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A Visit with Atiqa Shahid, Play for Peace Mentor in Pakistan

"I became involved with Play for Peace because it was fun and it touched my heart." – Atiqa Shahid, Play for Peace Mentor

  In September 2014 we first met Atiqa Shahid, National Project Coordinator for Bonded Labor Liberation Front Societies (BLLFS) in Pakistan, where she told us about her first Play for Peace (PFP) encounter with Ajat Shatru, a trainer for Play for Peace India. In her visit to India as well as subsequent visits by Play for Peace trainers to Pakistan, Atiqa discovered that despite Pakistan and India being “enemy states,” people from “both sides” had much in common. Even Atiqa’s mother, who had never met an Indian or a foreigner, found that stereotypes and common perceptions were not always true. When she met our Play for Peace trainers from India she said, “You people are nice and good. Before this, I thought that Hindus were not good.” Today, Atiqa is continuing her work at the BLLFS where she organizes Adult Education training through Play for Peace in Lahore, Pakistan. Her work is impactful as she works with the poorest among the poor in areas that are affected by terrorism, poverty, racial conflict, inequality by means of rights and resources, and other social injustices. Recently, Atiqa applied her Play for Peace experience with the Young Connectors of the Future Programme (YCF). YCF is organized by the Swedish Institute and it is an intercultural leadership program that aims to lay a foundation for dialogue and knowledge sharing among young leaders from South Asia. Along with one of her friends, Atiqa facilitated a workshop on Play for Peace for YCF participants which included different games that fostered interactive learning, team building and active listening. “I had a wonderful time” said Atiqa. “Alina and I were a little bit nervous because it was our first time facilitating a Play for Peace workshop but the resource person from Hyper Island  said we are close to being good facilitators.” According to Atiqa, Play for Peace has changed her life in different ways. She knows now how to bring smiles on people’s faces, especially children. When she visits different areas in Pakistan where BLLFS works, she is able to use Play for Peace techniques with everyone in the community. “It gives me immense pleasure to see people enjoying themselves and getting involved in the games. It not only helps with having fun and including everyone but it also is much easier to convey messages.” IMG_2044IMG_2052 IMG_2068 IMG_2074 IMG_2268