Working with children and youth from communities in conflict to prepare our young people for a more peaceful future

Advancing peace through projects that teach

We help children and youth bring their stories to life so they begin to feel empowered to share what makes them unique. Once they experience their own strong and expressive voices, they are more comfortable to bear witness to the obstacles that hold them back and begin the process of devising better outcomes for their future.
Help children and youth to understand what it feels like to be excluded and encourage them to be more willing to include children who are different from themselves. Encourage students to demonstrate respect and the active inclusion of others who are different, rather than ridiculing, fighting or rejecting them. Make Respecting Difference a very real experience for children and something that can be shared with their families.
Photo Credit: Joe Crachiola
We aim to work with children on basic values: Awareness and appreciation of diversity Compassion for what it feels like to be excluded Respect for people who are different from ourselves Inclusion of people who are different from ourselves
Children exposed to stress or trauma often experience adverse developmental effects. In order to prevent risk behaviors in these children, they need to be taught skills to help them self-regulate (emotion regulation skills). When these children are not able to identify their emotions and control their impulses, their frontal lobes (executive skills) shut down, adrenalin surges, and they are left with the reptilian (fight or flight) brain in control. Critical thinking is not possible. To help children cope, education on emotional regulation is extremely important because it influences how they interact with each other, develop empathy and learn healthy ways to resolve frustration and conflict.
Research shows that children are predisposed to prejudice by the age of five. In an effort to reach children before they have formed opinions about themselves and those around them, we provide fun, accessible and engaging education for children in post-conflict situations. Young children are trying to make sense of their world and figure out how they fit into their community. Media Initiative for Children helps children identify and express emotions, learn respect for others, and understand the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
Even when peace is restored in conflicted communities, hateful prejudices are perpetuated both consciously and unconsciously. Memories of conflict still deeply affect the society. In order to interrupt this collective enmity, and allow the next generation to live happy and fulfilled lives, education about tolerance, respect and emotional regulation must occur. As Nelson Mandela said, “No child is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. Children must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”


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