Today is International Day of Peace. More than encouraging an end to violence, the UN’s chosen theme this year of ‘End Racism. Build Peace’ represents an ideal that is very close to our hearts at Act for Peace: caring for one another as we would care for ourselves.
While the politics of fear, power and greed are sustaining conflict and violence; stories from our community, of people treating each other with equal value, are proof that this is a crisis we can overcome.
A story from a family being supported by our partner in Afghanistan, CWSA
Right now, there are countless families in Afghanistan who are living amid one the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. They need peace more than ever.
For security reasons, we can’t share images or real names, but we can share that Gulalai*, her husband and their eight children never chose to be refugees.
Just last year, they were living a peaceful life in Jama district of Afghanistan.
“We worked hard to earn a living and fulfilled the needs of our children. I never thought I will see a day where I will be needing aid”, Gulalai says.
When conflict escalated with the Taliban takeover in August 2021, they made the impossible choice of leaving home behind and crossing the border into Pakistan, in search of a safe shelter and possible livelihood opportunities.
“We had to take the most difficult decision of our lives, leaving everything behind, including our home and land. A place where our families and us have lived for centuries.”
Leaving everything they had behind, including agricultural land that they owned, Gulalai and her family found themselves extremely vulnerable. Without complete identity papers or travel documents, she couldn’t find a job, or even feel safe stepping outside the home.
“I would always accompany my children when we went outside to the market or hospital, if needed. The authorities do not usually question a woman in hijab with children”, she says.
Thankfully, with your support, our local partner – Community World Service Asia – identified Gulalai’s family to receive cash assistance, giving them the dignity and choice to buy the supplies they needed to support themselves.
“I received cash support of PKR 15000 (approx. $94 AUD) in April. I feel so blessed for being selected. I was able to buy sufficient groceries for my family and serve nutritious meals three times a day to my children. I will save some of the money from the next tranche for emergency purposes.”
This International Day of Peace, Act for Peace would like to recognise the importance of overcoming the discrimination, fear and greed that continues to drive inequality and sustain conflict in our world.
People like Gulalai rarely feel like they have a choice to stay or flee. They do what any of us – regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or gender – would do to protect our loved ones and seek a safe place to belong.
The task of building peace belongs to every one of us. The compassion displayed by our supporters is contagious and signifies more than providing cash support to refugees like Gulalai.
When society has more empathy, more understanding, less ‘us’ and ‘them’, more people take action and government policies become more humane.
By caring for others as we would ourselves, together can build a more peaceful world.
You can help create peace for refugee families like Gulalai’s in Afghanistan by making a gift to our Hunger Crisis appeal.