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Cardinal Newman Catholic School students learn about harsh realities of life in Colombia
Pupils were confronted with the harsh reality of life for young people in Colombia when they were visited by two musicians.
Students aged 15 from Cardinal Newman Catholic School met musicians from Bogota who are using their music to teach youngsters that there is an alternative to violent conflict.
Cesar Lopez has been playing guitar for more than three decades and uses an AK-47 rifle that he has transformed into a guitar to play his songs of peace.
Former Colombian gang member Fredy Gallego left the gang life to form a rap band and now teaches young people how to avoid the temptations of drugs and violence, and instead channel their energies into creative graffiti, break-dance and rap.
The youngsters also hear how peace work in Columbia is helped by funds raised by the schoolchildren for the Catholic Aid Agency, CAFOD.
Martin Brown, CAFOD manager for Hove, said: “The pupils really embraced the notion that we are just one world and it’s important to reach out to others, support them and learn from them. They had a great time hearing themusic and preparing one to be played to their peers.
“They learnt a lot about life in Colombia and how it’s vital to work with young people to end the cycle of violence, not just in Colombia but everywhere, and create a culture of peace.
“The songs that we heard were incredibly evocative and moved a lot of people.”
CAFOD support Mr Lopez and Mr Gallego’s social work through their Colombian partner CINEP, a leading independent think tank working on issues related to the conflict and social policy in Colombia.
Their project CLICK engages with young people on peace issues and supports them to find alternatives to the widespread violence in the country.
Colombia has experienced more than 50 years of conflict and at the moment there are peace negotiations with one of the armed groups.
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