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."

Vocational Training Facility: Building Opportunities for Child Soldiers

Project #
IH - New York
  • Jonathan Carral

Vocational Training Facility: Building Opportunities for Child Soldiers

As an intern with Justice Rising International, a small nonprofit based in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jonathan was well placed to implement his Projects for Peace grant to build a vocational training center for former child combatants. The center was built in the rural village of Kalembe, located nearly seven hours from Goma, and a village that has been a target of military recruitment of children.

With the center now in place, Justice Rising is able to provide opportunities for youth in spite of ongoing conflict in the area. Twenty young people are presently utilizing the vocational training center — at which job skills training and psychosocial rehabilitation initiatives are combined. Justice Rising and another organization, Innocent Voices, furnished the center with $5,000 worth of training equipment to create an apprentice-like atmosphere to prepare students for the prospect of sustainable jobs in the future. Jonathan reports that without such marketable skills, children transitioning into adulthood are otherwise desperate and can often feel obligated to join the military just to survive.

Jonathan is hopeful that his project of disincentivizing at-risk youth from turning to the military for stability while empowering them to pursue alternative paths for their futures will be truly transformational.