Teaching young people who have been experiencing violence from armed conflict for over five years the art of forgiveness and reconciliation for peace through storytelling and painting is a powerful tool in peace education.
Mali our communication and advocacy lead an art for peace expert drilling the young people on painting
Formal learning within the North West and South West regions these days is either not available or limited since many actions from the parties in conflict interfers with stipulated teaching hours to cover the academic calendar. With such an environment it is obvious that extra curricular activities aimed at building the learners psychology is no longer part of the package.
Storytelling and painting with friends is fun
In a bit to contribute in providing holistic learning to young people, 15 young people between 10 to 14 years were brought together to share their pain and challenges in a storytelling session while they heal and try to find closure as expressed in the paintings they make after the sharing.
After the painting for reconciliation exercise, we got the following testimonies:
"It felt good telling my story (pain and challenges) to my friends who listened without judging me"
"I thought I will never be happy again but listening to others share and learning about forgiveness and reconciliation, I was able to paint this beautiful portrait. It means I forgiven those who hurt me"
It is worth mentioning that the tremendous effects of a 3 hours sharing followed by painting was a beautiful extra curricular activity with added value to the educational package being offered in this conflict area.
Education of the mind is what will make a difference.