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From 1968 to 1998, Northern Ireland was subject to a devastating conflict as para-military groups tried to break up this part of the United Kingdom, sparking a series of terrorist atrocities of which the victims were often civilians. Catholic and Protestant families often found themselves on different sides of the divide. PeacePlayers International encourages cross-community peace building by encouraging children from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds to compete together in mixed sports teams. PeacePlayers International uses sport – particularly basketball - to unite and educate young people and their communities.
In Northern Ireland, PPI encourages cross-community peace building by encouraging children from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds to compete together in mixed teams. Sports programmes include:
Primary School Twinnings – Protestant and Catholic school children of ages 8 to 11 come together for mixed-group basketball and community relations sessions. PPI – NI works with 20 schools throughout the country.
Enhancing Diversity Through Sport/Cross Community League – Children of all backgrounds aged 9 to 17 from such places as community centres, clubs, churches and youth groups come together for basketball and community relations discussions.
Leadership Development Programme – Young people from age 16 to 25 who manifest exceptional leadership potential are recruited for year-round leadership, life skills and community relations training. This process is anchored by monthly workshops and quarterly residential retreats. As well as benefiting the community in producing the future leaders of the area, the programme also enhances the future employment prospects of those taking part.
In its last programmatic year, PPI - NI worked with roughly 900 participants, while providing services to eight of the ten most disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland