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Tikkun Olam

The Kenya Peace Project

The Kenya Peace Project is a short term VolunTour opportunity which will be offered to young Jewish adults (ages 23 -35) that are passionate about global travel and Jewish social action. We are looking to provide a hands on and effective volunteer exerperience where Jewish young adults learn about social action through a Jewish lens which will affect their Jewish identity. The goal of the project is to utilize an existing peace building project in Kenya, and to help develop the programs and successes by inserting young Jewish professionals from Toronto into the activities. The Youth Ambassadors for Peace is a program that was created in May 2009 as a reaction to the post-election violence that swept across Kenya in 2008 leaving approximately 1300 dead and more than 1 million displaced. The purpose of the organization is to encourage youths on the ground in Kenya to develop a grassroots movement and grassroots projects to try and tackle negative societal elements like tribalism and youth idleness. This project is working, in particular in the Western part of Kenya, with the Kisii, Luo and Kalenjin tribes. The successes of the project to date have been phenomenal. To date, we have an annual soccer tournament that brings together these different tribes through sports. We now have 9 peace clubs in various high schools that attempt to teach peace from a young age and get these students to volunteer to spread positive messages. We have a youth centre and office in a village called Matongo, and a drama club that performs skits, recites poetry, and sings songs about peace and the effects of war in Kenya. We also have a new chicken farm, in which we buy chickens and donate the eggs produced to community members who have recently been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. It is a way to give back to this afflicted part of the community, and show these most vulnerable people that they have the support of the youths. We want to expand these projects. The hospitality and welcoming nature of the people in Kenya makes it a perfect place for young professionals to come and help develop these programs. These professionals will come from a variety of backgrounds and have many different specialties and experiences, and it is these traits that will enable the project to develop grow and succeed further. Kenya will be an unforgettable experience which will allow for young Jewish adults to be engaged in a new and creative initiative within the Jewish community.