South Sudanese young refugees use arts to promote reconciliation

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-12 23:59:49|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JUBA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- A group of youthful refugees from South Sudan living in temporary shelters in northern Uganda have come together to promote peaceful co-existence and reconciliation through performing arts.

The young South Sudanese refugees who fled turmoil in their motherland five years ago are using drama, music and sports to advance harmonious co-existence among communities.

John Jal Dak, a 24-year-old refugee youth and peace activist living in Rhino Camp, located in Arua District of northern Uganda, told Xinhua on Wednesday he founded a Youth Social Advocacy Team to mobilize youngsters to become agents of peace.

"Our key strategy is to change the mindset of our people who are living in the refugees camps in Uganda and enable them heal from traumatic experience of war," said Dak.

He fled Juba in 2013 to seek refuge in Uganda and noted that music, drama and comedy is key to push for peaceful coexistence among the diverse refugee groups in Uganda while helping rebuild the broken social fabric.

"Peace is not something anyone can touch so we created peace messaging in the form of songs, poetry and comedy that win peoples' hearts from hate to love," said Dak.

He said beside arts they also use community outreach, dialogue and meetings, including cultural catalog that reminds people to embrace positive cultures in order to promote peace.

Lupai Moses, another strong-willed refugee artist and founder of Action for People in Need Organization, told Xinhua that he is happy to be engaging the South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda through his music.

The 34-year-old said he fled to Uganda with his family after the July 2016 renewed clashes and he was beset by the high-level of tribalism and hatred in the camps that inspired him to conduct live performances as a means to resolve conflict that has cost thousands of lives.

"Upon my arrival in the camp I found that majority of refugees were in conflict and could not see eye to eye with other ethnicities so I came up with the initiative of organizing live-band music performance to encourage the people," said Moses.

South Sudan's five-year conflict has made millions of South Sudanese civilians seek refuge in neighboring countries.