“Kids4Peace makes the real difference, it brings people together who would never have come together before. They realize they have the same books and music in common, and they both enjoy falafel, for example!”
- Jessica – Palestinian-American Christian participant, 15 years old
Being raised as a Christian in Jerusalem is an experience of being a minority. For me, wearing my cross in public is very important because I don’t want people to misunderstand who I am. I don’t want them to think she’s Jewish or she’s Muslim—I always want them to see me for who I am. I am proud to identify as Christian.
Kids4Peace was the first opportunity I had ever had to engage in interfaith work, and for me, when I would hear people talking about the peace process between the two sides of the conflict, knowing how little communication existed between the two sides, I wondered how peace could ever be achieved.
One of the first moments I started to understand what Kids4Peace was all about was when we started our storytelling activities. When I heard all these kids, all from such different backgrounds and beliefs, begin to share their stories, that’s when I knew the goal of the program: Building Trust. Building Understanding.
Some Palestinians think of Israelis as enemies. Media has a very big impact on people’s minds, it’s like a form of brainwashing. If I ask my friends if they ever interact with Jews, they’ll say only to go to the doctors, or in the mall, but that’s the only way they’d interact with them. So, because they have the wrong idea about each other, and are influenced by the media, they would question why I would want to do Kids4Peace.
Without Kids4Peace I would still be scared of talking to Jewish people, or even if I was talking to a Jew, always having this fear deep inside of me—but because of my experience, that fear has been broken, and melted away. Kids4Peace makes the real difference, it brings people together who would never have come together before. They realize they have the same books and music in common, and they both enjoy falafel, for example!
I feel I’ve accomplished so much in my years at Kids4Peace, bringing my story to people who don’t know what our reality of life is like—this has been a really powerful opportunity that Kids4Peace has offered me. The work we’re doing is really important and essential to the conflict here.
I have learned how to tell my own story, be honest with what I believe, and not be scared or ashamed of my values. We learn how to tell our story in the right way, to communicate, and use tools to express ourselves. Over the years, my story has grown stronger and stronger, and I’ve been able to add much more information while also expressing my values.