Teaching Peace. Healing Hearts. Saving Lives.
The Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States of America, is the realization of the vision of Rwandan genocide survivor, Kizito D. Kalima.
Over a three month period in 1994, over one million of Kalima’s fellow Rwandan citizens were murdered and several thousand more were displaced from their homes by political and governmental extremists.
Survivors like Kalima were left to deal with the aftermath of the genocide on their own. Many like Kalima, age 14 at the time, were children whose parents and other family members had been murdered. They were left to deal with deep grief, post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, anger, and hopelessness.
Some of the survivors turned their anger toward the genocide perpetrators and devoted themselves to seeking revenge – thereby ensuring that the cycle of violence would continue by turning today’s victims into tomorrow’s perpetrators.
Although he tried to move on with life, Kalima suffered physically and mentally from the pain, anger, and grief that he carried around with him. It took ten years before he sought help to deal with these issues—help that very likely saved his life.
It is Kalima’s dream and mission in life to bring this type of healing and restoration to young people who have experienced violence and injustice and to break the cycle of violence.
Since 2005, Kalima has been a passionate advocate for peace and healing, speaking to the public about his experiences through lectures and workshops designed to teach the lessons and tools for forgiveness and reconciliation. He has spoken to audiences at several high schools, universities, churches, and community groups throughout the United States as well as national and international organizations, including the United Nations and the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide. His story has been recorded among the Survivor Testimonies collected by the Shoah Foundation and featured in several media outlets.
In collaboration with several peace advocates, Kalima developed the innovative Indianapolis Model of Rwandan genocide memorial that promotes education, unity, and reconciliation among the young Hutu and Tutsi Rwandans who find themselves living outside Rwanda.
Through the Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Kalima has expanded upon his Indianapolis Model to create a permanent institution dedicated to helping youth overcome the legacy of violence, hatred, and division. The Center provides pathways to peace for young people through its Peace Academy, a program that offers conflict resolution training, character building, and mentoring from caring adults. The Center also provides support and fosters healing for young people who have experienced the pain of injustice or other traumatic events in their lives through its Journey to Freedom program.
The Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation stands ready to provide compelling lectures and hands-on workshops on the topics of peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation for your school or organization. Contact us today for more information.