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War Child and H&M Foundation launch ‘Peace Circus’ in Colombia

Colombia’s internal conflict has raged for more than 50 years – leaving a generation of youth who have known nothing but war and violence. War Child and H&M Foundation have come together to boost the resilience of Colombia’s children with a new three-year initiative – the Peace Circus. The project will see Colombian children trained to become peace ambassadors.

The Peace Circus has been launched in the Putumayo province in Colombia. This creative and empowering three-year initiative will reach youth in ten villages close to Colombia’s border with Ecuador. Some 2,400 children and young people will take part in Peace Circus activities – and more than 100 teachers will support its peace-building efforts.

Significant steps have been taken in recent years to finally bring Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict to an end – but its effects are still being felt by the nation’s youth. All sections of society have been directly affected by the conflict. The nation’s schools have been especially hard hit – with many children unable to claim their right to an education.

Colombia’s Ministry of Education has chosen to implement fundamental peace building elements as part of the national curriculum – and War Child is one of the organisations that has been tasked with assisting this important process. The Peace Circus initiative represents a major part of these efforts and has been designed to influence and education young people in order to boost their resilience.

When we offer the children the right conditions, they have the opportunity to build the future they dream of.

— Emilia Molin, Head of War Child Sweden

The primary goal of the Peace Circus at the grassroots level is to influence Colombia’s nascent peace process. Children, teenagers and adults will be equipped with tools that will support them to create a culture inspired by peace – which they can then pass along to their friends, family members and relatives.

”Through our partnership with War Child we would like to contribute so that children in one of the most violent areas of Colombia have the possibility to break free from a destructive spiral. The travelling Peace Circus aims to promote a culture of non-violence in order to strengthen children’s self-esteem. The project will also contribute towards a safe school environment, which will encourage equal treatment and prevent discrimination and harassment. To encourage human equality and equal rights between men and women does not only help to improve the standard of life for the individual but has also a greater purpose; namely to encourage a more peaceful and including society that strives towards a more positive and sustainable development, says Diana Amini, Global Manager H&M Foundation.”

”We are incredibly proud over the fact that H&M Foundation has chosen to collaborate with War Child.” says Emilia Molin, Head of War Child Sweden. ”The Peace Circus is an innovative and an engaging project that makes the most out of the shared will of Colombia’s youths to create change. When we offer the children the right conditions, they have the opportunity to build the future they dream of. To form the project as a circus feels very right – it is a universal symbol: When the circus is in town, every one wants to join. It is a magical world: at the circus the impossible becomes possible.”

About War Child

War Child works exclusively to improve the psychosocial wellbeing of children forced to live with the effects of armed conflict. We work directly with children and young people in 14 countries to provide vital psychosocial support, protection and education.

War Child Sweden has a 90-account and is collaborating with, among others, IKEA Foundation, Queen Silvia’s Foundation – CATCH and H&M Foundation.

War Child works inside Colombia to improve children’s psychosocial wellbeing and strengthen their capacity to cope with the violence they experience. We work together with local communities to boost protection mechanisms and prevent the recruitment and use of children by armed groups. We also work with schools in the country to ensure vulnerable children have a protective and safe learning environment.