Being forced out of home by conflict is probably one of the most destabilizing and traumatizing human experiences. Essential aspects of life are lost to forced displacement: house, job, status, and a sense of normalcy. For children and young people, the losses are even aggravated. Sites hosting displaced persons are rarely conceived and managed with children and youth at the center. They are mostly places to care for the immediate emergencies – these are not places designed with the future in mind. Yet, children and youth – they are the future – have needs and wants that must be addressed. 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 trauma needs to be healed in order to regain resilience. Children and youth also need to have fun and to play. This is one of their most basic and vital needs and essentials to their development as persons and citizens.
As part of our mission to empower children and youth from vulnerable communities affected by violence, we have developed a platform of intervention combining education and recreation for children, youth and other persons displaced by conflict within or outside their country. This platform mainly consists of the Peace Through Sports and Cinema for Peace programs along with specific campaigns on trauma healing and sexual and Reproductive Health. We work to provide entertaining occupations likely to stimulate the interest of children and young people, with educational activities, designed to raise their awareness on values, attitudes and behaviors conducive to the practice of respect and non-violence. This is critical for both their daily life within the camp, and for the future to prepare for national reconciliation processes.