Rachel Wilson

Rachel is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor's in Social Work and a minor in Political Science. As an undergrad she traveled to Uganda and worked in a school and clinic conducting research on stigma related to orphans on HIV/AIDS and went on after graduating to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, where she worked in the public health sector facilitating group work, teaching life skills classes, and providing assistance to local medical clinics. After Peace Corps, Rachel volunteered at an orphanage in Kenya for several months before working for a short time in foster care in Illinois. Rachel is now completing her Master's in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at Arcadia University in Philadelphia. After her fellowship, Rachel wrote: "Working as a Peace Fellow in Kenya was a very unique experience that not only helped me develop different professional skills but also changed my personal views on development work and the importance of local answers for local problems."

How Isaiah Sees Violence – Including that of his own Father

26 Jul

Before we begin, I have good news and bad news. The good news is this post finally includes the video I have been talking about! The bad news is that I may be suffering from hearing loss at a young age because I thought the kid said his name was Sam when he actually said Isaiah… so there’s that.. Anyway, on to the story! 

Hearing about CPI’s projects before experiencing them in action and observing their effects firsthand left me with the idea that they were a little…. basic (and I mean no offense by that). But I think that is exactly what makes them so prolific. It is, quite simply, grassroots empowerment. They don’t really do anything but provide either tools or an environment which enables the involved parties to choose peace over violence. Beyond the direct impact their programs have also had a profound ripple effect, spreading past the students that CPI works with to their parents, extended families, and entire communities. 

In my previous post I briefly introduced Isaiah, a young male student in one of the primary schools in Nairobi that CPI has implemented an Interactions for Peace (I4P) program. I4P is taught as a part of the school curriculum, and CPI monitors the program once a week by assessing what the children have learned and getting feedback from them. When I first heard Isaiah’s story, it was with CPI during one of the weekly visits to Toi Primary School. Toi is in an area of Nairobi called Kibera, which is well-known as the largest “slum” in Africa (also where I have been living for the past couple of months), and it got rocked pretty hard during the post-election violence in 2007/2008. That, in my opinion, is all the more reason it should be encouraged as a breeding ground for peace! 

As you will see in the following video profile, Isaiah is a young kid (around 10), raised in Nairobi, not necessarily a stranger to violence. The interview is in Swahili, but with some help from Jane and, obviously, my fantastic and professional video editing skills (totally a joke) it has been subtitled. I apologize for the background noise but it was kind of unavoidable.

I love it.  Isaiah just makes me so happy. It makes me seriously wonder what would happen if peace programs were integrated into school curricula GLOBALLY. I mean honestly it sounds kind of weird, taking a peace class in school.. Well it doesn’t to me, because that’s what I am actually studying but as a young kid I don’t know… does it sound weird? Should it sound weird? 

If violent reactions are all a child sees, will they know any other way? A lot of the kids said that the I4P program had taught them the benefits of peace by showing them a way to validate and address their feelings without using violent means. Okay so they didn’t say that word for word, but that was the gist of it, and that is pretty stinking cool! Isaiah and his story encompass what I would consider an ideal example of CPI’s impact. 

This is the part where I nonchalantly insert the little plug, once again, for CPI’s Global Giving page. It is still open and will remain so for several weeks. 

If you feel a connection to any of the work that I write about and consider it worthy of any amount of financial contribution, please go to my appeal on Global Giving.

Now that I am back in the land of semi-functioning internet for a bit, I hope to finish several more profiles of people that CPI has directly impacted, so look for those in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for reading!

Posted By Rachel Wilson

Posted Jul 26th, 2016


  • Jan Wilson

    July 28, 2016


    Allegra said it perfectly!!

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