Lifting a Community in Guatemala

We also allow teamwork to convince them and that way bring more children to keep cultivating laughter, compassion and peace for the future of our community." - Play for Peace youth facilitator in Palencia, Guatemala

  Last week, we shared a post about Andres Armas, our certified trainer in Guatemala, who told the story of how the Play for Peace Club in Palencia got started. With more stories about Guatemala coming soon, we thought we would look back at the early days of our club in Palencia. The power of our work became evident to a youth leader, who observed that the laughter, compassion and peace experienced between individuals in the context of their experience with Play for Peace can ripple out more broadly and lift an entire community. Here's a story from June, 2014, that reminds us why we do the work that we do:

Saving Lives in Guatemala with the Play for Peace Club in Palencia

By Sarah Gough
Widespread violence, income disparities, and social disintegration often defines Guatemala in the news. As part of the Northern Triangle in Central America, it is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world. In this region, youth are seen as both victims and perpetrators of violence with gang life a daily reality for the civilian population. The effect this violence has on the population is overwhelming, so much that the World Health Organization declared youth violence as a global health problem and recommended the need for effective prevention programs. One program in Guatemala experiencing emerging success in counteracting the spread of violence in communities is Play for Peace. "During the Play for Peace program in my community I was able to observe the change in some kids that for some reasons lived in conflict. Play is the best tool to achieve peace and love in people that for different reasons are always in conflict. Through play we achieve that two children from different cultures and different religions achieve and generate trust and peaceful coexistence. We also allow teamwork to convince them, and that way bring more children to keep cultivating laughter, compassion and peace for the future of our community." (Youth facilitator, Age 16)