In July of 2007 I participated in an International Children's Peace Conference in Derry, Northern Ireland. The conference was hosted by Children in Crossfire. People attended from around the world, to present their vision for making the world a safer place for children. The Patron of Children In Crossfire, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, performed a forgiveness ceremony at the end of the conference. He placed a white scarf on the foundation founder, Richard Moore, who was blinded by rubber bullets as a child, and also on the British soldier who had fired the bullets.
Richard didn't harbor any bitterness towards the soldier and always expressed his desire to meet him. In 2006, Richard met Charles for the first time, and the two men have become close friends. Richard has never allowed his blindness to hinder his development. "I have learned to see life in a different way", is how he describes his journey. In 1996 Richard felt the need to harness all that he had learned and put it at the service of humanity, particularly children around the world who have been caught in the crossfire of poverty.
The story of Children in Crossfire, therefore, has its roots in what began as a tragedy and ended as a triumph of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
Established in 1996, by Richard Moore, Children in Crossfire has supported projects helping some of the most vulnerable children on the planet that suffer from the injustice of poverty. Today we work to change the lives of children in Tanzania and Ethiopia. We build essential services to support their well-being and education to meet their immediate needs. We improve their living conditions to help them to reach their full potential.
1. We work in partnership with organisations in Tanzania and Ethiopia to address the developmental needs of young children whose lives are caught up in the injustice of poverty.
2. We see development education as an important part of our work in Ireland and the UK to introduce people to the structural causes of poverty and help them find a role in making the world a better place.
Change is dependent on people, communities, and governments all working together to ensure that the right conditions are in place.
Leaders of organizations and programs that promote the welfare of international youth gathered from around the world to share their findings.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Richard and Charles participate in a ceremony demonstrating the power of forgivenss to heal the past and empower our futures.
Following presentations, conference participants collaborated in guided break-out sessions, to share and learn from one another.
Conference participants wrote prayers for peace on yellow index cards, and posted them on a mural entitled 'Absence of War'.
After the conference, a tour was provided of the neighborhoods of Derry, with remarkable lessons on the history of The Troubles.
This young boy requested his picture be taken rollerblading in the neighborhoods - an example of inspiring resilience and hope for new generations.