Issue - August 2007



August 2007
Editorial

In this issue, Amy Pollock reviews the successes of Arnold Brower’s school garden project, while Lucy Witter talks with the rector of an English school enrolling impoverished students; we hear form Save the Children about their reconciliation programme after the Cochabamba riots in January...read more...

August 2007

Children and Youth Building Reconciliation and Peace

Save the Children aims to empower the youth of Cochabamba to build bridges of peace and reconciliation following the outbreak of violence in the city in January. Amy Pollock had the oportunity to speak with them.

By: Lucy Witter
Projects Abroad - Volunteer
Warrington - United Kingdom

Weeks ago, the homage to those who had died in the conflicts of January made up of a stone block and an Andean cross was violently destroyed and the cross stolen. This was a reaction to similar acts done a few months ago at the homage to the killed youth from the north of the city. Six months after the conflicts in January, the violence is still very present and we take a second look at what local organizations and youth are doing together to resolve another social emergency.

Save the Children is a non-profit institution here in Bolivia. The children’s rights based organization has been working in the country since 1985, and since then, has expanded its activities to every department in Bolivia. Programmes range from intercultural rural education in North Potosi, considered to be one of the poorest municipalities in the country, to basic health and education provision for child workers here in the city, what the organization terms the integral development of children (DIN).

Save the Children’s work in Bolivia place a heavy emphasis on rural-based collaborative-activities. This charity’s efforts are not characterised by a typical top-down approach and instead seeks to empower youth and children for their rights and responsibilities according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Here in Cochabamba, this grass-roots approach is bearing fruit in a novel way. Through a series of workshops involving young people from very different backgrounds, Save the Children hopes to build bridges of peace between youth involved in the conflicts in January, and empower them to lead a social change in the city toward peace, reconciliation, and a society without armedviolence and racism. “It is a very interesting project,” explains Save the Children project representative Judson Brown. “It is one effort among few that is collaborating and empowering the youth of Cochabamba to lead this needed social change.” The workshops’ unique selling point is their avoidance of dry intellectual debate that excludes the voices of arguably the most important people involved in January’s riots: Cochabamba’s youth. Whilst the future of the city may lie in their hands, it appears that they have often been neglected in the analysis of and dialogue about January’s turbulent events.

January’s civil conflict saw the city divided along geographical and economic lines: the wealthier north zone of the city against the south zone. More than two hundred people were injured and three people died in the confrontation, resulting in deep divisions within Cochabamba. It seems that the causes of the conflict...

Children and Youth ...
Save the Children is a non-profit institution here in Bolivia. The children’s rights based organization has been working in the country since 1985, and since then, has expanded its activities to every department in Bolivia....
read more ...

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