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PFP Alumni - What Are They up to Now?

This update brought tears to my eyes. It made me emotional because of how much of a positive impact your donations have had on the lives of so many adults and children across the globe. It truly does work. I hope you feel the same way as you read this update and that your partnership with us never ceases. You’ll understand why once you start reading.  - Heather, Play for Peace Digital Storyteller

Remember friend James.

It's been a long time and I've always seen a beautiful story called Play for Peace, Guatemala. In this story, there are thousands of people that it is difficult to remember everyone now but I want to say that in this story, you are very important and I have always thought about it and today I want to tell you. 

You know, almost 25 years ago PFP started in Guatemala after 36 years of war to work with young people from conflict areas. This program was a good opportunity to include young people and children in the social reconstruction of Guatemala where living in peace was the main objective.

When I joined PFP it was to support a small group of young people to be peace leaders the group was growing in those years and more young people and children joined Play for Peace in the City of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. The challenge to get this program functions is to have the economic resources for the activities, I always remember when we thought that our PFP in Guatemala could no longer continue because there was no budget for the activities. Your dear friend, James, responded with their support so that these young people would finish their training as leaders within Play for Peace in a few more years. Thank you very much for that.

At the time, the young people from that program - now 25 years later - have changed into successful adults, each in their own area, but with a moral commitment to help for a better world. Today, I want to talk about three people who formed their leadership with your support and represent the 50 young people who were the beginning of PFP in Guatemala.

Marcos Paz Paiz was a youth facilitator of Play for Peace in the late 90s. He was part of a group of young people from the Colomba area in Quetzaltenango. This community was affected by the violence during the war in Guatemala and was considered a very violent area. Marcos was a very participatory facilitator. He always invited new young people to PFP and facilitated games with them because it was in his heart to include all the children so that they could be happy and live in peace.

Marcos is currently an Agricultural Engineer involved in the care of the environment. He creates programs in favor of the natural resources and tourism of some indigenous communities of the Guatemalan highlands. He, as well as others, are still part of Play for Peace and are in contact through groups on social networks.

Josué Hernández was one of the first facilitators of PFP in Guatemala and the Quetzaltenango group. At that time, Josué was a drawing student who facilitated activities to teach this art to the youth of Play for Peace. He gave his support by involving more young people and children from his community in our activities because he wanted this movement to take place in all communities where there was violence.

Currently, Josué is a watercolor artist who represents Guatemala in international events. His message through his art is still the dream of community peace. Josué transfers his knowledge of peace to other people in his current community and although he is no longer a partner of our organization, he still continues to instill in others and himself what he has learned during his time with PFP.

Alicia Agustín was one of the first participants at the beginning of PFP in Guatemala. Her family returned from Mexico after the signing of the Peace. As a facilitator of Play for Peace, Alicia gave her support to other young people from her rural returnee communities to reach PFP and her leadership was key to the success of the peace processes.

Currently, Alicia is a leader of a training and law program for women in the highlands. Her family creates spaces for participation for young people in violence prevention. They work to rescue the cultures and rights of the indigenous communities of Guatemala. 
Now together with their organization, AMARC, they continue to be part of the network of partners of Play for Peace in Latin America.
These are just some life stories of people who, in their youth, believed in the importance of PFP for their formation as leaders of peace. They now inspire other people to form new leadership for a better world, there are many people who are not in these stories but we know who they are and what they’ve done. Well, they may not have had access to much study or college education but they are leaders in their homes and pass those values on to their children and others in the community and that's the success of Play for Peace that we wanted to see 25 years ago.

Play for Peace currently supports thousands of young people in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. We put our best feelings to every young person who is trained as a facilitator to discover the importance of living in peace and discover how they can be a leader and inspire other people to work for a better world.

I think a lot about what peace is like and there are many correct answers. Peace is not only a beautiful landscape of nature. I think that the deepest peace is to see a landscape of a community where all people communicate positively, live respectfully, and unite in compassion to solve the difficulties that life brings them.

Today, Play for Peace is recognized as a process that involves people in creating peace and it works. The leaders this organization has formed are already independently working for a better way to live in peace. We have grown because people believe in this and it is a good way to achieve peace. At this stage of the pandemic, the challenges are strong and many NGOs have disappeared but PFP has remained alive because there is a lot of will within its people in order to continue.

Thank you very much, James Stuart, the results we are achieving are because you made the first step.

Written by Andres Armas, Play for Peace Latinoamerica.

Edited by Heather Allman, Digital Storyteller for Play for Peace

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