January 2012 - Burundi
Global Newsletter – January 2012 (Burundi) – Every year on September 21, the world celebrates the International Day of Peace. This day was also celebrated in refugee camps in Burundi and Congo. According to a baseline study commissioned by the RET at the beginning of its Peace Education programme in the refugee camps in Burundi, the impacts of the of war and ethnic differences have scarred the refugees and make it difficult for them to live together in harmony.
Since June 2011, the RET as implementing partner of UNHCR, is implementing the Peace Education programme in the camps for Congolese refugees in Burundi. Peace, a treasure that is sought by all people and nations, is also much desired by the refugees who had fled their country for several years in search of a more stable and peaceful environment. Through its programme, the RET aims to encourage social cohesion and conflict prevention in the camps through an education that allows the adoption of skills, attitudes and values that promote peaceful coexistence.
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, the RET organized a “peace week” under the theme of “Building on what brings us together, eliminating what separates us.” During this week, refugee youth previously trained as peer educators on peace, by the RET, carried out various activites such as awareness raising by a theatre company that focused on violence against women, as well as contests and a sensitisation workshop for leaders of the refugee community. Among the 400 participants (50% women) were young Congolese refugees and their peers of the Burundian host community that followed the theatre performance. Through concrete examples of every day life in the two communities, the performance showed the participants that peaceful coexistence is not a dream. One participant, a young, 20-year-old man, told the gathered crowd: “We left our country in search of peace, but I have come to realise that I am, too, an agent of peace because peace is made by people, peace begins with me, peace begins in my family.”