War has been a way of life for Colombians. Generations of children have grown up with it. Anticipating a final end to the country’s 50-year armed conflict, Colombian officials have created an app to help children make the transition from war to peace.
CCTV’s Michelle Begue has more.
Colombia provides peace app to help children transition from warWar has been a way of life for Colombians. Generations of children have grown up with it. Anticipating a final end to the country’s 50-year armed conflict, Colombian officials have created an app to help children make the transition from war to peace. CCTV’s Michelle Begue has more.
Six year-old Jesus and his friends are learning about an imaginary country called “Hope.” It is described in a game as a beautiful place where some bad things happened.
The game invites them to help the country rebuild and become a better place.
If they learn to do this in a virtual world, perhaps they can apply those lessons in the real one.
This is the premise of a new Colombian app called “Peace is in our Voices.” Children can play its games online or on Android smartphones.
“You will notice the characters on the app are an indigenous child, a child of African descent, or a child in a wheel chair, and a baby and we see that every one of them has the right to be heard and participate in peace, no matter their background,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, Youth section of Victims Unit.
According to government statistics, Colombia has more than eight million registered victims of the conflict. Millions lost their homes andore than 200,000 have lost their lives.
Children under the age of 18 make up 50 percent of the victim population, another reason why the Victims Unit said it was vital to create a way to include kids in the peace process.
“As a government we need to implement strategies to make them understand, not only that they are victims, but that they have the right to be heard and to be participants in the construction of peace wherever they live,” Catherine Herrera, Coordinator of Youth Initiative Victims Unit said.
The app encourages kids to speak up and be active in their virtual community. At the end of the game it asks them to write a short message about what they want, or need, from their government.
“The proposals that we have seen are: I want a park where I can play; I want country in peace; I don’t want war; I don’t want violence,” Gonzalez said.
Jesus is one of the children who asks for a safe park to play in, a simple request from a boy who lives in a country that is still at war.