Fatima Ashari is a child living in the southern part of Afghanistan’s Herat Province. She joined what would become Play for Peace’s Omid Peace Club in March 2019, when Play for Peace was introduced to the Afghan community by a group of youth who received training in India.
“I found Play for Peace to be a unique tool for community engagement and participation,” she said. “First it was difficult to gain community acceptance in order to launch and participate in Play for Peace sessions, but with the support of World Vision Afghanistan, we succeeded in convincing friends and family to participate.”
When Fatima received permission to participate in the Play for Peace session, she was extremely happy. “My dream had come true—now I will be known as an agent of peace, which is the dream of all Afghan children,” she said.
According to Fatima, Play for Peace was a great way not only to promote peace, but also to create participation and inclusion in her community through fun and games. The initiative was warmly received by the entire community, from the children all the way to the elders.
As an agent of peace in her community, Fatima uses Play for Peace games and activities to bring together families, as well as to produce smiles on the faces of Afghan children, who have suffered more than two decades of war and conflict in their communities.
“The children in my community were unfamiliar with the words peace, love, smile, laughter, and co-existence; they only knew of war, conflict, violence, and disputes,” she said. “But now through Play for Peace sessions, they are joyfully participating, putting misunderstandings and disagreements behind in order to start a new life filled with peace.”
Fatima really enjoys peace sessions, because she understands the reason behind Play for Peace and that the fun and enjoyment it creates is helping to unite and engage her community. Now they can turn to something that is free to do and requires few resources to bring smiles to the faces of Afghan children. It makes Fatima feel powerful and strong that her peace building efforts can change the lives of Afghan people, especially children, and that it is a step toward building a peaceful society.
“I really appreciate and thank the Play for Peace global network, which has helped bring hope to the lives of Afghan children,” Fatima says.