World Thinking Day - peace and Guiding in Rwanda

Rwandan Girl Guides Sandrine and Rachel share their experiences of peace and conflict, growing up in Rwanda

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"My name is Sandrine IHIMBAZWE I am a girl guide from Rwanda Girl Guides Association and I live in the northern province of Rwanda. I joined the guiding movement at a young age which gave me the opportunity to participate in different activities and programs of guiding.

Girl guiding opened my eyes and change my perspective on how to see different things in our society. As we step in the Guiding week that leads to the World Thinking Day that has “Stand together for peace”.

We are in a special time when peace is most needed. The good thing is that we can all contribute to it. Here’s my short story about peace.

In the region of Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern Congo, which have been tired by conflict throughout the 1990’s, the Scout and Guide Organizations are a good example of cooperation through war and conflict. The organizations kept cooperating, making a space for young people to meet so as to find solutions of problems of peace in their communities. Being aware of lack of peace in Rwandan society, the Associations des Guides du Rwanda resolved to unite in order to give their contribution in regulating the local situation by creating peace clubs in high schools where the guiding movement exist.

As a high school student living in conflict zones, many of the classmate bring personal stories of lives affected by violence - many have lost family members, or know somebody who has. Peacekeeping is the fight against all forms of violence and the encouragement of others to be ambassadors of peace and to promote peace is to support equality because it is the first way to maintain peace in society.

In our peace clubs we focus on discussions that help young people to understand the problems in the society we live in and how to solve them. It made realize that I should take the lead in fighting violence and injustice. Through different campaigns we made it helped the Rwandan society to understand that equality is the foundation of peace. So I call upon all my sisters in guiding to stand for peace even in difficult moments of Covid-19 pandemic and this should not a be reason for us to give up.

At our homes where we are we can give peace, build peace and be peace."

In the region of Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern Congo, which have been tired by conflict throughout the 1990’s, the Scout and Guide Organizations are a good example of cooperation through war and conflict.

Sandrine, Girl Guides Rwanda

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Guiding taught me that peace starts with me

"I once heard someone say that peace is not the highest goal in life, that it is the most fundamental requirement and I couldn’t agree more. Hi! I am Trésor Rachel Uwineza, a Rwandan girl guide based in the Northern Province of Rwanda in Rulindo.

In 2017 I was trained in a programme called Amahoro Amani offered by Association des Guides du Rwanda. I learned a lot about conflict resolution and peace promotion. Right after the training, I went back home and started a peace club that we call “Club de Paix – Amahoro Amani”. I intended to share what I had gained from the training with fellow girl guides who would join the club and I also strongly hoped that through the club we would get to promote peace in our community.

Eventually, our club grew strong and with all the peace building principles we had, we started to do different activities that would bring peace to other people in our community. Since most of us are students, we often would meet during the weekend before the COVID-19 pandemic. During our gatherings we would plan for activities to do in a sense of promoting peace in our community, starting with our neighbourhood. To give you the picture of activities we do, I can mention some. Like: last year we built borders of a river to make it safe for people to cross that river and keep it clean from polluting things that used to fall in the river. We also built a toilet for a lady with disability in our neighbourhood who was in need of a decent toilet at her home and several activities like being approached by the people in our neighbourhood who need mediation and help in their conflict solving processes because of the trust we built through our activities and the fact that they know we are trained in conflict resolution. It is always a humbling experience, being able to help people and the fact that they trust us to help them when they are dealing with conflicts. It is a reminder to me and fellow girl guides who are in our peace club that we have to live and show that peace, even among ourselves to set a good example for the people in our society who look up to us.

Even though it has been quite some time that we haven’t been having our usual meeting us a club. We still try to be the peace we want in our community and each of us help wherever it is needed and we hope we will resume our activities soon and get to keep promoting peace together in our club.

As the theme of the WTD this year says let us all stand together for peace. Always remember to be good to fellow humans wherever you may be, always fight against conflicts and help to resolve them if there are any around you and remember to protect yourselves and stay safe from the COVID pandemic.

Peace and Love!"

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