Photo credit: Gabi Campbell
UVU’s Peace and Justice Studies club has organized a book drive to help create a Peace Library in the Pax Christi Community and Peace Center in Citi Solei, Haiti.
Pax Christi means “peaceful Christ” and is an international Catholic Center. It is located in Citi Solei which is a suburb of Port- au-Prince and is considered one of the “most dangerous slums in the world,” according to Dr. Michael Minch, advisor to the Peace and Justice Studies Club at UVU. Citi Solei is a breeding ground for youth violence. The Pax Christi Community and Peace Center is working on creating a better community for those that live there.
The Peace Center is in the process of creating a Peace Library where children and youth can read about peace building and reconciliation.
However, the Peace Center only has around ten books and no money to get more. The UVU Peace and Justice Studies Club has partnered with Daniel Tillias, a man who has done extensive projects to rebuild parts of the studies to help the Peace Center. Dr. Minch met Tillias on his last visit to Haiti, and that is where they came up with the idea to help the Peace Center buy books. Dr. Minch has promised the center that he will help them build up their library.
The Peace and Justice Studies Club is collecting gently used textbooks and novels. The club has a contract with Pioneer Books in Provo to sell these books. Once they receive the money they will buy peace-oriented books in French. The more books they receive, the more that they can send to Haiti.
“Right now our main focus is just getting the books so we can start selling them and buying ones in French,” said Jhair Rinon president of the Peace and Justice Studies Club.
Dr. Minch has many contacts to take the books to the peace center. Anytime one of his contacts heads down to Citi Solei they will take a few dozen books to start creating the library.
The first round of the Book Drive for Haiti was in December, 2014. Several clubs from BYU became interested in the drive and helped contribute to the cause. Together, the Peace and Justice and Studies Club and the clubs from BYU raised $200.
“This is not going to be just a one time; we plan on it being a recurring event that happens every so often,” said Rinon. The Peace and Justice Studies club will continue collecting books and once a semester will have a big drive so that they can continue to collect books for the library until they are well enough off. There is a drop-off bin for the books outside LA109F.
The Peace and Justice Studies Club encourages everyone to donate their gently used literature to help create the library in the Peace Center.
The Peace Center has many other programs that have been developed to help serve the community. One of these programs is the community garden. This garden helps to distribute freshly grown fruits and vegetable all around the community.
Another program that the Peace Center is known for is the many soccer teams that they help create. However, instead of the youth players wearing their own names on the jerseys they have the names of peace leaders such as Gandhi and Mandela.
In order for the teams to play one another, the player has to give a lecture about whose name is written across their back. If the player is unable to give the lecture then they are not allowed to play.