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A new peace garden in Juba plants seeds of hope for lasting peace

A group of students from Don Bosco Senior Secondary School in Juba have been busy the last two months designing and planting a peace garden in their school. While South Sudanese leaders have put pen to paper to sign a new peace deal in Addis Ababa, these pupils have put their hands to work to sow the seeds for peace.

“We need to give peace by talking to others about peace. Neighbors, parents, friends, as well our enemies,” says Athou Philip Marial, one of the members of Don Bosco Secondary School’s Gender-Based Violence Club, the group behind the peace garden project.  

Athou explains that the garden symbolizes hope for a lasting peace and says he is committed to promoting peacebuilding alongside his fellow club members.

The fifteen members of Don Bosco’s Gender-Based Violence Club all belong to different ethnic groups across South Sudan. Together they designed the peace garden with a human heart at the center – upheld by two hands on either side – to depict that peace begins with the individual and radiates onto others.  

“We continue supporting government initiatives, on revitalizing durable peace, through the recently signed peace agreement,” says Lado Elpido Redento Kulang, the club’s president

The club had the opportunity to present the peace garden project to a large audience of civil society members, government officials, UN personnel, and South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga during recently held celebrations for International Day of Peace in Juba.

Grasping onto the idea of spreading peace from the individual, the youngsters shared their vision of a unified, cooperative, forgiving and tolerant social fabric as exemplified in their design of the garden.

“Peacebuilding ought to be sustainable, otherwise it will not serve the desired purpose. Sustainable in the sense that it has to spill over to the next generation,” said Vice President James Wani Igga during the 70th Anniversary of peace day.

These pupils have fully embraced their role of sustaining peace for the future generation. They further pledged to maintain the peace garden and water seeds of hope in light of the revitalized peace agreement.

“This can no longer be a hope or dream for the people of South Sudan. They suffered for far too long, they have the right to peace, a right to live safely with dignity in their own homes, and a right to see their children reach their full potential,” says Eugene Nindorera, Head of UNMISS Human Rights Division.  

Funded by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the peace garden project serves as an emblem to promote and defend human rights, so that the hope for peace can be turned into a lasting reality.