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."

Bell, Books and the Clean Light that Lasts

Project #
College of Idaho
  • Anniella Kabitso

Anniella Kabitso’s education at The College of Idaho and the experience of being a minority in the United States made her reflect on another minority—the Twa in Burundi. A group of hunters isolated in a remote part of the country, they have been excluded and discriminated against by local society. “I thought to myself: I can’t be at a liberal-arts college discussing racism when I am guilty of doing that very thing to my own people.” Her project sought to foster inclusion and dialogue and take steps toward greater acceptance of all.

Anniella held a four-week educational camp in the rural regions of Mwaro province and along with local, mostly Twa, youths, built a study center. Lack of electricity hinders education for all children in Burundi, so a solar-powered study center will allow them to do their after-school work.

She worked with Youth Building in Synergy (YSBP), whose leader, Jean Marie Nsengumuremyi, is a local activist for Twa rights; and Christine Mahoro, a Twa youth who is a college graduate. They helped bring together Twa youth and those from other ethnic groups for the camps.

“I am sure the rest of the participants now see how nonsensical the divisions our elders subscribe to are, and that whatever warlike agenda that often follows is so needless,” she writes. She says the youth she worked with felt included for the first time, and she hopes to shift the country away from the divisions that have led to war in the past.

“Ethnic feuds could be easily overcome if we had more widespread camps like this one; camps where we get to talk things out and work as a ‘we,’ as ‘the Burundian youth’ without getting caught up in hurtful past conflicts over which tribe is better and hence deserves more,” she writes.