Home > Why We Play > Voices for Peace: Isabel Jolón

When she joined Play for Peace Palencia four years ago, Isabel Jolón was afraid to speak in front of groups. Now, she’s facilitating and leading activities for the club and making a positive change in her community. Today’s #WhyWePlay message is all about our hope to #BuildCommunity and #BringJoy.

“The sole fact of being here and saying ‘I will do better because I can do better’ is the first step to making a change.” – Isabel Jolón

Isabel Jolón, an 18-year-old Guatemalan, is no stranger to the concept of xenophobia. She lives in Palencia, a community that happens to be a hotspot for foreigners, either from the small communities of Guatemala itself or other countries. Sadly, the reaction from the locals is the same to all: rejection.

“People reject others just because of their appearance, their beliefs or their costumes,” a dejected Isabel points out. To her, others differences are not barriers, but incentives. “If instead of closing themselves up, people would try to chat with the foreigners, everything would be different. Instead of rejection, there would be knowledge, because we would all learn from each other’s cultures.”

During the Global Games, the Play for Peace Clubs in Guatemala held a round of sessions in parks and public schools where as many as 40 kids played and learned about what xenophobia means. They shared their opinions and their ideas to overcome it. The sessions helped inspire integration of the involved communities. Isabel believes Play for Peace has helped her become a better version of herself – more prepared to face whatever happens around her, and become a much more tolerant person who wants to make a positive impact in her society.

This is Isabel’s #WhyWePlay story.