PEACE GARDENS PROGRAMMES
The Earth Champions Foundation worked with a Youth group called Young Stars on a Peace Garden Programme in Newham. The project was run by Catalyst in Communities and The Earth Champions Foundation and was funded by Awards for All. The group were taught skills in negotiation, peace, how to handle difficult situations and green skills such as growing food, eating local and seasonal and recycling.
Following on from the success of the Young Stars programme the Foundation has just completed two Peace Gardens with a school in East London and an Intergenerational group in Bristol.
WHY IT IS NEEDED
All over the world tensions between young people, their communities and outside influences can contribute to some individuals being at risk from gang culture, isolation, loneliness, violence & street crime. There is a situation developing in the UK where people have high unemployment and keep to themselves, or feel anger towards other groups resulting in less interaction taking place, and increased hostility.
The Gardens will provide a space for the attendees to share experiences and cultivate community spirit and friendship without feeling threatened or living in fear. The intention is to create a place that is to be peaceful and neutral. The groups will learn skills in peace, understanding differences and will learn to garden and grow plants and food. The ongoing process highlights that people of all ages from different backgrounds and cultures can work together on positive, sustainable and peaceful projects and give up violence in favour of cooperation, gain respect from their community and develop skills and knowledge that can be used in work and home.
The Foundation has a successful record of initiating and working with young people in creating their own Peace Gardens that includes intergenerational work and advice from nominated Earth Champions for the gardens in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia. The peace garden programme is an easily transferrable model that can be designed to meet the needs of specific countries, communities and different age groups.
The Peace Garden Projects teach a wide range of transferable skills, which continue to be used in their lives; through education, employment and learning to relate to others in a constructive, peaceful way. The Peace Garden programme can be taught in many communities, so people create their own Legacy of new skills, gardens and sense of belonging.