Peace starts from the peace officers’ understanding of peace.
Peace starts with the community living justice.
Peace starts from accepting our differences and building from these differences.
Peace will never grow from the barrel of avarice, envy and injustice.
These lines about peace were contained in a piece of paper distributed on Saturday at the KCC Mall here, the venue of an activity geared towards the promotion of peace in Mindanao.
The event, a contest dubbed “Samot’Saring Kulay Para sa Kapayapaan,” is unique in the sense that the main actors are not adults but children aged four to nine unleashing their creative side.
The participants from this city and neighboring areas were given a pre-drawn kit of a dove with its beak tied with a knot to a globe symbolizing the world, with the words peace and joy inscribed in uppercase letters on the drawing sheet.
The kids were given crayons, and surrounded by parents and yayas, let loose their creative juices.
Alma Celesthia Aguja, executive director of the Kalimudan Culture and Arts Center, said the participants paid P30 for the drawing sheet and the crayons but the proceeds will be used to finance a similar peace coloring activity next month involving poor children in the city.
“The [coloring] contest is part of the Itanum Kalinaw [Plant Peace] project implemented by the center months before the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration,” she said, adding it is a continuing project aimed to foster the value of peace.
The center, which is a coalition of local artists and non-government organizations, has tied up with the local Catholic Church so the city can take part in this Mindanao-wide, week-long peace celebrations. Muslim groups in the city have also taken part in the same celebrations.
It was the second time that this city participated in the Mindanao Week of Peace, which kicked off in 1999 through the initiatives of the Bishop-Ulama Conference, according to Aguja.
“This year is better than the first because local peace groups have been united, thus we have many activities like this kids’ coloring contest for peace. There will be a peace concert tonight,” she said.
Aguja told MindaNews that last year events have not been coordinated, with one peace group holding an activity without the knowledge of the others.
She credited the better activities in this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace celebrations to the assistance provided by such groups as the United Nations Act for Peace Program, the Mindanao State University and the governments of Australia, Spain and New Zealand.
For the coloring contest, at least 32 children joined the event that draw the interest not just of a local television crew but also shoppers who were seen stopping by to see what the children were doing.
Organizers said most of those who participated were walk-in clients of the mall, although a day earlier it was learned that organizers have been doing the rounds of the mall to promote the activity.
Michelle Faye Zaulda, 8, from SPED Elementary School, took home the top prize of P1,500. Second was Sittie Sairah Malic,7, from the Shalom Crest Wizard Academy, with a prize of P1000 and third was six-year old Sheena Marie Ytac from Shilok Christian Learning Center.