A three-day Youth Champions workshop on Peace and Values Education was held by Aegis at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the first week of February, bringing together 25 young people from Kigali and its surroundings. They acquired knowledge about the path to violence, the path to peace, advocacy, being an upstander, leadership, project development, gender equality, trauma and healing.

Oscar Twizerimana, a psychologist at the Aegis Trust, discussed the need for young people to understand the causes of trauma they may experience: “A good peace ambassador has to first go through a journey of healing individually before they can embark on helping others.”

The lesson on trauma and healing particularly touched many of the young people. “The lesson changed my perspective on life and how I perceive the world,” says Umwari Abi Benie. “I think that we tend to skip our own mental health, and most of us live with a bit of generational trauma that we’ve been left with. We want to fix everyone and everything around us before we fix ourselves, and it makes us not do what we want to do well.”

The trainees were also introduced to the Ubumuntu digital platform (ubumuntu.rw), where they can access content on Peace and Values Education, testimonies of positive change provided by other young people trained previously and other key information that will guide them in the journey of building peace in their communities.

In addition to peace building and history courses these young people were given, they were also taught how to develop their projects and include positive values and attitudes in their creations.

These youth champions trained in Kigali have formed peace clubs in which they will implement different peace building initiatives to contribute to building a peaceful, cohesive and inclusive community. At the Aegis Trust, we cannot wait to see their contribution to building sustainable peace in their communities and the world.