Children for Peace4th January 2017
This summer, The Congo Tree worked in partnership with 3 other organisations – BADEN Developpement, Rally International NCA, CEBCE – to help run a summer school called Children for Peace which provides art and sport activities themed around peace for children during their school holidays. There are also lessons around leadership and being part of the community, and then activities that the community are invited to join in with. Children for Peace (previously known as Watoto Vacanc’art) has grown each year since it was first ran in 2010, and this year the summer school was held in two different locations around Goma, DRC, serving over 800 children! Here’s how The Congo Tree got involved…
In the run up …
A number of Congo Tree members participated in preparations for the summer school, including the training of over 40 supervisors who would be volunteering at the summer school, at a full day workshop. Espoir led a session on the psychology of the child, Medi on resolving conflicts and teamwork, as well as a team who looked particularly at peace-making. These sessions were vital in equipping the supervisors on how to effectively engage with the children that would be attending the summer school, how to be good leaders and role models.
Lessons, games and activities
Over 800 children attended the camp, which was so many more than expected! This left the supervisors feeling a little stretched, so the involvement of the Congo Tree members was key. Some of the team, including Jack, Josh, Emile and Medi volunteered full-time to ensure that the camp ran as smoothly as possible. Without their efforts the Children for Peace team could have been left feeling overwhelmed, but instead the team grew and developed and worked well together to ensure that all the children had a great time!
The team led a number of sessions over the summer, focused on the ‘five colours of peace’ with creative activities such as jewellery-making and painting, to reflect these teaching points. The children had the chance to engage with a creative space led by Josh, and get hands on by working with plastic art, a session led by Lydia. We also led a range of games helping the children get creative and feel energised.
The Congo Tree wanted to make sure that all the children attending got something to eat, so we raised finances to ensure that the Children for Peace team were able to provide small snacks for the children at lunchtimes, making sure that they were energised, willing and able to get involved in the activities. Finances also meant they could purchase all the craft resources that they needed, meaning children were taught arts and crafts that previously they had never had the opportunity to try before.
As well as sharing their experience and tips with the Children for Peace team, members of The Congo Tree prayed daily with the team, and the team tell us that having this regular encouragement and ‘team-time’ was very important to the success of the project.
This camp was able to have significant impact for 800 children: these children are the next generation and they get to decide what their future looks like. These children are choosing peace.