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Sea of smiles, humor, joy... Teens in Ukraine teaching Peace

"….there were those for whom violence has a negative place in life. [Yet] Despite all the experiences,... everything turned out very cool! Sea of ​​smiles, humor, joy.

-Marta, Training Leader

I was thinking before the training, whether the participants understood why [we did] this exercise, maybe they just perceived it as a game. But their answers were deep and intelligent, it is very enjoyable when everyone makes something for themselves, to ponder...

-Marta, Training Leader

When we started this program two years ago, teaching teens in Kiev, it seemed like such a small project: kids doing exercises that moved them toward self-examination and trust, that taught them how to manage conflict and what to look for in healthy relationships. It became more intense.

Each of those two years, more than a hundred teens across Ukraine wrote essays about why they wanted to participate. Each year, we only picked sixteen. A couple of days turned into three gatherings of three long days each--from breakfast to lights out. Teens surprised us with how quickly they progressed and the depth of the experience. By graduation of the second year, some teens had begun teaching other kids what they had learned. I am, of course, thrilled.

The following words and images are taken from trainings in cities in Ukraine where these graduates were teaching the techniques of peacemaking to young children and other teens.

The school for Peacemaking is a combined project sponsored and directed by Children of Hope (Ukraine) and This Child Here (USA). Dormitories and meals are provided by The Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. A big Thank You also goes to the Alternatives to Violence Project, (global) for the inspiration behind much of our content in these trainings. -Robert Gamble

Marta, Training Leader

Marta, Training Leader

" I realized that no matter how much strength and emotion I have invested in training, it should not and cannot be interesting and necessary for all participants. ….I managed not to lose the initial attitude and every exercise started with the same inspiration and hope that people would be there and they would be interested... Ksenya, Training Leader

I would like to hold trainings with Marta so that people learn more and change the world." Participant

"I liked the game" Island "I could freely express my opinion and nobody interrupted me and did not correct. I was comfortable, I felt right, was easy and free. " Participant

Even after an hour and a half, they already independently analyzed their behavior and took from the game "Islands" something into their lives. " Danil, Training Leader

"I liked that I myself was fond of games, the process and could have fun with the participants, despite the fact that there was still a slight alarm. It was pleasant that the feedback after the second game called “Island”Ostrov it turned out to be a discussion between the participants. The discussion was not very peacekeeping , but I am glad that the participants were affected by the exercise, they did not let it bother them, and they started some processes for analyzing their behavior, communicating with each other. Dasha, Training Leader

Danil, according to him, "caught a small wave" and it was easy for him to run around with the children there and back. And not just rush, but somehow constructively reinforce them....With gratitude for the support This Child Here. -Alla Soroka, Project Manager

Nastya, Training Leader

Danil, Training Leader

Ksenya, Training Leader

Danil, Training Leader

Dasha, Training leader

Alla Soroka, Project Manager, This Child Here

Sabina Training Leader for This Child Here

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