from Aegis Trust through Healing Our Communities. Here are just a few of the 18 short videos youth have produced to tell stories of reconciliation, hope, compassion, and forgiveness:
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