By Dewirini Anggraeni and Siobhan Hagan September 2013
Launched in 2008 by Long Island-based organization Tuesday’s Children, Project Common Bond is the only international program that unites children directly impacted by acts of terrorism. In July, the 6th annual session of this week-long camp for teenagers was held in Bryn Mawr, PA. The teenagers who attended hailed from 12 countries, including Indonesia, Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Spain, Palestine, Croatia, and the USA.
Originally inspired by its work with the children of 9/11 victims, Tuesday’s Children initiated Project Common Bond as a means of support for young people who share the ‘common bond’ of losing a family member to violent extremism, terrorism, and war. The students come together to take part in a week-long interactive curriculum including panel discussions, workshops, and team-building exercises that focus on the concept of dignity and its role in conflict resolution.
Most importantly, the camp provides a feeling of that comes from shared experience. Many of the teens feel isolated from their peers at home, who might not be able to relate to their loss. For some, Project Common Bond is the first time they are able to talk openly about what has happened to themselves and their families. The connections they form with each other help reconcile the feelings of sadness that lie beneath their everyday lives; it helps to know they are not alone. Teenagers who have attended past sessions of the camp have said that going there made them feel more in control, and that it was more than beneficial – it was ‘essential.’
We are thrilled that Project Common Bond’s Director, Kathy Murphy, connected with Edit Schlaffer and SAVE Indonesia’s Dewirini Anggraeni to bring two boys from Jakarta to participate in this year’s camp. Kathy says, ‘These young adults really have a message that they want the world to hear; they are not angry, they do not wish for revenge or more violence. Their message is about creating peace in the future, and the hope that they have for solving the conflicts they were directly impacted by.’