Sports as a tool for teaching peace values to youth in Mageragere.

ASOLATE (Association for Youth Literacy and Trades Education), is a program that teaches former street children and child soldiers basic literacy and a trade that can allow them to pursue a career. The organization was born out of a belief that human resource development is the key to improving the nation building capacity of Rwanda.

The organization’s vision looks to a country fully developed in its human and resource capacity; free from poverty, ignorance and Genocide Ideology, and one in which the poorest and most vulnerable can become leaders effectively managing national and community resources.

The organizations founder Seleman Nizeyimana, understands the perspective of the most vulnerable within the country as a former child soldier. His past in the military at such a young age inspired him to contribute to ensuring other young people do not face the same negative experience.

“Looking back at my years as a child solder made me hate military service, and become passionate about child sponsorship and youth empowerment. That is the work that we do through my organization Asolate which we founded in 2003. In addition, we use sport to educate young people about peacebuilding and conflict resolution.” he reiterated.

Asolate has utilized sport as a tool for teaching peace values to youth. The organization partnered with ‘Peace One Day’ in 2015, holding a ‘One Day One Goal’ tournament reinforcing reconciliation amongst street children and child soldiers.

“Football is a game that brings together a lot of people, so you can use football as a message, to teach about messages of peace. While I have been watching youth playing, you can find some youth who do not want to be in the same team because the family has issues. But for you to win a match you have to have unity. That is when I realized we need to have a program that teaches peacebuilding and conflict resolution.”

In September Asolate organized games for peace in Mageragere sector. Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza, Executive Director of Never Again Rwanda, opened the final game of the tournament and awarded the ‘Beto’ team as champions of the peace tournament after a 1-0 win over VTC Butamwa.

At the end of the tournament, Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza in his remarks called upon the youth to be real contributors to peace values within their communities, and commended Asolate for their unique use of sport to preach values of unity and togetherness.