Children and young people often go unheard in war zones. The challenges they face are unique and urgent. But this is not the only story. To celebrate International Youth Day, we share stories from three young people who are using their passion and power to build a better future – so that the next generation does
Stories of hope and progress from our work supporting local people to stop war and build peace, one person at a time.
My name is Jalal* and I live in north-west Pakistan. It is known as a hotbed of militancy and extremism, where militants run the streets and bombs destroy lives. When the Taliban began taking over our area, I didn’t know what to do. One by one, I lost most of my friends to the Taliban. They were used to carry out suicide attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan and Waziristan, just across the border from Pakistan.
Moody is a young Palestinian who lives in Haifa, on the coast of Northern Israel. He is passionate about music, and a full-time rapper. Moody’s life changed when he attended a concert in Tel Aviv where he performed with both Israeli and Palestinian musicians on stage. Moody’s experiences reveal the power of Heartbeat’s work. In a context so often defined by stereotype and separation, Heartbeat’s music unifies people and allows them to explore the complexity of one another’s identity.
As a child Benjamin lost his family in the Burundian civil war. He grew up with anger and hatred, and at 12 years old joined a rebellion as a child soldier. At the beginning of this year, Benjamin attended a local campaign promoting tolerance and reconciliation. He sat in a room with those he called enemies, something he never thought possible. Now Benjamin wants to work to make Burundi a peaceful country, with opportunities for young people to thrive.