PAZ kicks of Schools' Peace Caravan

Four (4) major schools of Zamboanga City namely Ayala National High School , Baluno National High School , Recodo National High school and
Sinunuc National high School actively participated the Alliance of Peace Governments through Culture of Peace and Week of Peace Orientation last October 1, 2010 at Ayala National High School .

Fifty-three (53) participants along with peace coordinators from the four schools attended the commencement of the Schools Peace Caravan that consists of Sectoral orientation geared towards sharing information about the incoming celebration of the 2010 Mindanao Week of Peace grounded on the Culture of Peace.

Participants were chosen by school coordinators and administrators that comprise membership from student governments, visual arts group and representatives of each year level. Moreover, the activity was geared towards understanding the culture of peace as an inspiration to craft initiatives for school-based responses towards the week of peace.

The activity was sponsored by Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Interreligious solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) and Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP) in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd). As the first of the series of consultations, Dr. Socorro P. Canaya, School principal of Ayala National High School accepted the great challenge to host the first station of the said caravan.

Participants attended various workshops and activities highlighting the culture of peace. The workshops started with an imaginary getting to know you activity and statement of peace. They shared that peace is all about values. The elements of love, unity, respect, solidarity and happiness makes peace existing. Youth of the present generation being apathetic to the pressing issues needs to be awakened of the many social realities that all of us are facing.

A discussion on the culture of peace was strengthened better after watching the video entitled Meme na Mindanao and Batang Mindanaoan goes to America . Participants presented some major issues that strucked them the most like the eagerness of people to satisfy their needs, issues of poverty, discrimination and terrorism highlighted the discussion.

A presentation on the Peace Advocacy Programs of the organization was presented by Youth Coordinator Aldrin B. Abdurahim emphasizing the
role of the youth in nation-building. It was followed by the Solidarity meal which gave everyone the opportunity to rediscover the attitudes of leaders. In the spirit of solidarity, the element of sharing and sacrificing to the extent of helping others in their needs was the focal theme of the said meal.

Student Council Presidents laid down the foundation of the schools commitment for peace through the Hands for Peace: Yes for Peace tool which will be used throughout the solidarity journey of the caravan. The I LOVE PEACE program was also presented to the members of the cluster 1. The commitment is a great manifestation of the sustainability plan of the four schools towards various peace advocacy programs.

Meanwhile, a video presentation was shared to the group depicting the story of the Week of Peace. They were enlightened about how volunteers mobilize the various activities of the said celebration. The week of peace, being first initiative of PAZ and SALAM in 1997 had been in
existence for how many years up to the present. The schools expressed gestures of peace after the end of the workshop.

Student Leaders committed to be involved in handling various activities for peace like the unveiling of the peace bulletin through their newly created peace clubs, signature for peace, completion of the week of peace streamers, Barangay Mo , I-Peace Mo and other peace related activities.

PAZ on the other hand committed to support the various initiatives of the student peace advocates. Sr. Emma I. Delgado expressly shared gratefulness for the continuous solidarity journey of the four schools in peacebuilding. She disclosed that “it serves as an inspiration for
the organization to move our peace frontiers”. Also, Dr. Socorro Canaya challenged the participants to continue the journey of peace. Evidently, Peace will reach its greater heights in the completion of the peace caravan. Peace is in our Hands.  (Aldrin Abdurahim & Joshua Pierra / Peace Advocates of Zamboanga)