Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum Team-Up with Peruvian Kid Activists to Design Violence Free and Prosperous Community

41 of the 50 cities with the highest homicide rates are Latin American, leaving Latin America's children to grow up in the world's most violent urban setting inhibiting economic development

Apr 23, 2013, 14:23 ET from Bernard Van Leer Foundation

LIMA, Peru, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Timed with the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2013, kids representing a 15,000 children's anti-violence movement toured Cantagallo community with more than 20 Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum, the mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran, the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, LEGO Foundation and soap opera star Monica Sanchez, and designed a "Dream Neighbourhood" with LEGO Bricks.  Participants explored how urban design impacts on a child's life and a country's economic prosperity.

The kids showed participants their community from their point of view – with art, opportunity, and joy despite the challenges they face.  Participants then worked with them to build a new neighbourhood – one they dreamt of – out of LEGO® bricks.  A representative from the LEGO Foundation helped to create this model community, which participants discussed with influential opinion leaders from government and civil society in Lima. Finally, the kids asked participants to join a group hug since they are attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the largest group hug as a part of a national campaign they started to end violence in children's lives.

Peru has taken a number of steps to address its problems of violence.  The "Museum of Punishment," designed by child activists, opened in 2012, which is designed to educate the public about the impact of violence and teach a "pedagogy of tenderness," has been visited by 200,000 people, while 100,000 people have signed a corresponding petition banning all forms of violence including corporal and humiliating punishment. 

During the "Learning Journey" the Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum, and other opinion leaders learned how urban design impacts cities by enabling health and learning, reducing violence and encouraging commerce.  At the Forum, global leaders, with the support of the Government of Peru and the Forum's partners will discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in Latin America under the theme "Delivering Growth, Strengthening Societies." 

"We have to end the cycle of violence in kids' lives that is blighting our communities and curtailing the development of the skills our economies so desperately need," said Michael Feigelson, a child and youth advocate who currently serves as the Programme Director at the Bernard van Leer Foundation. "Communities in Peru are taking a leadership role on this issue, both preventing violence and embracing playful learning as a critical piece of young children's development.  We hope to shine some light on their efforts so that more global leaders engage in supporting our youngest citizens."

The Bernard van Leer Foundation is international grantmaking foundation whose mission is to improve opportunities for children who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances.

SOURCE Bernard Van Leer Foundation