United World Week in Burundi
Youth for a United World in Burundi have vowed to use their cultural differences, the media and talents as a tool towards fraternity.
During an annual national musical event held on May 12th 2018 with the theme “Beyond borders”, young people who are members of the Focolare movement and the GEN Sorriso musical band, organized a great concert on the occasion of the United World Week. The event took place in the capital city of Burundi Bunjumbura bringing together over 1000 people from the whole country.
GEN Sorriso is a musical group comprising of young and adults who are talented in music and are members of the Focolare movement. Their aim is to use music and other artistic tools to spread messages of peace in Burundi and beyond. They have severally been invited to perform in Rwanda and Kenya during international events organized to promote fraternity.
During the event, which was broadcasted live on one of the local radio stations, there was different talent shows by talented artists from Burundi. Presentations ranged from music, poetry and drama as tools towards fraternity.
In addition, there was speech presentations about peace from different religious groups. Religious leaders present came from the Muslim community, Anglican Church and Protestants. There was a round table discussion about how to build peace and live in harmony as Burundians. Muslim leaders present challenged other religions who are the majority in Burundi to take advantage of their numbers and spread messages of peace throughout the country.
After the radio show which lasted for one hour, all the people gathered in one of the biggest squares in Bujumbura where there was also live presentations and competitions in singing, poetry and drawing. The winners were rewarded with presents courtesy of the Coca Cola Company in Burundi who were the main sponsors of the event.
The competitions and all presentations brought out one clear message, a message of reconciliation. Majority of the presentations, which were presented during the event, concentrated on peace building and bridging the bridge among the Burundians. In addition, the messages of peace also brought out the idea of going beyond our borders.
Particularly one among those who were seriously affected was a member of the Youth for a United World who was beaten by the police to the point of being paralyzed. His case gave the Youth for a United World in Burundi more energy to be very active in promoting and becoming ambassadors of peace.
For many years Burundi has been facing civil clashes after every general election and, in the last general election, many Burundians lost lives through clashes which happened in the whole country.
In the 1990s the country experienced a Genocide in which many people were killed. Since that time the situation in the country has been very delicate hence several groups have come up with initiatives of peace building.
In the recent general elections, many Burundians had to run to the neighboring countries like Rwanda and Congo to seek for refuge after it became difficult to live in Burundi.