The Gisenyi town Library is an amazing Peace Library that offers children access to reading books near many Gisenyi primary schools.
When the library first opened there were many children who came to check out books and each day the number of children increased. So far the number of children using the library is around 147 from 5 schools within the area. The library is growing and 4 new shelves were added and more books are being donated to the library.
This Peace Library seeks to give the children access to knowledge through books and to promote a culture of reading. The Gisenyi Peace Library has also provided a Peer Mediation workshop for children who attend the library. On the 11-13thof June, 2012 two groups of children in different schools were given 3 days of peer mediation training. The first group was made of 18 children aged 8 to 13 while the second group had 21 children aged 10 to 15. One group was trained in the morning and the other in the afternoon because of school schedules.
The motivation behind this peer mediation workshop was to give teenagers the proper skills so that they may develop a greater understanding of conflict and different styles of resolving conflict, factors that escalate conflict, and how mediation fits into the distribution of power in conflict.
Young people want help settling their own disputes. They may act like they don’t want help, but they do. Therefore the mediation given to these children will help them find a way to settle their problems constructively on their own.
It wasn’t easy to choose which children to be trained but Theoneste and Laura, who work with the children’s peace library, helped choose them by contacting the parents of the children and came up with two groups to be trained. When J. Baptiste and Therese, the peer mediation facilitators, arrived they found them ready to learn and participate in the workshop.
During the workshop things went very smoothly and children understood the content of what conflicts are, the factors that escalate them, what mediation is, and different ways of resolving conflicts. They were very happy to have been invited to participate in such wonderful training.
Some of the recommendations given from one of the participants who represented all in the first group he said: “This is my first time to be called for a training and I guess it is the same thing to my fellow participants. We have liked this workshop and we wish to continue for at least a full week or the organizers of this workshop may they set another time for like this. I am going to be different and carry out all good characteristics of a good mediator to my school, streets and home.”
In the second group, they too wished the same as in the first group. The only difference is that our parting wasn’t good for them for it touched their emotions and some cried and asked the telephone number of Therese and J.Baptiste so that in case they think of us they will call.
Narrated by J.Baptiste.