Afghan Peace Volunteers
A protest against all forms of violence and the killing of two Afghan kids who were herding cattle
Afghan Peace Volunteers
Mission of the Afghan Peace Volunteers
The mission of the Afghan Peace Volunteers is to build a critical mass of nonviolent relationships for a green, equal and nonviolent world without war.
We believe that revolution for a better world is grounded in nonviolent relationships, so we reject hatred and revenge, and we nurture equal relationships with nature & all human beings through local communities that connect with the human family worldwide, working together as a strong 99% to build a green, equal and nonviolent world without war.
1. Green : Eliminate the human causes of global warming
2. Equal : Build a nonviolent, cooperative economy where the basic needs of all are met ( especially of the most vulnerable people )
3. Nonviolent world without war: Abolish war and weapons, nurturing a non-violent, critical and relational pedagogy.
The value we seek to practice: nonviolence ( love )
This is the first Centre in Afghanistan that is dedicated to nonviolence.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers seek to practice nonviolence in all aspects of life and community, including:
- Non-violence towards the earth and environment : to address global warming
- Non-violent economy: to build a sharing economy that meets the basic needs of all human beings
- Non-violent ways of conflict resolution: to abolish war and weapons and practice restorative justice
- Non-violent self and relationships with the earth and all human beings: to build relationships of equality across the borders of class, race, gender, language, religion, nations and other)
- Non-violent education and awareness: to nurture humane, pacifist persons who are engaged with serving humanity and building a better world
The Afghan Peace Volunteers do not work for the benefit of any political group or religion. They are registered with the Ministry of Justice Afghanistan ( registration certificate number 2956 – 24/12/1390 ) as an Afghan civil society volunteer organization.
A Short History
In 2008, about 50 university students participated in a 3-month Peace Workshop at Bamiyan University in Bamiyan Province, facilitated by a Singaporean medical doctor and humanitarian worker Dr Hakim ( Dr Teck Young, Wee ). The university students concluded that ‘peace in Afghanistan is not possible.’
But, 16 of the Bamiyan University students from six different ethnic groups agreed to live together for a semester to demonstrate the possibility of ethnic unity.
From this effort, youth from different valleys and villages in Bamiyan gathered to raise their voice of peace and to protest against war, violence and killings in Afghanistan. One of their first protest-actions was a tent vigil at Bamiyan Peace Park, which the youth had helped establish. The tent vigil was held to ask U.S. President Obama to bring genuine peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan. They ended their tent vigil when the then U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, promised to deliver their message to President Obama
Ex U.S. Ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, his wife and Bamiyan Governor Dr Habiba Sarobi
visited the Afghan Peace Volunteers at the tent vigil in Bamiyan Peace Park
The vigil did not end the Afghan war, but it raised a core group of Afghan youth who eventually called themselves the Afghan Peace Volunteers, and it placed them in contact with international peacemakers who helped bring their message of nonviolence to people in other parts of the world, like through Skype conversations in the Global Days of Listening program which since has become a chapter of Fellowship of Reconciliation USA. They built person-to-person relationships with other Afghan youth and with international peace groups, and began to campaign consistently for an end to violence and war.
In 2011, against a background of local opposition and security concerns, the core group of Afghan Peace Volunteers moved to Kabul to study, live and work together in their commitment to non-violent and non-military solutions for the challenges Afghans face today. They officially registered themselves with the Afghan Ministry of Justice as a civil society group. One of their first campaigns in Kabul was the ‘I wish to live without war’ campaign in the spring of 2011, in which they invited 25 international peace builders of a U.S. based peace group, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, to participate.
A peace walk in Kabul in 2011, expressing our desire to live without wars
They began to reach out to youth from different provinces and to organize grassroots service and income-generating projects, like running an Afghan women’s tailoring co-operative, a winter duvet project and a street kids program.
The core group of Afghan Peace Volunteers formed a small, intentional, multiethnic live-in community in Kabul. They wish to be a working example of a group of youth who are building alternative lifestyles and ways of relating which counter the socio-economic, environmental and military violence in Afghanistan and the world.
Their long term mission of non-violence includes Borderfree and #Enough!, which represent the collective wish of the human family to relate and work with one another non-violently and in solidarity under the same blue sky, organizing ourselves as a strong 99% free of borders, so as to take care of our earth, build socio-economic equality for all, and abolish war.
Building a green, equal and nonviolent world without war
A green world
– Planting trees and developing green spaces ( gardens and parks ) in Afghanistan. The Afghan Peace Volunteers had helped develop Bamiyan Peace Park. Since 2014, they have been developing Kabul Peace Garden.
