About The Project
The ‘Buddy Up’’ initiative supports everyday people in an effort to change the story of Northern Ireland. The project features a partnership between CRIS, one Protestant school and one Catholic school. It engages children between the ages of 3 and 4, their parents and their families.
The project is driven by a need to support a shift in experience – from intolerance to intercultural acceptance; from distrust to empathy; from division towards a shared future. It strives to share the practice and messages of an intergenerational school-based peacebuilding model to influence wider policy. Stories of resilience, hope, and courage are given greater visibility. ‘Buddy Up!’ documents an alternative narrative that is being written by the families who live on either side of one of Northern Ireland’s most divided interfaces.
Through creative endeavors over a period of twenty years, the project has enabled the embedding of an intergenerational framework for reconciliation in the heart of school communities. The buddy system links families by developing safe avenues for contact, and programmes that breaks down barriers. The project supports the normalization of movement, engenders respect for cultural difference and encourages grassroots activism.