People Choosing Peace: Dominic Johns (Liberia)
As a boy, I lived in Liberia in the most difficult times. I witnessed friends being forced, or willingly, join the fight during the war. I saw innocent people being killed in my presence and the presence of other kids.
All we saw in our childhood days was violence. As a result, the social fabric of our society broke down, leaving our education system in ruins, family structures badly altered and community support systems weakened. Many young people lost hope for a better future.
I can understand the fear, insecurity and the uncertainty of not knowing how one is going to survive. But I developed survival skills, and I have been able to plan for my future. Now, I find great satisfaction in teaching others how to be confident in their abilities and become self-reliant.
It is my love for youth empowerment and my country that have encouraged me to establish the Youth Focus Centre. It is my goal to provide more underprivileged youth with the opportunity for education, self-sustainment, and self-empowerment.
After so many years of civil war in Liberia, peacebuilding is key to the development of our nation.
I heartily feel that there is a need to make a difference in the lives of our war-affected brothers and sisters. As a young person, I can talk to my peers about the peacebuilding process of my country and share stories about the importance of peacebuilding.
In order to succeed in our work as peacebuilders, we need to give our ears – listen to the people who are finding solutions to end their problems.
Source: Conciliation Resources
Photo: Ingrid Guyon / Conciliation Resources