Story, Louvier Kindo Tombe
On February 4, 2022, Pope Francis said fraternity is one of the fundamental and universal values that ought to undergird relationships between peoples, so that those suffering or disadvantaged do not feel excluded and forgotten, but accepted and supported as part of the one human family.
“The only way to make human beings to respect each other, to love each other, and to live together harmoniously is to remind them that we are all human beings irrespective of our cultural backgrounds,” says Franca Ma-ih Sulem Yong, founder of Afrogiveness Movement.
That was the prime objective of the Fraternity Walk organized on the occasion of the International Day of Human Fraternity, in prelude to the 57th Youth Day in Cameroon, and within the framework of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The activities were organized by the Afrogiveness Movement, in partnership with Positive Youth Initiative (PYA) and the African Initiative for Health and Research Promotion (AIHRP) under the patronage of the National Commission for UNESCO in Cameroon.
“For UNESCO, Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed,” says Madam Moume Anne Lawrence, scribe at the National Commission for UNESCO in Cameroon.
She was one of the over 1000 participants (mainly youths, IDPs, refugees, victims and survivors of interfaith and intercultural conflicts, among others) who turned out for the Fraternity Walk in Yoaunde.
“Education through sports is the best vector for peace, through sports we can valorize fraternity, respect of human rights,” Madam Moume Anne Lawrence said.
From the head office of the Afrogiveness Movement in Mbankolo – Yaounde through Bastos to Parcour Vita, the youths from various religious backgrounds brandished placards with messages of peace as they walked chanting songs.
“The Fraternity Walk was instituted because nowadays, not a day passes without instances of man’s inhumanity to man,” Franca Ma-ih said.
According to a statement from Afrogiveness, “we need to invest significant efforts in helping humanity connect to its conscience and to sensitize people of all religions, countries, cultures, physical/mental disabilities on the oneness of humanity”.
“I am very happy to have taken part in this walk, because it has helped me as a christian to make muslem friends and understand that we are all one,” a participant told this reporter.
“I thank the organizers, UNESCO and Afrogiveness for providing us with this platform to express ourselves in view of living together,” another participant said.
Transforming Pain to Purpose
One major highlight of the Fraternity Walk was a workshop to train some 50 survivors of interfaith and intercultural conflicts on mediation and interfaith harmony. It took place on February 2, 2023.
The trainees will henceforth serve as ambassadors of peace in their respective communities, with the prime objective of transforming pain to purpose.
Afrogiveness is targeting future generation with this concept.
Some of the participants at the sports and fraternity for peace event equally took part in a race for peace with prices given to the best athletes.
The Afrogiveness choir was not left our as they presented a series of peace songs encouraging humanity, living together, love for mankind, among others.
Harmony in a world in crisis
Statistics show that 50% of peace building processes do not last and that the proverbial shaking of hands and signing of peace deals between warlords do not sustain peace.
The solution to a harmonious world lies within humans.
“We do not need to waste time bearing grudges against each other,” Dr. Steve Sulem Yong, representative of Sulem Yong Foundation told News Upfront.
“Grudges weigh a lot on us, and to liberate ourselves we need to forgive one another,” he added.
Coined from “Africa ” and “Forgiveness,” the Afrogiveness Movement was launched in 2018 (regigered in 2021) to provide mental health and psychosocial care to refugees and Internally
Its mission is to help mentally traumatized survivors of conflict and
intolerance heal through forgiveness and release through arts, thereby transforming trauma to treasure.
The main initiator of the Fraternity Walk to celebrate the International Day of Human Fraternity was the Afrogiveness Movement.
The NGO was the first organization to celebrate the day in Cameroon and that was last year during the first edition.
History of the International Day of Human Fraternity
The first week of February is commemorates as World Interfaith Harmony Week. It is a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. It further recognized the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.
Still within that frame, the General-Assembly of the United Nations endorsed the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled “Human fraternity for world peace and living together” and later in 2021 started commemorating February, 4 as the
International Day of Human Fraternity.
At the core of this document is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world.
The Afrogiveness Movement in their 2023 statement indicates that the need for spiritual guidance has never been greater. “It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity”.
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