"Children's art is dangerous for war," reads a sign in a school on the south edge of Bogotá, Colombia. The sign reflects the work of building a culture of peace among children and youth in the war-torn country.
In the wake of 60 years of civil war, work for peace in Colombia takes place in many different settings: official peace talks among warring factions; advocacy for victims of violence; and education to strengthen the voices of women, youth, Indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians- all groups that have often been left out of decisions made by those who hold power.
The Latin American Centre for Popular Education, known as CEPALC (SAY-palk), is one of three United Church partners in Colombia supported by Mission & Service.
CEPALC is an ecumenical group that helps children who have lived their entire lives in the midst of war imagine peace and experience healthy community. It also offers training in media production to many community radio and cable TV stations in different parts of Colombia challenging the norms of violence and lifting up alternative ways of living in peace. CEPALC makes its own radio, video, theatre, dance, and puppet productions as it works toward a culture of peace throughout Colombia.
Another sign in the school says, "War is afraid of children's art."
We are thankful that CEPALC, supported by Mission & Service, helps children become a force for peaceful change in Colombia.
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