Being forced from home by conflict is probably one of the most destabilizing and traumatizing human experiences. Essential aspects of life are lost to forced displacement, including housing, a job, social status, and a sense of normalcy. For children and young people, losses are even aggravated as sites hosting displaced persons are rarely conceived and managed with children, youths, and the future at the forefront. They are mostly places created to provide for the immediate emergencies –not places intended to deal with the long term. Yet, children and youths have long-term needs and wants that must be addressed immediately. They need to go to school; otherwise, the chain of knowledge will be broken, with lasting damage to communities and countries. They need also to learn about peace and reconciliation; otherwise, young people are vulnerable to becoming child soldiers and seeking revenge and violent retribution. Their traumas need healing for them to develop into resilient persons. Children and youths also need to have fun and to play. This is one of their most basic and vital needs and essential to their development as full-fledged individuals and active citizens.
As part of our mission to empower children and youths from vulnerable communities affected by violence, we have developed an intervention platform that combines education and recreation for children, youths, and other people displaced by conflict within or outside their country. We work to stimulate the interest of children and young people, through entertaining and educational activities, designed to raise their awareness about values, attitudes, and behaviors conducive to peace and non-violence, mutual respect, and tolerance. This is critical for both their present lives as persons living in camp or a settlement and for their future responsibilities as citizens who will be tasked to help their communities achieve peace and reconciliation.