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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Youth Lead Reconciliation Process in Columbia

Plus: Empowering women in New Delhi by training them to be delivery drivers, and using art to ease refugee integration in Canada

Colombia’s internal armed conflict has led to the death of more than 220,000 people and the displacement of 7 million more. Last week, Colombia’s congress approved a peace deal with the country’s largest rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), bringing a formal end to a conflict which had been ongoing since the 60’s. This decades-long conflict has created deep societal divisions, built on socioeconomic inequality, political corruption and a culture of violence.  

As a tenuous peace begins at the governmental level, the youth in an internally displaced camp have begun a grassroots initiative to begin to heal those divisions. They are from diverse backgrounds and together have developed a series of programs to help with the reconciliation process. The programs are geared specifically towards children and young people, with emphasis on having children from different neighborhoods interact with one another. With the help of the UNHCR, they have also built a youth center which has become a space where learning and exchanging of ideas can take place.

One of the programs that was developed through the initiative is called “Festival of Lights and Rights,” which is funded by the UNHCR. During this festival, the whole community comes together to share their experiences and take part in activities. This program has provided the community with a platform and the momentum to address more serious issues in the camps like crime, drugs abuse and lack of proper housing.

Read the full story here (via UNHCR)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

Logistics company delivers on gender equality

Photo: India Times

Gender biases are often deeply rooted in Indian society. In many places, economic independence for women is discouraged and access to public spaces is restricted. Sexual violence against women in India is also a disturbingly common occurrence, which puts further restriction on women’s movements. In an effort to empower women and tackle pervasive gender inequality, a delivery and logistics company in New Delhi is hiring and training them as delivery drivers. Riding around in scooters and making deliveries has given some of them a start towards financial independence, and encourages them to venture into different parts of the city. (via New Yorker)

Art as a tool for Refugee Integration

Canada has received praise from many in the global community for agreeing to accept Syrian refugees by the thousands. In addition to accepting refugees, Canada is actively engaged in helping them integrate into their new home. In addition to providing newcomers with services that address their basic needs, a cornerstone of Canada’s plans for integration has been to focus on initiatives which developing cultural understandings. Many of these initiatives involve the arts. For example, A museum that promotes Islamic heritage has been fast tracked and currently hosts an exhibition of Syrian art. Besides access to exhibits and performances, art organizations across the country have been hosting special meetings, discussions and meals for the refugee community. (via Quartz)

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