“Play for Peace is a transformational process to find self-esteem and develop leadership skills in oneself.” —Archana Magar, Play for Peace Trainer and Regional Coordinator
A deeply inspiring experience led Archana to join Play for Peace in 2008. It was during the toughest time in her life—juggling between family and school—when she encountered Play for Peace.
“I was doing my master’s in communication media for children in SNDT University Pune, India, when I attended my first class—a Play for Peace class,” she explained. “I was amazed, as I had never played non-competitive games before.”
Since she loves working with children, Archana’s first play session inspired her to reach out to them and bring practice peace sessions to recreation centers in Pune, India. Since then, she has had many opportunities to conduct trainings for youth from marginalized communities, where there are serious conflicts and challenging situations, including dealing with the local support system and different political parties.
Now a regional coordinator and global trainer, she has experienced how well the Play for Peace experiential learning process works. In one of her recent trainings in Mumbai, India, her team shared the Play for Peace process with youth and adults who work with children in different fields: education, counseling, social work, community work, and therapy. The main goal was to develop leadership skills so they can help children experience compassion and joy.
“Play for Peace methodology is based on experiential education,” said Archana. “It is an inclusive process where everybody has equal opportunities. The best part: anyone who is inspired to work for their community can join,” she added.
It is true that there is no discrimination at Play for Peace; no hierarchy or levels. It is a strong force where a community of leaders and trainers from all over the world unite to spread peace. All of the work is done in the context of play, which is a powerful avenue for caring, cooperation, inclusion, and fun. Play time is peace time.
According to Archana, to become a global peace trainer, you must be an avid learner who accepts challenges and does not shy away from new things. You also must be committed and follow your passions. “In the 10 years I’ve been with Play for Peace, I have worked with groups from different regions, religions, age groups, women’s groups, castes, and classes. I have always chosen to follow my passion and work with people who face isolation,” she said.
Before Play for Peace, Archana was not the confident and self assured person she is today. However, when she was introduced to the organization by Swati Bhatt, another certified trainer, she felt she could contribute something worthwhile. It was through her own experiences of having low self-esteem that she was able to reach out and believe in others—especially in the capabilities of children. One play session at a time, Archana felt inspired and complete, and now enjoys a meaningful life; one she shares with the children of Pune, India.
Currently, Archana’s Play for Peace journey is focused on the completion of a narrative therapy course, a new methodology she believes will help her in leading practice peace sessions with children. This is another phase in her endeavor to promote life-changing cooperative games and ultimately, peace.