Peace group is helping make a difference

PUBLISHED: 15:47 13 September 2007 | UPDATED: 15:14 12 May 2010

Education co-ordinator Tanya Mowbray says the children the group works with learn a lot and have more confidence – Pic: Dick Harding

Education co-ordinator Tanya Mowbray says the children the group works with learn a lot and have more confidence – Pic: Dick Harding

YOUNG people are being encouraged to take responsibility for peace, human rights and the environment through an educational programme. Peace Child International, based at Buntingford, empowers youngsters through the Be the Change! Challenge which has been

YOUNG people are being encouraged to take responsibility for peace, human rights and the environment through an educational programme.

Peace Child International, based at Buntingford, empowers youngsters through the Be the Change! Challenge which has been given funding by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to promote sustainable lifestyles and behavioural change in UK primary schools.

Education co-ordinator for the organisation based in Buntingford, Tanya Mowbray, said: "We spend the day at a school, giving an assembly and then doing workshops with the children.

"The children we have worked with say they have a lot more confidence and learn a lot from the day."

The challenge staff, mainly comprising young people from all over the world, work with the children on a range of workshops based on energy, waste, food, fair trade, fashion, and consumption.

Miss Mowbray, 24, said: "We give the children their own sustainable living contract where they can commit to certain behaviour changes.

"We then go back to the school about four weeks later to see if they have stuck to their contract and hand out certificates to those who have."

The organisation also has a Be the Change! Ambassador programme aimed at 14-18-year-olds.

Staff work with around 10 interested pupils training them to run their own workshops with younger children.

Miss Mowbray, who has been at Peace Child International for 18 months, said: "The workshops are very successful. We have had a lot of positive results.

"Parents often start adopting some of the ideas that we give to the children, such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, or unplugging a phone charger when the phone has finished charging.

"We want young people to come and get involved with the organisation, whether doing art work or writing."

Peace Child International was founded in 1981 by David and Rosie Woollcombe who still live at the headquarters in Buntingford.

The youth-led charity began in the Cold War era, working with young people to produce a musical, called Peace Child, based on their dream to end the nuclear stand-off between the USA and the USSR.

Schools interested in the Be The Change! Challenge should contact Tanya Mowbray on 01763 274459.

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