Anchoring on this year’s theme of the Mindanao Week of Peace “Sustaining the Journey for Peace” some 60 Christian and Muslim youth leaders from Zamboanga City and Basilan Province had a three-day journey during the Regional Youth Peace Forum conducted last November 21-23 at Our Lady of the Pilar Retreat House, Mercedes this city.
The Regional Youth Peace Forum is a yearly joined activity of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP) and the Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) which aims to gather the youth leaders from this city and the neighboring island province to Basilan to discuss the current issues that are affecting these two culturally diverse communities especially the youth sectors.
“For this year the activity aims to discuss relevant societal issues affecting the young generation and their roles as peacebuilding and to undergo the initial sessions on healing for personal and social transformation by using the concept of peace tables,” Rosie France M. Montojo, PAZ Project Coordinator said.
Miriam L. Suacito, the Executive Director of the Nagdilaab Foundation (NFI) a Basilan based non-government organization and a member consortium of ZABIDA was the led facilitator of the three-day stay in the healing session. She brought the youthful participants who are coming from the school organizations and community-based organizations into the deeper understanding of Trauma and Healing.
During her series of sessions with them, she underscored the different types of trauma that the youth now days are encountering such as the sexual and physical abuses, bullying and emotional abuses. She also presented mechanism how to go over with the pains and trauma and to formally be healed.
This year the Mindanao Week of Peace is on its 20th-anniversary celebration and it is putting more emphasizing on the need to continue the journey towards the just and lasting peace amid unending violence in Mindanao.
The youth peace forum capped with a planning session where the participants initiated doable activities related to healing intended for their communities especially for their fellow youth. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)