Building peace across Haiti's border
August 14, 2009
Plan’s ground-breaking peace camps on the Haiti and Dominican Republic border are helping youngsters to move away from violence, tackle prejudice and foster trust.
Why are peace camps needed?Although they share an island, the people of Haiti and their neighbors in the Dominican Republic have historically had a difficult relationship. The mutual animosity comes from a number of factors, including economic co-dependence, racism and longstanding prejudices between the two nations.
The markets along the border areas are the lifeblood for both communities, bringing them together through necessity and opportunity. Tensions can be high at these border towns where many Haitians have reported abuse by authorities, random deportation and physical violence from their Dominican counterparts.
Success of peace projects supports work of Olympic CommitteesThis video shows how Plan’s cross-border peace camps are easing hostilities by reaching out to children and youth and helping them to foster friendship, solidarity and trust by giving them the opportunity to meet each other face to face and break the biases of their predecessors.
So far, the results of the peace camp efforts have been positive on both sides of the border, even spreading to the wider society. The ‘Friendship Games,’ sponsored by the Haitian and Dominican Olympic Committees are a prime example of how Plan’s work has brought real change.
As Juan Mateo, President of the Elias Piña (Dominican Republic) Sporting Union said, the cross-border program “opened the doors for us — so we could get to the Haitian towns and have a fraternity with the Haitians through sport.”
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