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It Works! Ajat Shatru Conducts Play for Peace Trainings in Nepal and Bangladesh

In 2007, Ajat Shatru joined Play for Peace as a certified trainer. After years of working as a lawyer and later in corporate sales, Shatru began his “third life” in India seeking to change the conditions of his local community. Reflecting on the last decade with Play for Peace, he states that at the beginning of this journey he “had no clue what to do,” but now he has found deep purpose and fulfilment in training the next generation to bring about world peace. His dedication to children and peace has most recently led him to a twelve-day journey across the countries of Nepal and Bangladesh. Last month, he conducted several Play for Peace trainings in Kathmandu, Nepal. At one of the trainings, Ajat facilitated a half-day workshop with thirty-five youth introducing them to experimental learning strategies and collaborative play. In an effort to aid teens dealing with the after-shocks of recent earthquakes, political turmoil and a lack of access to higher education, Shatru finds that Play for Peace is successful in helping young people find their voice.  He asserts that “Play for Peace is a unique experience for them. It’s an opportunity to share and create a safe environment where they can laugh and have fun. By the end of the session, participants drop their pre-conceived judgments and connect with each other on a deeper level.” These brief moments of community-building inspire youth to establish peace clubs in their local areas and direct various workshops throughout the country. Six days and a short plane ride later, he crossed the border that separates Nepal and Bangladesh. While in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Ajat partnered with several organizations across the city to train local organizers on the importance of cooperative games and Play for Peace core values. The trip culminated in a workshop on “Youth Leadership and Peace Building” at the University of Dhaka. Beginning his session by asking each of the 160 students to outline their own definition of peace, Shatru witnessed them addressing local issues of high unemployment rates, religious tensions, poverty and language divisions in their various answers. Connecting these local concerns to global trends, Ajat believes the workshop encouraged students to identify the importance of “respecting diversity and difference.” Youth left the session feeling “united” and dedicated to pursuing the groundwork needed to connect people despite community disunion. Although his workshops in Nepal and Bangladesh have concluded, Ajat Shatru continues to travel through Southeast Asia conducting Play for Peace workshops and trainings. Compelled by Play for Peace’s mission and international initiatives because “it works,” Ajat’s tireless commitment to peace and community-building has empowered hundreds of youth across Nepal, Bangladesh, India, West Bengal and Pakistan. [gallery size="medium" ids="8954,8953"]