In March, a group of 16 students from Sandy Spring Friends School visited PPI-Northern Ireland to learn about and support conflict resolution in Belfast. Prior to their visit, the students organized a 3 on 3 basketball tournament at their school and raised over $1,000 for PPI and our work to building bridges between youth in Belfast through basketball. The following blog was written by students Stephanie Stettz and Anna McKay about their visit to Belfast:
Day Four of our adventure in Ireland started at PeacePlayers International, which is the organization we raised money for through the three-on-three basketball tournament. When we arrived, we were assigned to one of four teams that had both Protestant and Catholic children. The teams rotated through different activities, including dribbling and shooting drills, and an activity that taught the children about stereotypes and prejudice.
We ended our time with them by learning the PeacePlayers cheer and participating in a group huddle. It was great to see the amazing work PeacePlayers International is doing and how the money we raised is going to help this organization bring the children of Northern Ireland together.
One of the members of PeacePlayers then took us on a tour to see the murals and the Peace Walls of Belfast. Our first stop was to see Holy Cross and Wakefield Prep, one famous Catholic and Protestant school affected by the conflict of Northern Ireland. We learned about the Catholic children and their families who were assaulted as they walked to school through a Protestant neighborhood, and how PeacePlayers had created a good relationship between the two schools. We then got to see the different murals around Belfast, and ended the tour by signing the largest Peace Wall in Belfast, which is a barrier between a Catholic and Protestant community.