People who have seen “Hotel Rwanda” (2004) or documentaries about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda may be surprised to learn of the U-turn that the Central African country has made since then.
The turnaround is visible at the Glenn Paige Nonkilling School in the village of Kazimia in Congo, a nation that along with Rwanda has experienced war, genocides, and political violence. (There have been an estimated 6 million deaths in Rwanda and Congo in the past 20 years.)
In the school, more than 200 pupils, who have been affected by war, disease, or abandonment, learn about “nonkilling” in a simplified version of Dr. Paige’s book “Nonkilling Global Political Science,” which has been translated into Swahili. Located near Lake Tanganyika, the school offers breakfast, health care, and clothing to its students.
Beyond the school, trainers also have used Paige’s translated book to explain its main ideas to unschooled adult villagers. The concept was “new and revolutionary,” says Bishop Mabwe Lucien of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God churches in Congo. “Nobody in the region had heard these ideas.”
Among the 1,100 participants in the training program, Bishop Lucien says, “the hands of assassins were lifted to renounce killing.” The trainers, members of nonprofit groups associated with the Center for Global Nonkillingâ€“Great Lakes Africa, founded by the bishop, spread the word to people in 1,100 villages and towns, distributed 4,500 books, and persuaded 30,000 others to work for a nonkilling society, causing the level of violence to drop, he says.