Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Afghanistan

September 4, 2014

The Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Afghanistan was launched on the 7th of August, 2014.

From one of the persistent foci of wars, a group of young Afghan Peace Volunteers at the  Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre want to work nonviolently with the human family across all borders to abolish the socioeconomic, environmental, educational and military wars that are being waged in Afghanistan and the world today.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers at the launch of

the  Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre on 7th Aug 2014

BNVCC Dec 2015

Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in 2015

 

20 Afghan Peace Volunteers March 2017

The Afghan Peace Volunteers at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in 2017

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

  1. Green : Eliminate the human causes of global warming, and care for Mother Earth and Mother Nature.
  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, relational pedagogy.

To grow the #Enough! movement ( http://enough.ourjourneytosmile.com ) launched on the 21st of September 2015, an effort endorsed by Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and philosopher Prof Noam Chomsky, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have formed circles and communities in Kabul called #Earth! GEN ( Green, Equal, Nonviolent ) Circles, which eventually led to the development of Relational Pedagogy and Relational Learning Circles. Their latest Facebook campaign in this regard is called #Mother!.

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:

  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. A fresh method of learning called Relational Pedagogy is being developed.

 

Building a green, equal and nonviolent world without war

A green world

  1. Permaculture and Green Team: The team practices permaculture, plants trees and develops 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, and are looking to develop peace/permaculture gardens in all 34 Afghan provinces.

01a Bamiyan Peace Park

Bamiyan Peace Park 2016

01b Kabul Peace Garden

Kabul Peace Garden

 

The Afghan Peace Volunteers promote the use of non-fossil fuels and renewable energy. They have installed solar power at the Centre, which can meet all their electrical needs, without depending on the unreliable government grid.

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

Permaculture Learning and practice: Under the guidance of pioneer Australian permaculturalist, Rosemary Morrow, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have established two permaculture vegetable gardens, one at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre, and another demonstration permaculture plot at Kabul University, with permission from the University’s Agriculture Faculty. They are the only group using organic methods at Kabul University.

01 BNVCC Permaculture Garden

The permaculture vegetable plot at the BNVCC

01 Kabul Uni Permaculture (1)

The Permaculture Demonstration Plot in Kabul University

01 Kabul Uni Permaculture (3)

01 Kabul Uni Permaculture (2)

Watering the Permaculture Demonstration Plot in Kabul University

 

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 – 100 Afghan Street Kids are attending the school in 2017. 14 volunteer teachers teach the street kids Dari and Math literacy, nonviolence, tailoring and beginner’s English. Each student and his/her family is given a monthly gift of a sack or rice and a bottle of cooking oil, to assist them with their basic food needs, to encourage them to work less hours in the streets and to attend government schools regularly. Each batch of students will go through a three-year program in the 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

A Food Bank was established in 2016. The Food Bank hopes to receive and store 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. In the winter of 2017, the Food Bank team bravely tried a ‘House to House’ Food Bank collection.

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: Every winter, the Afghan Peace Volunteers recruit 60 seamstresses, 20 each from the Pashtun, Tajik and Hazara ethnic groups. The seamstresses sew 3000 duvets and are paid per duvet sewn, giving them extra income over winter. The sewn duvets are distributed to poor families in Kabul, including to Internally Displaced Persons, after the families have been surveyed by the Afghan Peace Volunteers to assess their needs.

04 Winter Duvet Project

Afghan women receiving duvets from the APVs

 

5.Worker Cooperatives

Interest-free microloans have been given to five Afghan labourers, and small businesses have begun.

05 Microloans and Worker Cooperatives

An Afghan Peace Volunteer, Ali ( left  ), speaks with one of the labourers who took a microloan to start a street toy business

 

Initial attempts are being made to explore Fair Trade and Worker Cooperatives. In consultation with Worker Development Institute in Maine, USA, 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 : The team encourages Afghan boys and girls to use the bicycle instead of motorcycles and cars.

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 )

The #Enough! Campaign to abolish war was launched on the 21st of September 2015, the International Day of Peace. Over time, the APVs realize they can identify themselves as the new generation hoping to build a different world and have called themselves the #Earth! GEN team. It is hoped that #Earth! GEN communities will be formed everywhere, through whom concrete alternative lifestyles will be built and solidarity non-violent actions ( with the Borderfree Blue Scarf ) will be organized, in order to build a green, equal and nonviolent world without war. 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.

Smiles for #Enough!

The Afghan Peace Volunteers say #Enough! War, Inequality and Global Warming!

Barefoot College Visit

Connecting with the Barefoot College in India, where solar power and solar water heating was used

 Jeju Peace Community

Connecting with the peace community in Jeju Island, South Korea

Connecting with the Peace Community in Colombia

Okinawa Peace Walk

Connecting with the people of Okinawa through the Okinawa Peace Walk

Various actions and activities were held to promote disarmament and a life without weapons.

 

A ‘No to Weapons in Afghanistan’ Workshop with the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society

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

In 2017, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have designated two of their trusted and active volunteers to be full-time paid staff. The two volunteers help to manage all the team of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and are paid a living wage.

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

The Atan is an Afghan national dance that is traditionally danced by the Pashtuns at wedddings and other celebrations. The Afghan Peace Volunteers have gathered a group of Afghan youth from different ethnic groups to learn and perform the Atan.

15 Atan National Dance Team

The Borderfree Atan team performing at Babur Garden in Kabul

17. Blue Scarf Team

For the APVs, 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

The team wants all the different ethnic groups of Afghanistan to play soccer together!

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.

 

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The Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre’s launch in 2014

Our Borderfree Afghan street kids at the Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre’s launch


Launch of the  Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre in Afghanistan 7th August, 2014.

The web-post of the launch can be read at http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/2014/09/borderfree-community-centre-of-nonviolence-in-afghanistan-love-can-open-every-border/

The video can be viewed on video below

 

From Afghanistan, love can open every border!

http://youtu.be/DD0Jqug7Mvo

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