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Success Stories
Perhaps the most frequently asked question about the Irish Children's Summer Program is, "Does the program work?"

That is, has the program helped to reduce violence and hatred in Northern Ireland?

It is our firm belief that the answer to this question is a resounding "YES!!"

However, concrete examples of 'success stories' are elusive.
What the program does is to plant seeds - seeds of peace, tolerance, understanding, reconciliation - seeds of love.

It will take years for these seeds to fully blossom. We may never know the effects that a summer in Columbia may produce as we work to spread the pollen of peace throughout the land.

Included here are stories of success. The first one, a poem, was written by the mother of a child who took part in the Columbia program in 2006.



The Wall

a tale of one city

Once upon a time in Belfast City,
Lived two little girls who were ever so pretty.
One lived on the Shankill, and one lived on the Falls,
But they were destined to be divided by a great ugly wall.

The wall was built a long time ago,
In a time called "the troubles," which the little girls didn't even know.
It was there to keep the two sides apart,
But all it caused was biterness in people's hearts.

And so in 1996 the two girls were born,
Not knowing about the wall, that caused so much harm.
And so they grew up in Belfast for 10 years or so,
Until to America they got the chance to go!

The people they went with, wanted to break down these walls,
And to help unite the children from the Shankill and the Falls.
And to America they did go
Where they were placed with a family who loved them both so.

They did lots of activities and learned lots of new games
And slowly it dawned on them, that they were both the same.
The wall to them, it came down
It was far away in Belfast town.

They learned to live together as one
They made lots of friends and had plenty of fun
But all too soon, their visit it did end,
And they said to each other that they would still remain friends.

And so they were no sooner back home,
Than they were chatting away to each other on the telephone.
They met up with each other and walked by the wall,
It was as if it didn't matter at all.

Their friendship, it still continues today
Thanks to the people of the U.S. of A.
If they had never got that chance to go at all
They would still be divided by that great ugly wall.

G. Service
1 September 2006








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