Violence and its adversity are one of our biggest threats today: it impacts our wellbeing, our behavior towards each other, our ability to learn and develop, and even our economy. Taken to the extreme the resulting traumas from violence increases instability, poverty, and extremism. It engulfs communities already weakened, exacerbates vulnerabilities, fosters power struggles, undermines socio-economic growth and can eventually lead to violence.
Our environment is complex. We target unstable regions and conflict zones, yet we have had the ability to operate and fulfill objectives. Our programming has grown to be a unique social movement. It incorporates low-resource methods building upon cultural practices and traditions. The methodology uses local folktales, case studies, and artwork allowing participants to easily connect and understand complex ideas. It is a community volunteer program focusing on providing a safe space for participants to explore issues of violence, the effects of trauma, social healing and dialogue. Key participants include youth leaders, at-risk youth, women's groups, GBV survivors, religious leaders, disabled groups like the hearing-impaired, and the business community. Emphasis is given to narratives helping individuals and groups break the "cycles of violence", developing community-led peace initiatives. Leadership at all levels is engaged in an effort to support the break-away from a victimhood mentality.
We are a multi-disciplinary team of peacebuilders, community development workers, psychologists, police officers, and researchers designing trauma-informed interventions and methods for their evaluation. Our work is focused on addressing trauma as one of the root causes of violent behavior. We seek to understand how trauma and exposure to violence shape identity, memory, perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. An important aspect of examining violent behavior is understanding the nature of resilience. Our programs support participants in a process of deconstructing the narratives associated with beliefs and histories of conflict and grievances. This is done through the use of artwork and storytelling. Much of our work is focused on issues related to violence prevention, including extremism, crime, GBV, and ethnic violence.