In 2006, everyday gandhis promised a group of former child soldiers and war-affected youth in Liberia that we help them heal from war and acquire an education. Going to school may sound like a simple task to many of us in the western world. But for these children many obstacles had to be overcome to return to civilian life, and now as young adults they still face many challenges in order to finish high-school and continue to university. Our former child soldiers and war-affected youth have never stopped fighting. They fight for forgiveness, they fight for long-lasting peace, and they will fight for a better life for themselves and their communities. We can offer these resilient learners a way to rebuild their lives and make amends to their communities by becoming leaders and examples for others.
Future Guardians of Peace:
Our mission is to support former child soldiers and war-affected youth in becoming leaders in peace building and environmental restoration through photography and community outreach.
“No one can convince me to go and fight war again because I have known myself to be a peacebuilder.”- Lassana Kanneh, Future Guardian of Peace
Seven former child soldiers and war-affected youth in Voinjama, northwest Liberia, proudly call themselves “Future Guardians of Peace.” Now in their late teens and early twenties, these kids have resumed their interrupted schooling, extricated themselves from the drug-and-alcohol culture of their war buddies, and are working hard to earn the respect of a suspicious community.
What is unique to the Future Guardians of Peace project is that these former child soldiers and war-affected youth are simultaneously documenting their own and each others’ healing process in their journey to becoming Future Guardians of Peace. They are helping classmates resolve conflicts, helping other ex-combatants contribute to their community and sustain themselves, and they are learning to appreciate nature by seeing deeply.
Community Projects: The Future Guardians of Peace are actively working in their communities doing service projects in Monrovia and Voinjama this summer. In Monrovia, there is an ongoing open forum where youth are discussing some of the issues they face, and self-organizing how to clean up and protect their communities. Soccer and kickball matches bring everyone in the community together. In Voinjama, a peacebuilding workshop was held on August 2, 2011 with 30 youth participating and discussing how to deal with anger and fear, as well as how to build healthy relationships. A clean up campaign also took place where the FGP organized a clean up of the community with youth, including ex-combatants.
We promote dialogue about the nature of healing from war through films, council, writing, and photography.
We have produced two documentary films, The Dead Will Guide Us and Portrait of a Peacekeeper in the last two years. The completion of our third documentary, Future Guardians of Peace, will be in December 2011. We will be doing screenings, presentations, and council discussions throughout the US and internationally at various venues during 2012, so keep in touch to find out where you will be able to see our new documentary about former child soldiers and their transition to peacebuilders.
Be on the lookout for our Future Guardians of Peace Multi-Media Exhibition traveling around the US and internationally in 2012! We will also be launching our curriculum guides that will be packaged with the films for purchase by Universities and programs worldwide.