“I have been working with the community for 15 years, where violence is always the same. But in the last 4 years, children and youth who are with me are touching new skies in their lives. For me, PFP is life.” – PFP Mentor, Vijay Kumar
Vijay Kumar is a PFP Mentor who lives in a slum area of Delhi, India. “There is a 70% school drop-out rate for youth in our area,” he shared. “So after completing my graduation from Delhi University in 2001, I started a free tuition center for my community.” Though he had no other source of income at the time, Vijay invited over 800 youth to study in the 10 years he ran the center.
After a long journey from 2002 to 2013, Vijay met Ajat Shatru, who shared Play for Peace with him. “I was impressed with the idea of Play for Peace. I decided to do it for myself, as I was feeling like a machine that had been running nonstop for those 10 years,” Vijay reflected. “Now, I am doing sessions in my community, in shelter homes, refugee shelters, and slub areas in Delhi. I have attended a play session in Vietnam, and attended play conferences in Bengaluru, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.”
Vijay’s childhood serves as an important motivator for his work with Play for Peace. “Coming from a small community in Delhi, I experienced a lot of discrimination. But when Play for Peace, came into my life and my perspective changed.”
With his four years as a PFP Mentor, Vijay has dedicated much of his time to training programs that help youth in his community combat rising school drop-out rates. He is one of many Play for Peace volunteers working with some of India’s most excluded communities, countering untouchability, social exclusion, and ethnic discrimination with cooperative play.
“I have been working with the community for 15 years, where violence is always the same. But in the last 4 years, children and youth who are with me are touching new skies in their lives,” Vijay said. “For me, PFP is life.”