What I learned from working with PPI-NI for a week

This week’s blog by PPI-NI is written by Nora Sullivan, a Senior Champions4Peace participant who worked alongside the PPI-NI staff and helped with different programmes for a week. 

In Northern Ireland, young people are required to gain work experience or a short-term internship at an organisation or company of choice for a week to gain employability skills and exposure to an organisation.

This past week I had the privilege of being able to carry out my work experience at PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland. This involved travelling to schools where I observed and helped with different programmes taking place.

nora-and-brooklynNora is on the right in this picture with Brooklyn O’Hare.  Both are part of our Champions4Peace Programme.

At the beginning of the week, I was involved in the Girl’s Model/ St. Louises project. This project is between a Catholic and a Protestant secondary school, and it is aimed at teaching the pupils to be tolerant of others. It brought together year 8 students from the two schools and PeacePlayers coaches Debbie, Jazz and Michaela led community relations and basketball sessions.

The community relations portion of this programme revolved around teaching the pupils  how religion should not play a role in who we are and are not friends with, and about other key life lessons. This was done by engaging the kids in activities centered around each topic, for example the good/bad side game was an example of prejudice and discrimination.

On the other hand, basketball sessions on shooting and defence allowed the children to learn the basics of the sport. Matches gave the pupils the opportunity to show off the skills they developed throughout the programme, and required teamwork and communication skills to be put into action.

Overall I would say that this programme was extremely successful and there were noticeable friendships formed between kids from different sides of the community who had different religious backgrounds. Watching the girls bond and put religion aside was by far the most rewarding part of the week.

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Nora and coach Jazz with the winning team from Girl’s Model and St Louise’s Project.

The next project I was lucky enough to observe was a twinning between St. Anne’s and Cranmore Integrated primary schools. PeacePlayers coaches Liam, Jazz, Nicole and Andrew carried out this twinning which revolved around getting the children from the two schools to mix and get to know each other. This was done through several activities including the game, ‘Find a new seat if.’  A focus during the community relations part of the session was diversity, and how differences are good in our world. By completing a ‘Same as me/different than me’ badge, the pupils were required to ask each other questions and get to know their teammates. Finally, activities such as relay races ensured all the pupils got involved and used teamwork to complete each task.

Overall I have 100% enjoyed my experience working with PeacePlayers NI as it is an amazing organisation that really is making a difference in our world. I would like to say a special thanks to Debbie and all the PPI-NI staff for taking care of me the whole week. camp-betaNora on the far right with some more of the wonderful young leaders we have in PeacePlayers – Northern Ireland.

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