Who We Are

February 10, 2009

Afghan Peace Volunteers

The Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Kabul, Afghanistan

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 and alternatives for a green, equal and nonviolent world without war.

We believe that revolution for a better world is grounded in nonviolent relationships and alternatives, 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 )

The Borderfree Nomviolence Community Centre 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:

  1. Non-violence towards the earth and environment : to address global warming
  2. Non-violent economy: to build a sharing economy that meets the basic needs of all human beings
  3. Non-violent ways of conflict resolution: to abolish war and weapons and practice restorative justice
  4. 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)
  5. 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.

The current work of the Afghan Peace Volunteers

The Afghan Peace Volunteers organize their work, activities and programs at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. Currently, there are 19 teams which you view below, and find out more at http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/borderfree-nonviolence-community-centre/

 Their work is aimed towards nurturing a critical mass of nonviolent relationships and alternatives for a green, equal and nonviolent world without war.

Building a green, equal and nonviolent world without war

A green world

  1. Permaculture and Green Team

 

Solar Power at BNVCC

01 Solar panels on the roof of Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre

The solar panels on the roof of Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre

 

04 Harvesting produce at the permaculture demonstration plot in Kabul University y

Harvesting produce at the permaculture demonstration plot in Kabul University

An equal world

  1. Borderfree Afghan Street Kids School

02 Borderfree Street Kids School

Borderfree Street Kids School

08 The world can ignore us but they cannot ignore climate change

Street Kids participated in ‘The People’s Climate March 2017’.

 3.Food Bank

03 Food Bank

The Food Bank Team members, Ghulam, Hussein and Sarwar, going from house to house to collect donated rice and food items.

03a Food Bank Donations for Street Kids

Two of the street kids, Harun and Mursal, with their oil and rice

 

4. Winter duvet project

04 Winter Duvet Project

Afghan women receiving duvets from the APVs

 

5.Worker Cooperatives: the Afghan Peace Volunteers hope to create sustainable nonviolent livelihoods and worker cooperatives in the near future.

05a Fair Trade

Sample of needle work done by Afghan women, in exploring Fair Trade and Worker Cooperatives

 

 6. Borderfree Cycling Club

06 Borderfree Cycling Club

The Coordinators of the Borderfree Cycling Club, Zahra and Nurullah, riding their bicycles in Kabul

7. The Finance and Accounts team is trying out participatory budgeting.

07 Accounts and Finance

The Finance and Accounts team has been leading the APVs in trying out participatory budgeting

 

A nonviolent world without war

8. #Earth! GEN team ( previously the #Enough! Team )

Smiles for #Enough!

The Afghan Peace Volunteers say #Enough! War, Inequality and Global Warming!green without weapons

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.

02 #Earth! GEN

The #Earth! GEN team held a Skype connection to discuss the use of drones in Afghanistan

 

9. Relations and Networking Team

09 Relations and Networking

Turning ‘Me into We’ through nonviolent relationships

10. Conflict Resolution Team

10 Conflict Resolution

The Conflict Resolution Team preparing for a program at the BNVCC.

The team worked with Ellis Brooks from the UK on Peer Mediation Skills in the winter of 2017

11. BNVCC Team

12 BNVCC

The BNVCC Living Wage Coordinators, Zarghuna and Barat

12. Education Team

11 Education

A Creativity Seminar organized by the Education Team

03 Education

Street Kids borrow books from the Borderfree Nonviolence Library

13. Psychology Team :  Community stress and trauma management is done through Capacitar’s methods of healing, and other methods.

 

18 Psychology Team

Afghan Peace Volunteers learning from Dr Patricia Cane and George Horan about Capacitar’s trauma-healing techniques

 

 14. Borderfree Media Team :  This includes work on an Afghan Peace Volunteers Facebook Page, a Dari blog, and Borderfree Radio.

13 Media Team

Two APVs learn how to use Audacity for editing audio clips for Radio programs

 

 15. Global Days of Listening and Relational Learning Circles

14 Global Days of Listening

Global Days of Listening on the 21st of every month

16. Borderfree Atan

15 Atan National Dance Team

The Borderfree Atan team performing at Babur Garden in Kabul

17. Blue Scarf Team : the blue scarf symbolizes the wish for all of humanity to live peacefully under the same blue sky!

16 Blue Scarf Team

Marwa coordinates the Blue Scarf team, a group of Afghan ladies who get some income from sewing the scarves.

16a Blue Scarves WAT Guantanamo

The Blue Scarves were used by the ‘Witness Against Torture’ group, seen here protesting outside Guantanamo Prison in 2015

18. Borderfree Afghan Football Club

17 Borderfree Afghan Football Club

The Borderfree Afghan Football Club has begun to build a connection

with Clapton Football Club in the UK that also has a mission of addressing racism.

19. Institute of Nonviolence Afghanistan to be established in the near future.

Interested participants of the first Borderfree Marquette Online Peace Building Course in Jan and Feb 2015,

held in partnership with Marquette University Centre for Peacemaking.

19 Future Institute of Nonviolence Afghanistan

The APVs will be running pilot Nonviolent Peace Courses and undertaking Permaculture courses ( above ) in the run-up to establishing the Institute of Nonviolence Afghanistan. They want to share a fresh way of learning based on relationships, called Relational Pedagogy, with Relational Learning Circles as one of the main methods.

 More Information and Contact 

Borderfree

http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/borderfree

 Afghan Peace Volunteers

http://ourjourneytosmile.com

http://enough.ourjourneytosmile.com

http://globaldaysoflistening.org

journeytosmile@gmail.com

 borderfree@mail2world.com

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26 Responses to Who We Are

  1. Pingback: Love is How We’ll Ask For Peace — Casteluzzo

  2. Glenn Castro says:

    You are a ray of hope in a sea of darkness. The Afghan people are noble and generous. They treated me very well in 1971-2, throughout their nation. Having almost no income, i have no money to give. If it were to help, I will lay down my life to bring peace to my Afghan sisters and brothers. If you need my life energy, please tell me how I may help.

    Thanks and Peace,
    Glenn Castro

  3. Kim Breas says:

    The insane are allowed to rule our world too often. There is no justice in America’s killings. I apologize for my government. My heart is with you.

  4. mike says:

    re: Conversation with Raoshan.

    Beautiful, beautiful. God protect her, and all of you fine people.

  5. Carmell Waters says:

    Your organization is an answer to my prayers for world peace. You are wonderful. I would like to work along with you to promote love, respect, and understanding in our world which seemed so hopeless until I read about you and went to your website.

  6. Linda Taffs says:

    You are truly an inspiration of hope in this troubled world. Ordinary people all over the world want peace; It is only the leaders of the world who have self interest, with their propaganda machine, that make war. I pray that you will always remain strong to your principles, which are admirable, and that peace and justice will come to Afghanistan. Thank you for being you.

  7. Alexandra Hansmann says:

    Hello!
    I just saw a documentary about your group on the German TV and I was so touched about what this film was showing of your daily life.
    Please, do not give up, even if sometimes everything seems to much for you. What you are doing means so much. Every movement, like the one who fought to abolish racial laws in the USA or Apartheid in South Africa or unify the two Germanys, started with just a few people. These people often thought they were insignificant but they were not! And so you are not insignificant! YOU make the difference. Please be strong, don’t give up. I personally am so proud of you!!! Thank you for doing such a great work.
    With all my sympathy,
    Alexandra

  8. Sandro Pinarello says:

    There are no words to fully express what a treasure you are for the mankind. We all come to this world to live and be happy but we repeatedly forget that the only way of pursuing it is together with the other.

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