Feb 3, 2009

Garden of Peace: A Healing Center for Children Victims of War

Following the success of the project Fruit of Hope, Asia America Initiative Director Albert Santoli and Program Coordinator Rohaniza visited the war zone of Sulu of Muslim Mindanao to continue the integration of education and livelihood as a means of conflict resolution. AAI is partnering with the local government to coordinate projects that are planned with major international corporations and local cooperatives. The facilitating institution is the Fisheries College at Mindanao State University.

AAI began the creation of "A Healing Center for Children Victims of War. The center focuses on 200 Muslim children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old who were born and live in the area of conflict and terror. The emphasis is on people-to-people peace building. The objectives are to raise and deepen awareness of the effects of conflict on children; to call for more interventions in response to serious issues due to the exposure of armed conflict; to prevent children in areas of armed conflict to be recruitment targets of terrorist groups; and, to serve as a peace sanctuary that is needed in the children’s psychological growth and personality development, as well as a generational peace building process.

AAI seeks to create and sustain the center on private contributions from ordinary people as a statement of human solidarity among people of many cultures. The center is being created in partnership with local educators, religious leaders and the governor's office which is donating the land but does not have the funds to build and operate the center.

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