Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Roots of Reconciliation

Project #
Reed College
  • Kirsten Mandala
  • Skye Macdonald

Rwanda is a country struggling to heal and rebuild from the traumas of civil wars that claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people in a single year. Two Reed College students spent the summer in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, teaching conflict resolution to young people whose lives were impacted by too much violence, brutality, and bloodshed.

Working in collaboration with the African Great Lakes Initiative, Skye Macdonald and Kirsten Mandala and two Rwandan co-teachers taught more than 200 students between the ages of five and 28, using themes ranging from community building and trust to diversity and prejudice and conflict resolution and peace. Through games, skill-building activities, and discussions, students came to recognize their own prejudices, focus on the values of diversity and tolerance, and were introduced to the idea that they could actually have an
impact on peace in their community, country, and the world.

As a lasting reminder of lessons learned over the summer, a lending library was established and plans made for continuing support for the library through donations not only of additional books and materials, but also funds to sustain a full-time librarian. The library will serve as an important resource for young people looking for alternatives to violence, and as a reminder that there are people outside of Rwanda
who care deeply about their future.