Rubavu: Youth from Regional countries commit to be the catalyst for peace
In the Great Lakes Region, there are still issues of insecurity, war affecting the population including deaths, refugees, hunger and other issues based on sectarianism, prejudice, hatred and ethnic divisions, and poor governance which is currently dominated by the insecurity and killings in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC).
The youth, including some from the neighboring Goma City, have showed that it is not appropriate for their peers to continue engaging in hate speech, wars they don’t know how they started and other things based on history, but they should be the catalyst for change.
These were topics of discussions during the retreat on culture and history which took place in Rubavu District of the Western Province of Rwanda.
It is a retreat organized through InterPeace, an organization that unites the youth of Great Lakes in collaboration with the Organization that works in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Pole Institute), and Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle that helps young people in Rwanda, and other organizations that deals with peace building in the region.
Masomeko Hubert from DRC, also from Pole Institute, confirms that in the past days and in these times there are expressions of hatred.
He says: “We are young people who often at home use our art to spread the message of peace. We have the media and we are here to learn how we put an end to the hateful ideas, and we will succeed.”
Masomeko believes that what the youth in his country are doing is ignorance, where they are being used by others for their own benefits.
However, he said, he is going to teach them something that will change a lot.
He appreciates the way he was received in Rwanda in Rubavu District adding that it shows them that there should be no hatred.
Fr. Ringuyeneza Vital, the CEO of Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle, says that this project helps them connect the youth and teach them peace because they are the ones who are looking forward to the future. He believes that the fact that the youth of the regioon are united and happy gives confidence because what they discussed during the retreat will be conveyed to their peers.
He says: “What the young people have seen here is different from what they see at home, in newspapers, social media that spread rumors and so on, so when they meet, it is a great incentive to carry a message, which will reach many because we continue to work together and encourage them.”
Fr Ringuyeneza confirms that they are currently learning how to resolve cultural conflicts, but they are using history to build peace and learn together how to fight generational conflicts.
He says: “There are frequent conflicts between young people and adults, some of them despise each other and feel that the others are of no use to them. We learn together how the information or power they have will combine and produce results.”
He confirms that the meeting of the youth gives a good image because it allows the trained youth to take part in disproving the different information that is spreading hatred and killing their own people and putting forward the words that build peace and constructive actions.
Ndayiragije Reginas from Burundi is one of the leaders of InterPeace that helps the youth of Great Lakes.
As the organizing institution, He says: We started in 1971 doing peacekeeping activities, teaching the youth, teaching them to advocate, teaching them to do peacekeeping activities and dialogues aimed at learning from what the adults have done when we talk to each side of the truth and end up finding something to do.
Meeting the youth of the region makes them more aware of what unites them and opposes what separates them, so the message they get from here is shared with those they meet.
Kambogo Ildephonse, the mayor of the Rubavu District in Rwanda, appreciates discussions like this that bring together youth who aim to build peace because they help today and in the future.
He says: “The fact that young people from countries that share borders with Rwanda are meeting in Rubavu, means that there is peace in this country, it is a way for them to discuss the present and strive for peace in the future, because if the young people are used blindly, it will engage in bad habits and mistakes.
I also talked about the role of our youth in Rwanda to help improve the quality of life of the people; they also put their efforts into it, which would produce more satisfactory results, what we ask is that the knowledge they get from the dialogues that unite them, share it with others and reach many people.”
Discussions like this bring together young people from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and those from Goma in the DRC who work to build peace in the Great Lakes Region.
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