"Please don't give up on us" - Play for Peace participant in South SudanIn a country of beauty, potential, and energy, South Sudan is struggling with an increasing number of localized wars and a growing volume of refugees and child soldiers. The challenges are great, but the dream of peace is also very powerful. The following story is compiled from reports written by Play for Peace Certified Trainers Swati and Agyat from India who shared their journey with us to bring Play for Peace to South Sudan. Supported by PLAN International, Swati and Agyat spent 20 days sharing Play for Peace with over 500 teachers, community members, students and children from six national organizations and three international organizations in Yei, Juba and Awerial. They left a motivated, skilled and organized local Play for Peace Club that will help take their community in South Sudan to the next step towards peace.
***The consciousness about peace is very high. They speak of peace, and the need for ending the violence, often. After the first session, when we got them in small groups to discuss what was the Play for Peace experience was like and it was our turn to be surprised. We started learning how deeply the conflict has affected them and how much they yearn for things to change and for peace to come to their home. During the Play for Peace activities they found glimpses of hope and peace. Some of also talked about how the games will provide psycho-social care for the children affected by conflict. The children who joined us were initially resistant, but soon began to trust us and looked to us as role-models. There was a special Play for Peace moment when we played, 'Rat & Cat.' A young girl who had lost her one leg decided to join and at first there were some reservations among participants. We made a rule that when it is her turn to "cat or rat" people chasing or escaping have to run with one leg only. The group happily agreed and the girl was able to actively participate. In last two minutes we played the entire game using one leg. It was inspiring to see the same girl take copious notes of our activities throughout the day. She wanted to make note of anything that was written by us. So much spirit to learn! In a very insightful comment one of participant said; “if children play this game, they will be happy and at peace. When children are educated and doing Play for Peace, even if there is a fight in the community or in their family, they will be able to help everyone to be at peace.” He added; “ it can also help peace talks, if warring parties see this, they will see peace and they will try and arrive at consensus so that there can be peace.” More reflections by participants;
“We do work on peace education and yet I was not sure what we can do with children in schools, now I have an answer” - Riya “I work on Peace Education program of UNICEF, Play for Peace is the perfect fit for the children's clubs in schools” - Julia “The games are the children in conflict, it will de-stress them in current situation and provide psycho-social care” – A teacher in Awerial who participated in trainingSee the Play for Peace - South Sudan Facebook Page they have created, like their page, and welcome them to the Play for Peace community! [embed]http://youtu.be/Vp_W94JTckQ[/embed] [embed]http://youtu.be/1IhCQJzpSpg[/embed] [embed]http://youtu.be/PTBrMy1H1o0[/embed]