This project began in 2006 when a young survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide shared with the Center for Peace Building International (CPBI) his personal experience of survival. He also recruited other survivors to share their experiences in order to create a broader understanding of how young people coped in the aftermath of that genocide.
The written narratives that these young people provided show the power of story-telling as well as the strength and resilience of these survivors in Rwanda and its surrounding countries. The writers of these narratives ranged in age from 8 to 14 during the genocide, and CPBI members saw their stories as a possible bridge for young people in the U.S., who could find ways to make positive contributions to peaceful life in their own communities. Since then, CPBI has developed several lessons and resources to accompany the narratives found in this toolkit.
We developed these lessons to encourage youth to make a positive difference during adverse circumstances and life situations. This toolkit can help educators facilitate activities to foster awareness in young people of the effects of conflict and violence and to stimulate their own ideas for building peace within their own communities. Each lesson invites youth to explore the themes of the stories and then engage in creative and participatory activities to incorporate their understanding of the Rwandan survivors’ experiences into their own lives. In general, young people of thirteen and older are suggested as best suited to respond to these activities. We hope these materials will find use in schools as well as informal and nonformal education settings throughout the U.S. and beyond.
Each lesson is designed for use in conjunction with other age-appropriate curricula, or as part or whole of the toolkit itself. Teachers and other educators are encouraged to adapt the contents of the toolkit as needed to fulfill their own educational objectives.
Goal of Project
The Peace Narratives Toolkit’s goal is to share a world lesson of peace and reconciliation, focusing on the stories of young people who faced and coped with violent conflict, searching for paths to coexistence within their communities.
Objectives of Project
- Explore the realities of conflict and genocide through Rwandan history
- Reflect upon the connection of the survivors’ feelings and growth to students’ own life experiences
- Motivate students to become agents of positive change in their own communities
Each unit is separated into sections. The lessons are designed to allow teachers and other educators the freedom to fit them within their own time frames. General time guidelines are given in each section and are offered for flexibility in planning the use of the materials.