Church World Service (New York)

8 August 2012

East Africa: Orphaned Youth Group Organizing Events Expect to Draw 1,000 From 5 East Africa Nations

analysis

New York — Rising Kenyan performing artists rapper Juliani of the Kama Si Sisi social initiative and vocalist Avril (Judith Nyambura Mwangi) will join other artists and Kenyan dignitaries at a youth-led International Youth Day "Choose Peace!" Concert in Nairobi, Sunday August 12, followed by an International Youth Day conference August 13-15.

The youth conference is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania, all of whom are young heads of orphaned households and participants in humanitarian agency Church World Service's Giving Hope initiative in Africa.

Giving Hope now serves nearly 40,000 young caregivers and children in five East African countries and reaches beyond the traditional focus of simply helping orphans go back to school. Instead, the program helps youth succeed in the family caregiver responsibilities they now shoulder -- through building small businesses, pursuing their dreams, helping each other in collaborative youth working groups, and becoming voices for peace in their communities.

Described by the Giving Hope planners as "an artistic extravaganza," the Youth Day concert with Juliani and Avril is free and open to the public.

The non-profit, community outreach concert and Youth Day conference is aimed at rekindling the spirit of peace among youth as Kenya's December election approaches and learning from the violence that occurred following the country's disputed 2008 election.

The Hon. Martha Karua, Kenyan Parliament member, advocate of the High Court of Kenya and former Minister of Justice, will be special guest speaker for the Sunday concert event, joining other guest speakers and orphaned youth leaders who will give testimonies and their perspectives on Kenya's post-election violence, the Rwandan genocide, and the continued scourge of forcible recruitment of child soldiers.

WHAT/WHEN/WHERE:

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2012 - CONCERT and CONFERENCE

EAST AFRICA "CHOOSE PEACE!" CONCERT Sunday August 12, 2012 Starting 1:00 PM Local Time August 7 Memorial Park

East African rapper and peace and climate change activist Juliani

Rising singing star Avril

and

Honored Kenyan dignitaries

Also Featuring:

• A photo exhibition on Kenya post-election violence by regional artists, including photojournalist, graffiti artist and social activist Boniface Mwangi, founder of the youth-led Picha Mtaani organization, presented by the youth-led Picha Mtaani (Swahili for "street exhibition") peace initiative

• Additional headlined concert performers:

-- Kenya's Amani Acrobats

-- The Sarakasi Acrobats, an internationally performing arts nonprofit that trains youth in

acrobatics, drumming and dance, working with children in slums

-- Fahari Africa, internationally performing acrobats, dancers and drummers based in

Mathare, one of the Nairobi slums rocked by 2008 post-election violence

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY CONFERENCE: "Youth Action in Peace and Development"

August 13-15 State House Girls High School Opposite Nairobi State House gate C Nairobi, Kenya (Directions: Travel along State House Road, about 1km from University Way roundabout, along Uhuru Highway)

The youth-organized gathering will provide space for youth presenters and participants to reflect on and share their experiences, enabling them to learn and apply best practices and new knowledge into their lives. The sessions are designed to stimulate critical thinking among youth about the options open for them, assisting them to make informed choices that will contribute to lasting peace and sustainable development.

Online press kit including complete concert and conference programs here.

BACKGROUND:

Church World Service Giving Hope Youth Program

CWS' Giving Hope program, nominated for a 2012 Classy Award, has assisted nearly 12,000 youth caregivers and their households (more than 37,000 children) in six countries in East Africa, with more than 1,100 youth working groups now in operation.

The program began as a response to the large number of youth left responsible for their younger siblings in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and, later, HIV and AIDS. Beginning in 2003, CWS in partnership with local partners began promoting activities that served as catalysts to empower these young people in their communities. The initiative's effectiveness is documented in improved conditions for the youths' households and in the rest of their lives-- including inter-ethnic solidarity, reunification of separated families and the economic growth of the youths and their communities.

This Youth Day conference will mark the third such youth event organized by CWS since 2010.

Rapper and activist Juliani, named in July as one of the NCIC's new peace ambassadors, performed in Nairobi last fall for the Kenya kickoff of a youth caravan headed to the COP17 climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, which included Giving Hope delegates. Juliani then performed in Durban with artists Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Arno Carstens and rap star HHP, at a youth rally organized by South Africa Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

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