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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

I advocate for peace

Guinea is a country in West Africa with a population of just over 10 million people – despite its small population, it is home to over 20 ethnic groups who speak more than 25 different languages. Like many countries throughout the world, ethnic differences cause tension in Guinea.

This is the exact reason 13-year-old Fatoumata accepted the position of Minister of Discrimination in her school’s student government.

“In my village, families do not easily accept each other. Those from the Mandingo ethnic group do not collaborate with ones from the Foula ethnic group,” she says. “Unfortunately, our parents’ bad behaviour has extended even to the schools and is affecting relationships between students on campus.”

Fatoumata notes that students often fight each other and that each group of students discriminates against the other.

Traditionally in Guinea, the voice of youth and children has been absent from decision-making, even on issues affecting them directly. However, with the establishment of children`s parliaments and youth clubs in ChildFund-supported schools, things are starting to change for young people.

“I want to talk about peace with my fellow students and, if possible, with our parents,” Fatoumata says. In her role as Minister of Discrimination, Fatoumata dreams of eliminating the discrimination she can see at school, which has been passed down through many generations.

“To my friends, I would say, ‘Make peace with each other because if we follow our parents’ bad ways, we will not grow to become good people.’ To the parents, I would say, ‘Help us grow and become good people in the future.'”

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