Tree planting in Kabul in a space where the volunteers wish to establish the Kabul Peace Park
– Use and promotion of non-fossil fuels and renewable energy. The Afghan Peace Volunteers have installed solar power at the Centre, and hope to be fully reliant on solar power for all of the Centre’s needs in 2017.
The solar panel on the roof of Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre
– Permaculture Learning and practice: a small permaculture community vegetable garden has been started in Kabul, under the guidance of pioneer Australian permaculturalist, Rosemary Morrow. Rosemary held a permaculture workshop in Kabul in Feb 2016, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers worked on a Permaculture Demonstration Plot in Kabul in 2016. In 2017, they hope to continue practicing permaculture by establishing a Permaculture Vegetable Garden.
Hussein in the community permaculture vegetable plot
Afghan Peace Volunteers learning about permaculture last winter
– In 2016, the ‘Borderfree Cycling Club’ was established to encourage Afghan boys and girls to use the bicycle instead of motorcycles and cars.
The volunteers of the Borderfree Cycling Club riding their bicycles in Kabul
An equal world
– Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School – 93 Afghan Street Kids attended the school in 2015. 14 volunteer teachers teach the street kids Dari and Math literacy, nonviolence, creativity and tailoring.
Students and teachers in the afternoon classes of the street kids school
– Winter duvet project
Workers lining up for their duvets in the Winter Duvet Project 2015
– Women’s tailoring cooperative
Our small Afghan women’s tailoring cooperative has closed temporarily and efforts are ongoing to re-start the project in March of 2016.
– Food Bank
The Food Bank was established in 2016. The Food Bank receives and stores donated food items from Afghan shopkeepers, business persons and charitable groups, to be distributed to needy families, starting with the families of the 100 Afghan street kids at the Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School.
The Food Bank at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre, where volunteers will store and distribute donated food items
Some of the street kids with their oil and rice
– Microloans for Afghan labourers
Interest-free microloans were administered to five Afghan labourers in March of 2016, for the Afghan labourers to start small street businesses. In 2017, the Afghan Peace Volunteers are hoping to start a worker cooperative.
An Afghan Peace Volunteer, Ali ( with back to camera ), meeting Afghan labourers
A nonviolent world without war
– The #Enough! Campaign to abolish war was launched on the 21st of September 2015, the International Day of Peace. Through learning circles, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have identified themselves as #Earth! GEN, to take practical action to help meet water, food and basic human needs by protecting the Earth. The Afghan Peace Volunteers have begun making connections with different peace communities around the world, including Barefoot College in India, Jeju Island Peace Community, San Jose Peace Community in Colombia, the Okinawa anti-military base grassroots community and the Tamera community in Portugal.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers say #Enough! War, Inequality and Global Warming!
Connecting with the Barefoot College in India, where solar power and solar water heating was used
Connecting with the peace community in Jeju Island, South Korea
Connecting with the Peace Community in Colombia
Connecting with the people of Okinawa through the Okinawa Peace Walk
– Various actions and activities for disarmament and to promote a life without weapons.
A ‘No to Weapons in Afghanistan’ Workshop with the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
At Kabul Peace Garden, the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Street Kids held a mock funeral for toy guns in 2015.
The street kids destroyed toy guns and buried them, and over the ‘burial’ site, they planted an evergreen tree.
Global Days of Listening on the 21st of every month
– Multi-ethnic projects at the Centre : Borderfree Atan – the Atan is an Afghan national dance that is traditionally danced by the Pashtuns at wedddings and other celebrations.
The Afghan Peace Volunteers are gathering a group of 50 Afghan youth from different ethnic groups to learn and perform the Atan.
The Borderfree Atan team performing at Babur Garden in Kabul
– Non-violent conflict resolution and peace building eg an online peace-building course was held in partnership with Marquette University Centre for Peacemaking.
Interested participants of the first Borderfree Marquette Online Peace Building Course in Jan and Feb 2015
– Community stress and trauma management, through Capacitar’s methods of healing, and other methods
Our Afghan street kids learning Capacitar’s simple relaxation techniques
Bismillah in the Borderfree Library at the Centre
– Borderfree Theatre : this group was established in December 2014 and in March 2015, they performed a play on drug addiction at the National Theatre in Kabul. The group has since taken a break while awaiting the availability of volunteer instructors.
Borderfree Theatre at a practice session in January 2015
– Borderfree Radio : launched on Sound Cloud in Feb 2015
Zarghuna and Zahidi interviewing for Borderfree Radio
– In 2017, there are plans to establish an Institute for the study of nonviolence.
More Information and Contact
Afghan Peace Volunteers