Radio Kwizera, an instrument for Peace and Non Violence
When he left, as a seven year old, to the refugee camps in Tanzania, fleeing the violence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baruani never imagined the turning point of his life. Nine years later, his work and courage in Radio Kwizera was recognized last December with the International Children's Peace Prize.
His programme, "Sisi kwa Sisi" (Children for Children), seeks to create a common space for communication, entertainment and information for the refugee children of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, living in Tanzania and also to the welcoming community. The objective is to create a forum for understanding and speech for the affected as well as a way to communicate with their families, friends and governments, since in these camps they have no access to local or national radios. Thus, children can become aware of their rights as refugees and their need for social participation, in addition to sharing experiences and concerns on issues such as education, nourishment or protection.
Since he lost his parents and fled to the refugee camp, Baruani has worked on many progammes on infant rights, education, education promotion among girls and against gender violence. He has also been spokesman for the Children´s Parliament, President of the Children of Baraza and Vice President of the Children´s Association in the refugee Camp of Lugufu.
The International Children's Peace Prize is awarded each year to an exceptional child, whose brave activities and ideas have made a difference in the fight against the problems concerning the minors. This prize is an initiative of the Kids Right Foundation in Amsterdam, and was presented during the summit of the Nobel Prizes in 2005 by Mijaíl Gorbachov.
Radio Kwizera was created in 1995 by the Jesuit Refugee Service, with the support of Entreculturas, to help the refugee community who, after the genocide of Rwanda in 1994, emigrated to the North of Tanzania. It has also meant a support for the refugees coming from the civil wars of Burundi and Congo since 1996.
The general objective of this radio is to promote peace and reconciliation in the area of the Great Lakes. It is a community channel in four languages, mainly in Kirundi (the refugee language) and in Kiswahili (community language), and on some occasions in English and French.
Another objective is to facilitate an empowerment tool for the refugees and thus enable them to decide their destiny both at a personal and a community level.